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Letters to the Editor: Comfortable clothing isn’t your right as an American. Just put on a mask

A handful of protesters hold up signs next to the fenced-off Main Beach Park in Laguna Beach
A handful of protesters hold up signs next to the fenced-off Main Beach Park in Laguna Beach on May 2.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Wearing a mask, as some Americans insist is their right to refuse to do, is less of a bother than wearing a bra or probably a jock strap. (“Americans are obsessed with ‘rights.’ In the pandemic, that’s killing us,” Opinion, July 2)

Neckties look uncomfortable too. High heels can be hell. Girdles are no fun. Dress shirts buttoned at the collar look like they feel unpleasant. Kids would rather run naked and free through the house, but parents grab them and at least get a diaper and maybe some pants on them.

We wear what’s necessary to be safe and fit in or make others safe or comfortable all the time.

Masks are a simple, hopeful gesture that might make ourselves or others safer or merely more comfortable. It’s a bit like washing hands.

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Marcella Hill, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Law professor Jamal Greene argues that some Americans’ obsessions with “rights” is curious, given how many fewer rights Americans have as compared to many other countries.

What Greene fails to note, however, is that the concept of a right in our Constitution is very different than the concept of a right in almost all other countries.

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In other countries, rights are things the government bestows upon its people, but in our system of government a right is something the government cannot take away without a compelling reason. Thus, we have many fewer rights.

By the way, our government does bestow many things as well, but this is accomplished through legislation rather than through rights. Personally, I am happy to have greater freedom and fewer rights, though I admit that our government often struggles to achieve this ideal.

Peter Marston, Glendale

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To the editor: I agree wholeheartedly with Greene (no relation, by the way), but let me add a “yes, and.”

Growing up, I was taught that yes, we have rights, but with those rights come responsibilities — namely, to consider the consequences of our actions and to realize that others also have rights.

Under the Trump presidency, this commonly held, common-sense understanding has been challenged. Trump, among the most self-obsessed men in the world, could not care less about responsibilities and respect, unless it has to do with respect toward him.

This president has unleashed in many Americans their spoiled, five-year-old inner child who wants what he wants no matter what. This is all the more reason we need to come to our collective senses and elect a responsible adult for president this November.

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Mike Greene, Portland


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