“Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.” — Milton Friedman

Every month I come here and I hear the same thing: social, emotional health. If you truly mean that, you would end the mask requirement tonight. Tonight! This is not March 2020 anymore. We have three vaccines, every adult in the state of Georgia that wants that vaccine is eligible to get it right now, and every one of us knows that young children are not affected by this virus. They’re not. And that’s a blessing.

But as the adults, what have we done with that blessing? We’ve showed it to the side and we said, “We don’t care, you’re still going to wear a mask on your face every day, 5- and 6-year-olds. You still can’t play together on the playground like normal children, 7- and 8-year-olds. We don’t care. We’re still going to force you to carry a burden that was never yours to carry.” Shame on us! My 6-year-old looks at me every month before I come here, she says, “Are you going to tell them tonight? Tell them I don’t want to wear this anymore.” And I say, “Baby, it’s not time to fight that battle yet.” I try to explain that there’s so many things, that it’s April 15th, 2021, and it’s time. Take these masks off my child.

And I know what I’m going to be met with: but Ms. Taylor, the CDC. We did not vote for people at the CDC. We did create leaders who do create policy. We elected the five of you. We chose you to make difficult decisions for our children. We chose you to make decisions that would be in our children’t best interest. And forcing 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9-year-old little children to cover their noses and their mouths, where they breathe, for 7 hours a day, every day for the last nine months, for a virus that you know doesn’t affect them, that is not in their best interest. This has to stop. Defend our children. My 6-year-old can’t come up here and say this. It has to stop. Take these off our children.

Clayton Craddock is an independent thinker, father of two beautiful children in New York City. He is the drummer of the hit broadway musical Ain’t Too Proud.