Friday, September 18, 2020

masks?

Sometimes I search for something to write. Other times, though, it seems like a topic is dumped on my lap, even if it's something I've been trying to avoid. Today is one of those times. I guess a more apt description would be "shoved in my face," because that's what's happening right now. Right now, that's the division over masks and government mandates pertaining to this virus.

I'll be honest--I have friends and family on both sides of the issue. I see and hear arguments on both sides, which normally wouldn't be a bad thing. Normally, I appreciate a good debate. I think I must get that from Pop, because he's been known to play "devil's advocate" on more than one occasion. I love learning something new, and you don't ever get to do that solely by watching, reading, and listening to the people you already agree with. New things are learned by putting yourself into a place of slight discomfort, a place where you acknowledge that you don't have all the answers and that there are things you don't know.

The problem right now? Nobody seems to be willing to listen to anyone on the other side of the issue. Instead, we see long lists posted on social media talking about the reasons people wear masks. They typically look something like this:
  • I wear a mask because I'm educated enough to know...
  • I wear a mask because I care about other people...
  • I wear a mask because I want to be part of the solution...
  • I wear a mask because I'm an adult who contributes to society...
  • I wear a mask because it means I'm caring and responsible...
  • I wear a mask because I know this isn't a hoax...
  • I wear a mask because I don't think an inconvenience is more important...
  • I wear a mask because it could save just one life...
At first glance, it looks positive. The problem, though, is that all too often the assumption seems to be that if you do the opposite, that means you believe the opposite. In this case, if you don't wear a mask it must mean that
  • you are uneducated
  • you don't care about other people
  • you want to be part of the problem
  • you aren't a contributing member of society
  • you are uncaring and irresponsible
  • you think the virus is a hoax
  • you think inconvenience is more important than lives
  • you don't care if people die

But wait--no one would ever say that, right? The problem is, that's exactly what these lists are doing.

I'll go out on a limb here to say this: I don't think we need to be wearing masks. No, I don't think the virus is a hoax. I do, however, think it's being used to create division and hatred in our society, just like everything is that happens in an election year (no matter which side of an issue you are on). There is overwhelming scientific evidence that shows that the vast majority of people are not at risk from this virus. Schools are closed or meeting virtually, though the risk to children is so low that it is statistically insignificant. People are losing businesses they've given everything to build. People in nursing homes are being forced to live out the end of their lives alone. I think those who are at risk should take precautions, and like always I'll stay home if I'm sick (isn't that what we're supposed to do?). I'll cough and sneeze into my elbow so that I'm not putting those germs on my hands.

I wear a mask at work, because I've made a choice to work for an organization that requires masks. That's one of the wonderful things about living in a free society--organizations have the right to make rules and guidelines, and I have the right to choose whether or not I work for them. If I choose to work for them, though, I choose to abide by their rules and guidelines. The same goes for businesses--it should be their choice whether or not to require masks, and my choice is whether or not I visit that business.

My choice not to wear a mask doesn't mean I'm uneducated. It doesn't mean I think the virus is a hoax or that I don't care about people. It does, however, mean that I've done my research (as I hope you have) and have come to an informed conclusion. It also means that I believe our rights in this country trump emotions and opinions. That's part of growing and maturing--children are controlled by their emotions and opinions. Mature adults? They depend on facts and truth.


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~Mandy

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