Shreveport lawmaker criticized for comparing mask ordinances to Nazi tyranny

Facebook screenshot

Another Louisiana lawmaker is being criticized for comparing Covid-19 mandates to the tyranny that led to Nazi Germany.

In a July 7 video posted to his Facebook page, State Rep. Danny McCormick posted a video decrying a facemask mandate that had been declared for Shreveport. In the video, and in a July 10 video decrying a similar mandate by the Caddo Parish Commission, McCormick emphasized that “Masks aren’t bad. Mask mandates are.”

In the first video, he said that the mandate was shredding the Constitution and individual liberty, and made the statement while firing up a chainsaw that he then directed toward a mask hanging next to him. “This isn’t about whether you want to wear a mask or you don’t want to wear a mask. This is about your right to wear a mask, or not,” he said.

Saying “government needed a villain,” he added, “People who don’t wear a mask will be soon painted as the enemy. Just as they did to Jews in Nazi Germany. Now is the time to push back before it is too late.”

Before that statement, he said “If the government has the power to force you to wear a mask, they can force you to stick a needle in your arm against your will. They can put a microchip in you. They can even make you take the mark. After all, it’s for the ‘greater good’.”

On July 6, Mayor Adrian Perkins issued the order mandating face masks in public, effective July 8. The Caddo Parish Commission issued a similar order for unincorporated areas, as of July 9.

Among the penalties for non-compliant businesses in the Shreveport ordinance are losing liquor licenses or having water service shut off.

On July 10, Caddo District Court Judge Craig Marcotte issued a temporary injunction preventing the mayor from enforcing the order. Four business owners had filed suit, charging that Perkins did not have the authority to issue the order and declare penalties for non-compliance.

New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and East Baton Rouge Parish have mask mandates.

The Anti-Defamation League’s South Central regional office in New Orleans issued a statement that “comparing mask mandates to the Holocaust is deeply offensive, wrong and demeans the memory of the six million who perished. Now is a time for our words to bring us together, not tear our communities farther apart.”

Rabbi Sydni Rubinstein of Agudath Achim in Shreveport said “It’s really belittling the experience of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany.”

McCormick has not responded to inquiries from Southern Jewish Life, but told KTBS, “I’m not referring to the murder of the Jews. I’m not referring to that. I’m talking about leading up to that, that began by the demonization of the Jews. That’s what led to the Holocaust. Not that this is equal to the Holocaust. But those of us that don’t want to wear a mask are being painted as villains.”

On July 10, McCormick shared a post from Rep. Mike Johnson, who said the controversy isn’t about whether wearing a mask is a “wise and appropriate step,” as “I personally agree with my physician friends that wearing a mask is a wise and helpful thing for everyone to do if they are able,” and the medical consensus is that wearing masks will enable conditions to get the economy going again.

Instead, Johnson said, the question is “whether a city’s executive can use draconian measures (e.g., cutting off a water supply) to penalize businesses and churches — that are already down on their backs and struggling to survive — if they do not ‘fully comply’.”

In the July 10 video, McCormick did not reference the Nazis as he blasted the Caddo Parish mandate. He emphasized the 11 exemptions, making special note of the religious exemption as pertinent to him, though he did not explain a religious rationale for refusing a face mask.

In May, Rep. Dodie Horton, also from the Shreveport area, was criticized for referring to the shutting down of businesses that were not in compliance with Covid restrictions by asking “are we in Nazi Germany?”

She later said her comments were not intended to make any linkage between self-isolation restrictions and the Holocaust, but she was alarmed at provisions by which citizens were encouraged to anonymously snitch on those not in compliance, creating a “secret police” for enforcement. She said the public should be wary of “tyrannical processes” that erode liberty and, in the case of Germany, led to the rise of the Nazis.

She told this publication that “My intent was never to compare the current global health pandemic to the Holocaust.”