Virginia Becomes a Free State

by Kerry Dougherty

Blue skies, sunshine and crisp temperatures greeted Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s first day in office Saturday in Richmond.

Within hours, he signaled his respect for the Virginia Constitution, which protects the rights of parents to decide what’s best for their own children by reversing Ralph Northam’s mask mandate for all school students.

Youngkin also scrapped Virginia’s vaccine mandate for all state workers, while urging everyone to take the vaccines.

Day One promises had been made and were kept.

With that, Virginia joined the other free states, where citizens are treated as adults and don’t have to live in perpetual dread of their governor’s next dictatorial whim.

Virginians can look with pity at places like New York City where children as young as five, who are not vaccinated, are no longer welcome to accompany their parents to restaurants and museums.

We can rest easy knowing that Virginia will not become a biomedical apartheid state.

I had a front-row seat to some of Saturday’s ceremonies and especially enjoyed the time I spent in the Capitol Rotunda where politicians of all stripes cordially gathered beforehand to witness the swearing in of the 74th governor of Virginia.

A number of Democrats, including outgoing Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Rep. Elaine Luria, graciously wished the new administration — and by extension the commonwealth — well.

I only saw one glowering person in the crowd: State Sen. Louise Lucas who, in keeping with her hyper-politicized personality, Tweeted this shortly before midnight prior to Youngkin’s inauguration:

What is WRONG with this woman? Is she incapable of grace?

Youngkin’s reversal of Northam’s mask mandate comes as the CDC finally admits that cloth masks are essentially facial decorations that do little if anything to stop transmission of the virus.

Yet a number of Virginia’s school districts, ignorant of the “new” science, rose up immediately to say that they will enforce 100% mask mandates in their schools, regardless of the governor’s wishes or the Constitution.


No doubt some parents in those districts will begin sending their kids to school later this month without masks. The children will be disciplined and the matter will wind up in the courts.

Yet, one by one, school boards will eventually adopt mask-optional policies, beginning in rural areas and eventually spreading to deep blue Northern Virginia, where blind faith in the power of cotton remains. This simply cannot be allowed to be the norm.

If parents want their kids muzzled in cloth masks or N95s, no problem. It certainly shouldn’t bother them if other parents want their kids to be able to breathe.

If masks actually work, that is.

It’s all about parental rights. This is what Virginia voted for in November.

If only schools would operate the way most of the commonwealth has since last spring when the statewide mask mandates were scrapped: Masks are optional almost everywhere and most Virginians seem to have adopted a respectful live-and-let-live attitude. Some people continue to wear cloth or paper masks even while outdoors. Others wear N95s. Still others go bare-faced.

Here’s an idea: Live your life. Make your own decisions for yourself and your children.

Virginia’s a free state now. Those who want to dictate what their neighbors do will have to get used to it. Or move to New York.

This column has been republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed & Unedited.