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Masks are not a political purity test, they’re protection

To mask, or not to mask? That is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous idiotic neighborhood critiques, or to take arms against a sea of judgments, and by doing so, mask them.

Yes, there is a heated battle raging across the nation pitting the ferocity of the "Free-faces" versus the cynicism of the "Masquerade Elites."

The Orange Man's unofficial edict has echoed from the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains, past the King at Graceland, under the cracks of the St. Louis Arch, dodging gunshots in bullet-ridden Chicago, over Evel Knievel's rocket ramp at the Grand Canyon, and finally settling above the homeless camps beneath the infamous Hollywood Sign in sunny southern California.

The unsanctioned proclamation from the Oval Office insinuates that If you wear a protective mask, consider yourself a left-leaning, tree-hugging, low-testosterone, liberal weenie. However, if you choose to throw caution to the wind and elect to forgo the facial barrier, you'll be recognized as a lover of the Constitution, a champion of free speech, a freedom warrior, with fellow warriors one and all, whooping it up on beaches and bars across the South or singing hymns in the houses that Jesus built.

The flip side from the progressive point of view is in radical contrast. If you go around mask-less, you are clearly a bigoted right-wing, low-IQ zealot, hell-bent on destroying civilization one wet cough at a time. But, if you decide to cover that face with a cloth, you're an angelic, ennobled deliverer of righteous humanity. (A caveat from the lefty playbook absolves all mask-related faux pas tied to rioting, looting, and or protesting. These celestial liberal patriots are exempt from scrutiny even if they choose to smash storefront windows or burn police cruisers, while failing to protect their colleagues from COVID-19. Tens of thousands of dissidents can chant obscenities in the streets, unmasked but forgiven, as long as it’s in refutation of racial injustice.)

These are the ultra-extremes that 2020 America must live through and, despite political posturing and media manipulation, the question still remains: Should you wear a protective mask?

Rouge internet reports about the dangers of wearing protective face gear have teamed up with conspiracy theories about infringements on personal First Amendment rights, creating an underlying current of mistrust and hostility.

The majority of credible scientific information, however, suggests that masks do, in fact, serve as protection. Universal masking is already standard practice in Hong Kong, Singapore, and other parts of Asia and has recently been adopted by most of the world and made mandatory by multiple U.S. states, including Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Americans have rarely been asked to wear face protection in public — the Spanish Flu of 1918 is a rare exception — and the pushback at times has proved unsettling. Video footage, ranging from violent encounters between irate patrons, some masked and some not, to full bore mask-shaming by store staff members, populate the internet.

Connecticut's mask requirement applies to any resident over the age of 2 in a public space where social distancing isn't possible, and for all essential employees. The often-maligned infectious disease scientist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently doubled down on his declaration that everyone should wear a mask when out in public.

However, masking alone is not a panacea if it’s not accompanied by meticulous hand hygiene and eye protection. The chance of catching COVID-19 from a passing interaction in an outside public space is minimal and the desire for widespread masking may be a reflexive overreaction to anxiety over the pandemic.

This isn't about the First Amendment or Big Brother callously stepping on your individual freedoms. It's not an assault on your liberties. It is a preventive blanket of common sense. It's simply a layer of added precaution that may prevent a human catastrophe. I will not wear a mask forever, but I will currently follow the dictates of modern medicine.

Conclusion: when you’re inside, around others, wear your mask. It won't kill you and you won’t kill someone else.

Lee Elci is the morning host for 94.9 News Now radio, a station that provides "Stimulating Talk" with a conservative bent.

 

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