(I have an uncle, Uncle Ed, who lives "Up North" by himself. He is a bit of a curmudgeon and writes missives which he sometimes sends out to others. The other day I received one about this pandemic and the use of masks which I think is worth sharing.)
Oh, come on folks. What is this silliness all about? We live in a nation that prides itself on using common sense and being practical, a nation that will roll up its sleeves and tackle whatever problems it faces. If wearing a mask is using one of the few effective tools we know to be helpful in controlling the spread of a virus that is killing people all over the world and certainly all over these United States, why would people not do it?
Not wearing a mask is like ignoring our common sense. It is like putting a mask on our common sense to avoid having to deal with this virus. If you don't wear a mask you endanger everyone else since we do not know who is infectious and who is not. Not only that, but it weakens the entire national effort to control and contain this virus.
The alternative"not wearing a mask"just looks like self-indulgence, like deciding not to follow rules, laws, or social norms simply because of personal preference, or to support some warped brand of super American exceptionalism. "No one can tell me what to do, I am an American and I have the right to be free and independent since we live in a free and independent nation that believes in liberty."
What happened to our common sense? What kind of crackpot logic are we using? Ours is the nation that believes in freedom and independence and liberty as a sovereign nation-state. But if that were to be applied individually to every citizen, any kind of governance would be impossible. We would quickly devolve into chaos and anarchy. After that, order would be imposed by whoever had the most intimidating power and we would all be ruled from the top down, by a warlord or whichever elite could control the means to subject the rest of us to their will.
In the face of the realities of this virus which is devastating our citizens; a virus which we understand too little to predict, track and treat effectively, much less control or prevent, we must rally together to use the few tools at our disposal to begin to make some progress in dealing with this human tragedy. It is time for people to step up and be responsible democratic citizens. This is not a time for childish indulgences or macho posing. This is far too serious and urgent for anything except a totally unified effort to control the spread of this virus. We must recognize our interdependence and show what a free and independent nation can do; show how we will rally together when facing a life and death threat to our citizens. This is another threat like terrorism or war, and we must act accordingly.
It is time to revisit our heritage of common sense. The masks we have been using to hide our common sense belong, instead, on our faces to indicate that we are citizens in a democracy who take this virus seriously and will act proactively to defend against it.