The Politics of Wearing a Mask

Wearing a mask is a small ask to keep yourself and others healthy in these times of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Most people agree, according to Pew Research Center, which reported a poll this week indicating that 65 percent of people say they wear a mask all or most of the time when in stores or other businesses.

I wear a mask when I’m in places with other people around. However, I DON’T wear a mask when I go for a walk or bike ride. It’s hard to breathe when exerting yourself while wearing a mask.

I’ve been concerned from day one about how to enforce mandatory masks. We’ve seen the viral videos of retail workers and others attacked as they try to enforce the policy. They SHOULD NOT be tasked with that job. Period. And police have better things to do than enforce a mask policy.

That said, it’s also clear that the current administration and other GOPers have undermined the wearing of masks by politicizing it, turning the health concept of face coverings into gibberish about freedom. And so the nation’s policy on masks is a hodgepodge, with some jurisdictions declaring mandates and others not. In Central Florida, if I travel to Orange County I must wear a mask per its recently enacted mandate, but when I enter adjacent Seminole County I don’t have to.

The every-jurisdiction-for-itself mentality has created one of the worse COVID-19 responses of any industrial nation – more than 2 million positive cases and counting, and about 110,000 deaths. This has been aided and abetted by the Centers for Disease Control itself, which has sent out mixed signals about masks. Yes-no-yes-no-yes.

A recent Twitter post unmasked the hypocrisy asking, why do you wear clothes? Doesn’t that restrict your freedom too? Bingo!

A mask policy has to be a buy-in, not a mandate. That is true even when it’s a mandate. I wonder and worry that we’ve squandered the moment to get more people to wear one. #WearAMask

˜˜María Padilla – Editor

A version of this post originally was published on Facebook June 24, 2020.

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