On Tuesday, July 27, the St. Louis County Council met to have a public hearing regarding, and vote upon, County Executive Sam Page’s mask mandate which went into effect the previous day. The first witness to speak at such hearing was the St. Louis County Acting Director of Public Health Dr. Faisal Khan.
As Dr. Khan was leaving the council chamber, he raised his middle finger in an obscene gesture to the assembled citizenry.
After the meeting, Dr. Khan wrote a letter to Rita Days, chairwoman of the St. Louis County Council, in which he made numerous accusations, including that he had been subjected to “racist, xenophobic, and threatening behavior” at the county council meeting. He alleged that County Councilman Tim Fitch had begun the hearing with a “dog whistle question … to emphasize for the assembled crowd that [Dr. Khan] was not from this country.” Dr. Khan continued stating that the “great majority of the people in the raucous crowd appeared to be from the ‘MAGA’ movement, as evidenced by their ‘Trump 2024’ chants.”
Dr. Khan further alleged that Mr. Fitch and myself are friends and that we consorted to “stoke xenophobia against” Dr. Khan. Dr. Khan then alleged that members in the audience mocked his accent and alleged that myself and Paul Berry (former candidate for St. Louis county executive “berated” and “tried to distract” him from his presentation. Dr. Khan further stated that when he left the council chambers, he was surrounded by an angry crowd that yelled at him calling him “a fat brown c**t” and a “brown bastard,” and then claimed that he was physically assaulted, called racist slurs, and was surrounded by an angry mob, thereby excusing his obscene gesture.
The only problem with Dr. Khan’s letter is that it is totally fictitious. My wife and I were seated in the front row immediately to the left of Mr. Khan as he spoke. The entire proceeding was recorded both by the St. Louis County Council and by private citizens, and a review of the videos shows that neither we nor Paul Berry heckled, insulted, stated racial slurs, berated Dr. Khan, or tried to distract him from his presentation. In fact, Paul Berry repeatedly stood and turned around in an attempt to quiet the crowd whenever any unusual noise occurred, and Rene Artman, St. Louis County Republican Party chair, “shushed” the people in the back of the room.
Eyewitness reports from the elevator lobby confirm that Dr. Khan was not “jostled, shoulder bumped, or pushed” on his way to the elevator; but rather, was escorted by a security officer to the elevators wherein he gratuitously made the obscene gesture to the crowd. So, what’s the real story here?
As a current candidate for U.S. Senate, I make a pretty good target of the left. I am one of the strongest opponents of government mandates, one of the strongest advocates for individual freedom and liberty, and am a nationally known opponent of governmental overreach, the leftist agenda, and the constant attempts by those in power who seek to destroy our liberty and freedom in favor of collectivism.
Certain of Dr. Khan’s accusations are not only false but ridiculous. For example, that Councilman Fitch and I are “friends.” Although I have great respect for Councilman Fitch, I have never actually met him. As far as “dog whistles” or attempts at stoking xenophobia, it is my understanding that Dr. Khan is an American citizen just like me and presumably Mr. Fitch.
However, the fact that he is an American citizen does not automatically qualify him as an expert on the legal status of a unilateral mandate handed down by a county executive without consulting the county council and in contravention of Missouri law. However, as is always the case with the liberal elites, when they are unable to articulate a factual basis or legal rationale for their positions, they resort to the now well-worn accusation of “racism.” Any disagreement in politics is labeled by the left as racism.
Dr. Khan’s intentional lies about me are clearly libelous, but more importantly, they illustrate how dangerous the current political environment is. The left wants unilateral control. The left not only desires but has, on the back of the COVID pandemic, taken dictatorial control over government from the local level to the national level. Widespread unconstitutional invasions of our God-given rights — from lockdowns that constitute house arrest to the denial of our right to peaceably assemble, to attend church, to attend school, to gather with our friends and families, to absurd mask mandates — are all just mechanisms employed to pacify and control the American people.
For two hours, I watched as Sam Page sat stone-faced as his constituents presented a litany of testimony about how his draconian policies have ruined their lives and destroyed their livelihoods. Sam Page knows that his dictatorial mask mandate is good at one thing: controlling the spread of FREEDOM.
I suspect, then, that the real purpose of Dr. Khan’s letter was to distract the public from the real purpose of mask mandates: to demand obedience even in the face of widespread opposition and train us all to be good little sheep with threats and accusations of racism. And I suspect that the reason Dr. Khan singled me out personally and created the lies regarding my alleged behavior was motivated by a desire to strike out as the most noted and passionate voice of freedom in the room.
There was, however, one accurate statement made in Dr. Khan’s letter. He stated, “I am sure you are aware that Mr. McCloskey is a well-known MAGA movement figure.” That statement is absolutely true. I am a lifelong and unapologetic believer in individual liberty and our God-given rights. I have been a lifelong opponent of leftist collectivism and the constant movement of our government towards totalitarian and central control — and, yes, a proud member of the “MAGA” movement. The true purpose of Sam Page’s mask mandate, the true purpose behind Dr. Khan’s advocacy in favor thereof, is summed up in Dr. Khan’s statement that “the greater good and the collective good is more important than individual nuances of liberty and freedom.” Karl Marx could not have said it better (in fact, I believe he did).
We now live in the United States of America where the president believes that he has the authority to unilaterally decide what is information and what is misinformation and censor what he doesn’t like. We live in a world where the U.S. secretary of state invites the United Nations to come into our country and investigate us for racism. We live in a country where Nancy Pelosi has ordered the Capitol Police to arrest elected U.S. representatives and their staff if they enter the Capitol without a mask. We live in a country where the federal government is mandating that its employees and contractors subject themselves to an experimental drug and is encouraging private employers to similarly mandate that their employees submit to mandatory vaccinations as well as waiving their medical privilege. We live in a nation where County Executive Sam Page believes that he can issue arbitrary rules without consulting with the county council and that he can dictate a mask mandate despite the vote of the county council and despite the statutes of the state of Missouri.
What do we call a government that proclaims its power usurps the will of the people, the vote of the elected representatives, and the rule of law? Tyranny!
Mark McCloskey is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri.