Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Given the alarming increase in coronavirus infections, Governor Inslee finally had to make mask wearing mandatory throughout the state. The anti-maskers are, naturally, hopping mad about this, viewing a common sense public health measure as an attack on freedom, capitalism, the Constitution and the American Way.
I found a recent submission to the Seattle Times Rant & Rave column to be most amusing, yet, at the same time, disturbingly indicative of this current manifestation of societal derangement. The writer noted that while she was walking with friends along the waterfront a stranger yelled that they were all socialists because they were wearing masks.
I guess I’ve been out of the loop. I didn’t realize that mask wearing was a way to identify socialists. Does this mean that Zorro and the Lone Ranger were socialists? I guess it makes sense. They were, after all, always on the side of the downtrodden and disenfranchised.
Not only does this conflation of masks and socialism explain why many of the daffier denizens of the far right won’t wear masks, it also provides insight into the thinking of some of the more fervent evangelicals, the ones who won’t let their kids put on masks and go trick-or-treating. Not only does Halloween lure children into Satanism, but it’s also socialist Satanism, and that’s the worst kind.
Seriously though, I have tried to be tolerant of people who don’t wear masks in stores or places where social distancing is difficult. Scratch that last sentence. I have never tried to be tolerant of unmasked people in public places. Mr. Cranky does not suffer fools gladly, especially during a highly contagious, potentially deadly global pandemic. I take it personally. They are trying to kill me.
Why would somebody walk into a grocery store without a mask? Apparently there are some devil-may-care types who think a mask is worn to protect the wearer, and self-preservation does not appear to be high among their priorities.
Just about everybody else on the planet knows by now that masks are worn to protect others. Although this information has been broadcast widely, a few of the slower folks don’t seem to have gotten the message. Many in this category figure they’re young enough or tough enough to shake off COVID-19 if they get it, and they’ll be partying again by the weekend. It doesn’t seem to register that if they got infected they could infect others, like maybe their entire family.
But what about people who know masks are worn to protect others but still won’t wear them? It’s been my observation that these people usually embrace one or more of four main theories.
1. It’s all a hoax. Wow! As hoaxes go, this one’s a doozy. Nations across the globe have apparently colluded to pretend that more than 10 million people have been infected by COVID-19 and over a half-million people have died. How did they ever find all those crisis actors to pretend to be doctors, coroners, dead people and grieving loved ones? I assume the purpose of this hoax must be to promote socialism and take away our guns.
2. The threat is exaggerated. Did I mention the half-million dead people?
3. I feel great so I must not have COVID, which means I’m no threat to anyone. Can you say “asymptomatic”?
4. It’s an attack on freedom. Oh, I get it. It infringes on your rights, like the right to have promiscuous unprotected sex when you have been exposed to HIV. I wonder if these folks, had they been living in London in the 1940s, would have demanded their right to keep the lights on during the Blitz.
By the way, be wary of discussing this subject with an “attack on freedom” guy who’s screaming outside a grocery store because they won’t let him in without a mask. Many of these bozos carry guns and could express their disagreement with your point of view by shooting you.
There are, of course some individuals who have medical or psychological conditions that preclude wearing a mask. Nobody else gets any slack. I really get testy when people endanger my life.