I’m almost at a loss for words at this point watching the United States remain divided over something as simple as wearing a mask. I’m not kidding you when I say that an abnormal amount of people have drawn a line in the sand on this issue and have chosen this, of all things, to be the hill they die on. Meanwhile, people everywhere are not only getting sick and experiencing long term internal damage, but we’re seeing deaths rise from COVID-19 daily.
Somehow mandating masks has become the ultimate infringement of civil liberties. I’m not surprised though. I’m not quite sure anyone should be. Just look at how people react to systemic racism and racial equity, or LGBTQ+ rights, or healthcare. Equality and access to proper medical care are seen as less important than the ability to carry and use a gun and spew hate speech towards someone. I keep hearing that these are “God-given” rights, yet I don’t see that anywhere in my Bible.
Honestly, I’m tired of trying to be a voice of reason, but I realize that I can’t stop speaking up or encouraging others to do so because the willfully ignorant will continue to wreak havoc on this country with their apathy.
Imagine this, a mother is desperately trying to protect her child from getting sick because he’s immunocompromised from his cancer. He has no choice but to move from place to place to get treatment. One interaction could cost him his life. One self-righteous, anti-mask person carrying COVID-19 could be the reason he gets infected and a mother loses her son. She’d grieve her child because someone felt that they had their right to breathe taken away, by a mask, that workers in numerous industries, though uncomfortable, wear all day without dying of hypoxia and suffocation.
Now stop imagining because this is real and not a joke. That mother is my friend. I can’t help but get downright furious when I think about every jerk willing to risk another person’s life because they couldn’t possibly bear the burden of wearing a mask for a portion of their day. Not just for her sake, but my mom, my friend whose entire immediate family is fighting the virus with no end in sight, for everyone who feels like me and actually cares about other people.
I’m exhausted. This shouldn’t even be a debate topic. There are plenty of others who are forced to watch their loved ones be ravaged by this virus while people argue whether or not their existence is worth wearing a mask. This pisses me off. Mandating masks has nothing to do with freedoms. It’s a temporary solution to a major problem. Mandating masks has everything to do with taking action for the greater good. It’s the bare minimum anyone can do to save another person’s life.
What I’ve learned is that this same attitude is shared by other issues. I’m a Black man from Auburn, Alabama. I’m used to seeing people not care about my life. I’m used to seeing people discount my being. I’m used to people opposing my desire to see racism and all of it’s inbred children defeated because that same racism affords them all too much convenience and comfort. So when it comes to people justifying why they won’t wear a mask by denying science and weaponizing statistics, what’s new?
There’s nothing that’s shown me that people would do the right thing at the expense of themselves. We have a direct impact on the health and wellness of others, but I share a country full of people who refuse to place any value on the lives of others and wear a mask.
For each person advocating masks, there’s at least 5 more telling us how we all should be responsible for making our own health decisions. That’s ironic. So why is it so damning when women want to have the right to make their own choices over their bodies? How can you support taking freedoms away from them while demanding freedom over your body in a health crisis? That within itself is an unsolvable riddle unless you call it how you see it: hypocritical.
I guess since it’s not your family members or friends “exaggerating” about a common cold and dying, then the only thing to worry about is when sports will return, when you can start back indulging in your bottomless mimosas, and when things can go back to normal (they won’t).
I wish that I could say that this won’t fall on deaf ears, but it will. We live in a country that is so self-centered that the thought of sacrificing comfort out of concern for a stranger is an attack on human rights. We live in a country that proudly proclaims how much it cares about the right to live, only to turn its back on those trying to make sure we all can.
I wish I was wrong and I didn’t have to write this, but here we are. I’d like to think that I live around good humans with basic decency. We’re not there yet because wearing masks would be just that, basic human decency.
If you don’t like that, wear a mask and prove me wrong.
Our lives are worth your masks.