OXFORD — Robert Foster and Tate Reeves faced off in last year’s governor’s race, and Reeves won big.
Foster, at the time a freshman state representative from DeSoto County, ran a distant third in the Republican primary, but he did get enough votes to force a runoff between Reeves and former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Bill Waller.
Now Foster has thrown down the gauntlet for a rematch of sorts with the winner of the governor’s race — not at the polls but on social media.
Foster says he will defy Reeves’ mandate to wear a face mask in public places in DeSoto County, which recently has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“With all due respect Mr. Governor, I am openly defying your public mask mandate and social distancing executive orders. Now, what are you going to do about it? I would like to see you come up here and try and make me wear a mask!” Foster wrote in a lengthy post on his Facebook page.
Here’s another part of the post which The Clarion Ledger reports has received a lot of positive feedback on social media:
“I’m not calling for a protest I’m calling for something even more powerful. I’m calling for you to be Civilly Disobedient. I’m calling for you to defy these unlawful Liberty infringing and financially crushing small business mandates. What’s it going to be Mississippi, Liberty or Tyranny?”
The newspaper reported the post that went up Friday morning had close to 4,000 likes and had been shared nearly 3,000 times a day later.
Foster also said he wouldn’t require staff or customers at his restaurant to wear masks.
At this writing, I haven’t seen a response from Reeves.
I may be wrong, but I doubt the governor will take the bait and engage in a public brouhaha with Foster — who may still have political aspirations — over the issue.
I’m not even sure how much legal authority a governor or a mayor has to enforce mandates such as wearing masks and social distancing. I know some lawyers who could argue either way, depending on who’s paying the legal fee.
But I am of the opinion that Reeves, and not Foster, is right on this issue.
The vast majority of medical experts say that wearing masks and social distancing helps prevent spread of the virus. As I understand it, the masks are more for the protection of others than for the person wearing the mask.
I don’t like to wear one. It’s hot and it makes my glasses fog. But I wear it where I’m supposed to, and here in Oxford that’s anywhere inside a business.
There are those — apparently Foster included — who think the pandemic has been overhyped and the precautions are and have been more damaging than the virus itself.
I frankly don’t know all the answers. I continue to long for the “old normal,” not for this “new normal.”
But I’ll continue to follow the advice of the health experts and try to adhere to mandates from the proper authorities.
Some folks think the whole thing is a hoax, but it’s a good idea not to try to prove it.
Dr. Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, says a 30-year-old man who believed the coronavirus was a hoax and attended a “COVID party” died after being infected with the virus.
According to The New York Times, the premise of COVID parties is to test whether the virus really exists or to intentionally expose people to it in an attempt to gain immunity.
Dr. Appleby said the man had told his nurse that he attended such a party. Just before he died, she said the patient told the nurse: “I think I made a mistake. I thought this was a hoax, but it’s not.”
Dunagin, who lives in Oxford, is a retired longtime Mississippi newspaperman.