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Gov. Reeves’ words must be backed up by his actions

There are plenty of good phrases used by parents when talking to their children. There are words of encouragement each has used that they themselves were once told by their parents, and their parents before them.

There are such encouraging words, like “you can do it,” “don’t give up,” “eat your vegetables so you can grow up big and strong,” and of course, the number one go-to is “remember, Santa is watching.”

But another favorite, particularly in the South, is “suck it up, buttercup.”

That one is often used in letting a child know that regardless of whether you want to do something or not, it still has to be done. A common replacement to that would be, “do it because I said so.”

It is these phrases that come back to mind when we have all endured the months of civil emergency orders, executive orders and governmental mandates handed down from federal, state and local leaders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Honestly, we have lost count at the number of orders, revisions to those orders, and extensions to those orders, and are exhausted at trying to remember which one is an order that carries the weight of law and a guideline that has the weight of whatever paper it’s written on.

In no way are we making light of the seriousness of these orders and the need for them. Instead, we want to express our exhaustion and confusion.

Take, for example, the state mask mandate — an order that has arguably been the most effective tool in slowing the spread of the virus.

Early on, Gov. Tate Reeves was hesitant to issue a mandate, instead saying people should be responsible enough on their own to know the value of wearing a mask and doing it without being told. Again, we go back to the “eat your vegetables” example here.

Then, after watching numerous cities and counties issue their own mask mandate, the state had little option but to follow suit.

But recently Gov. Reeves got caught, just as some parents do, saying one thing and doing another.

Earlier this week, Reeves was a speaker at a political rally in North Carolina, where he was photographed — repeatedly — not wearing a mask in a room of people who were not wearing masks, even though local and state orders required not only wearing a face covering but also urge people to keep their distance from one another. In the photographs, not only was he not wearing a mask, he was shaking hands with people we assume he was not related to and was far from social distancing.

In no way are we criticizing Gov. Reeves for going to the political event, helping campaign for a person he considers a friend or even visiting North Carolina — although we do disagree with their style of barbecue. Instead, we are criticizing Gov. Reeves for being a poor example.

He is the top elected official in the state and has issued orders that he expects us to follow. We, in turn, expect him to do the same.

Parents know the worst thing you can become to your children is a hypocrite. Gov. Reeves, in this arena, is coming dangerously close to earning that moniker.