Don’t just let it slip beneath your nose. Go maskless. Face the day. The shopping and other errands may not get done, but you’ll achieve even more with your time. Take yourself and others out of the comfort zone just a bit. You just might save America.
Even as states loosen or lift their mask mandates, private companies are holding fast to them. This juke move is causing too many conservatives and libertarians on the right to falter. Whereas in the former case, imposing masks on people was a violation of their rights, dignity, and the fundamental norms of civilization, the latter is seen as merely the exercise of property rights.
These free-market fundamentalists excuse the face covering mandates when handed down from a corporate office, because it’s not a government one. This intellectual cowardice undermines the very first premise of the free market, the indispensable cohesion and trust that must exist within a social order.
It should be obvious how mass masking tears at the fabric of society, to say nothing of the psychological effects on future generations. There can be no compromise on this matter, but some businesses are trying to find one. They require employees to mask up while allowing customers to go mask-free, thus creating or exaggerating a class divide between lower wage workers and wealthier consumers that will not be good for anyone’s safety in the long run.
The mask mania is not going to go away on its own. Yes, there are anecdotally more folks defying the de facto oxygen rationing. The huddled masses yearning to breathe free are poking their noses out from under the muzzles. But this can’t be the standard symbol of protest forever.
Thankfully, some people are drawing a line in the sand like Terry White.
White, a 65-year-old woman, went maskless into a Galveston, Texas, Bank of America branch last week. She stood in line on her designated floor marker, exhibiting no symptoms of any kind, at least six feet apart from all others.
Her story ends with her becoming a tragic hero. That is the type that Aristotle described as someone who brings out our sense of pity for their blunder while also arousing fear in us that we too would suffer the same fate if we were in a similar place.
B. of A. ordered her to wear a mask or leave, then called the cops when she refused, even though she only wanted to close her account.
Bodycam footage, which has gone viral internationally, shows White mocking the police officer’s warning that she risked being arrested for not leaving the property. By the time the officer pulled out his handcuffs, she turned for the exits, but by the officer’s discretion, she was too late.
The officer shoved her to the ground, where he proceeded to break several bones in her foot and spill her personal belongings across the floor. Then customers mocked White, and none of them showed her any sympathy.
Why not just put on the dang mask? There are certainly many valid criticisms of this woman. That goes to the essence of being a tragic hero. But any conservative, libertarian, or other right-wing person who chooses denunciation over approbation is part of the problem in this country.
It’s time to face down the enforcers of these ridiculous rules. Patriots, get ready to leave your comfort zone and leave the mask at home in the trash. Hold your head high with pride in yourself and your country as you walk into that grocery store, bowling alley, bank, or restaurant.
Now, the point of this is not to be rude or invite physical conflict. Obviously. As the late Rep. John Lewis put it, “Never, ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble.”
It’s all about good trouble. And it’s actually not that big of a deal, especially after the first couple times. That’s why it’s useful to set aside at least a couple hours for this intention. Run your errands as you would. Give the hostess, doorman, greeter, or whomever your full attention when they ask, “Um, do you have a mask?”
“No,” is a good enough reply. Resist the urge to give a speech or an excuse like having a medical condition.