Pardon My Reach

“Government’s first duty is to protect the people…not run their lives.” Ronald Reagan

“The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all.” Thomas Jefferson, 1787

*****

I read a friend’s Facebook post a few days ago in which the question was posed, “What’s the big deal with wearing masks? Why don’t you just put the damn thing on and stop complaining about it!”

It’s a fair question and one I’d like to take a stab at answering.

This pandemic seems to have created two distinct groups of people, split largely along ideological fault lines: the “Masked”, and the, “Mask-nots.” Or, the compliant and the questioning.

  • The Masked among us look at the Mask-nots and automatically think them selfish, uncaring, unfeeling, ignorant simpletons putting the lives of themselves and their fellow citizens at tremendous risk; behavior that is so shame-worthy they feel completely justified in publicly voicing their condemnation and displeasure.
  • The Mask-nots stare at the Masked and think them mindless lemmings falling into line with governmental mandates, believing every single thing they hear/read without engaging their own intellect; compliantly following requirements based on science that, in their minds, has yet to prove its point.

My pushback to my friend’s question is, “Tell me where, exactly, are you seeing people not wearing masks? In California, at least, you can’t go anywhere without one.”

I think the problem—at least based on some extreme reactions I’ve experienced from people on the beach/the park/the sidewalk—is that the hardcore Masked seem to want people to have masks on all the time no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Alone in the car. Walking in the park or at the beach when no one is close. On the sidewalk even when social distancing is possible. What they fail to understand is that there is no place on earth safer than being outside…especially at the beach (Crowded places are another matter altogether and not really part of this discussion).

But none of this gets to the heart of the real issue for the Mask-nots. Most people I know who are minimally compliant with the mask orders struggle with three things:

  1. Extreme, governmental overreach and violation of civil liberties. Among all the tragic deaths that have occurred throughout the first six months of this year, the death of civil liberties is prominent among them. Think about it: if the government can get you to put on a mask and stay in your house…what else can they do? It’s a good question because, trust me, it’s being discussed at the highest levels as we speak.
  2. Extreme politicization by the media and DEM’s. If there was nothing to be gained politically, that would be one thing. But, as Rahm Emanuel famously said, “Never waste a good crisis.” And they most certainly have not.
  3. With data regarding chance of infection, number of infections, rate of fatalities shot through with as many holes as swiss cheese, the ship of credibility has left the harbor.

For these reasons alone, I am largely a Mask-not, i.e. I wear one when required, but if there’s an opportunity to go without, I will take it. Does that make me irresponsible? I’m masked up like a doggone bandito everywhere except in my private automobile, on the beach, alone on a sidewalk and in my house. I think not.

There’s one more issue I want to address. We were walking along the bay on Saturday and didn’t have our masks on. A family of four approached—mom, dad, sister, brother—and the little 4yo boy started screaming, “I’m afraid of those people! They don’t have masks on!”

Set aside, for a moment, the parental irresponsibility for inculcating that level of fear in a 4yo. Did you get that? “Those people.” Can you hear the indoctrination? Feel the marginalization? The self-righteous separatism? Us -vs- them. We’re right…they’re wrong. “Watch out for THOSE PEOPLE, Johnny. They’re not to be trusted.”

I watched this older man walking on the beach last week. By himself. No one near him. Mask covering his face up to his eyes. Gloves on his hands. Personally, I think it’s a bit silly, but, hey…if that’s his choice, more power to him because choice is a right we all still have. I mean last time I checked, we are a culture who believes in, “My body, my choice.” Right? RG…out!

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