We believe…

I am sure we can all agree that this has been a really, really weird year so far. For many it’s been downright tragic, depressing, or scary. Or maybe a combination of it all. For a few introverts that truly hate to leave their home, it’s been a damn good year so far.

For some folks it’s been an eye-opening year–whether it be confronting their own biases and trying to educate themselves, or maybe watching others deny their prejudices or even embrace them. These biases and beliefs could be about the color of one’s skin, political party, or the sanity of dog owners. We have all watched our country become divided over and over on a variety of issues, but watching us fight over whether or not we should wear a mask to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 seems ridiculous to me.

Science is real. You understand that, right? It doesn’t matter if you like it or not. Does the CDC always have the answers? No, but they can recommend what is best over the research they’ve done with this virus and others. And it’s true they just don’t know everything about the virus, but if it’s POSSIBLE you could hurt or kill someone else by not wearing a mask, then why wouldn’t you wear one?

Please. Explain this to me.

And do NOT tell me that I’m seeing so many people not wearing masks because they have medical problems. That, my friends, is absolute bullshit. I have no doubt that some folks can’t wear a mask due to breathing issues, then try a shield. If you can’t do that, ask for help in getting what you need, or try wearing pool noodles on your head like they do at this German cafe to enforce physical distancing.

But I can guarantee you that most of the people I see without masks are not wearing one because they don’t want to. Simple as that. And if you’re inside a store and not wearing one, you can attempt to stay 6 feet apart, but what if you cough or sneeze and are unaware you have the virus? Did you just send someone to the hospital or maybe to their mother’s funeral? Or maybe their own?

You. Don’t. Know. So why are you taking the chance?

For my family, 2020 has been filled with many ups and downs, but to be completely honest this pandemic wasn’t the worst thing to affect us. When my own husband nearly died one month before our country shut down, by March we were all just happy to be alive and together. My son and I had watched Wal on a ventilator and in a coma, and amazingly he survived. But we also knew that if my husband got (or now gets) COVID-19, he will die. It’s pretty much guaranteed. So we hunkered down together this spring and were (mostly) happy to do so.

Now my husband and I are both working outside the home and we both wear masks wherever we go. Many of you know that we differ in nearly every aspect of our lives, particularly politically, but on this issue? We stand together. We often discuss how best to show folks that wearing a mask is a good thing or a needed thing. Dr. Shah of the Maine CDC has tried many tactics to convince the public.  Aside from the scientific FACTS that support masks are an effective means of containing the spread of COVID-19, one thing Dr. Shah told us was that wearing masks was a kind and compassionate thing to do. My husband scoffed at that because he knew many people just don’t care and they don’t want someone telling them to go spread some kindness. That won’t work.

This week Dr. Shah tried something different. He compared wearing masks to the speed limit on the highway. It’s not about punishing YOU, it’s about the safety of other people. But you know, maybe that’s part of the problem. We are extremely selfish people. No one wants to believe that wearing this item that inconveniences them could possibly help anyone anyway, so they deny it and say it’s infringing on their freedom and quote the 14th amendment–you know the one about not denying life or liberty. But I hate to tell you but the government has some leeway in protecting our health, so as long as the government has justification for some of its restrictions than it’s sufficient.

Look, I’m only writing this because in the past two weeks I’ve had various “discussions” via FB, Messenger, and in-person about the validity of wearing masks and I’m damn tired. I already know I won’t change anyone’s mind, but I might as well say what I feel and know. I could give more arguments and cases about young people with no underlying health conditions that have died like Nick Cordero who was 41, or the fact that people under 40 now make up the majority of COVID-19 cases.

But…none of that matters for some people, and I’m just going to have to face the fact that it will always be that way. Does it break my heart? Yes. Does it piss me off? Yes. Is there much I can do about it? I can thank people around me for wearing a mask. I can speak out about it as much as I can. For my own sanity, I’ll need to start cutting some people out of my life, too.

And I can wear a mask.

Be safe, y’all.

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