There is a large segment of the population worldwide, but sadly mostly in the U.S., that doesn’t understand what freedom means. Or they interpret it in a way that sounds to me like a toddler having a tantrum. “I don’t WANNA!” they scream, while wriggling on the floor around the wheels of a shopping cart.
Now we have this Congresswoman-elect from Georgia, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, telling her freshman colleagues that she thinks masks are oppressive, and uses the slogan “My body, my choice”.
Good thing I rolled up my sleeves and flossed my fangs this morning. There is a lot to unpack here.
You feel oppressed honey? In Georgia, burrowed snugly in the land of slavery? Take a step back. Recognize the language you use and the implications. I think you can find a few people in Georgia who could tell you a little bit about actual oppression. Wearing a cloth across your mouth is hardly oppression.
But my freedumbs! I want to be able to go to the gym, shopping and whatever without the cloth on my mouth. That’s just what we do, y’all. Well, lucky you if the infection rates in your area aren’t so high that every trip out of the house puts you at risk. But you know what? That won’t remain true, the way this virus is spreading. There are many of us in the country right now who are still being very careful, because one slip up can mean infection. 1,000 people a day are dying. Many more are becoming infected. Do you want to be responsible for being one of the spreaders when it comes to town? Do you want to become infected through your uncovered cake hole, and bring it home to your family? Not everyone wins that game of Russian roulette.
There is a story about 10 crafters sitting at a table, and one person’s craft involves glitter. What are the chances that 10 out of 10 people’s crafts now include glitter? Well, since the virus spreads on water droplets coming out of the mouth, you just can’t see the glitter coming at you while you walk around unprotected.
Being free in our country does not mean that you get to do whatever you want, when you want. One of the political conversations we all have constantly is defining what we are and are not allowed to do to protect the public from harm. If you want, you can ignore safety belt laws. They are meant to save your life, and if you watched police training films about the accidents where safety belts were used versus the ones where they are not, you would stop yer bitchin’ and strap in. But it is your decision, and if you want to fly like a bird through your windshield, have at it. I think you are selfish, leaving a mess like that for someone else to shovel off the side of the road – but enjoy your flight. Don’t wear a mask, and enjoy your ventilator, too. But you are selfish, taking up that ventilator and exposing front line personnel to your infection, when someone else who gave a damn needs your space.
What you may not do is drive drunk. You may not kill other people on the road with your selfish freedumb to weave and speed and kill. Sure, y’all might feel “oppressed” by not being able to drink until you are blacked out and take your car home, and you might just get there without killing anyone. None of that gives you the right to do it. Unless you are a sociopath.
Likewise, there are things we should do, need to do, to protect ourselves and our countrymen. Wearing a piece of cloth over your mouth during a damn pandemic is that very thing. If you don’t care for yourself, fine, I can’t tell you to wear a seat belt if you refuse. Laws were written to keep you from harm, and keep others from harm.
My body, my choice? A Trump supporter using the well-known slogan for the pro-choice advocates in the abortion debate in the conversation regarding wearing a piece of cloth on your face? First of all, I’m choking on the hypocrisy. Second, these two issues are very far apart, and to try to make them commensurate is grotesque. I will not be sucked into an abortion debate while trying to explain the need for a simple piece of cloth in order to save your health and possibly your life, as well as all those around you.
In this time of national, indeed worldwide crisis, the selfishness and remarkable lack of care for one’s community is shameful, ghastly. I understand that the stance of the President against wearing a mask emboldened his followers to believe that it was somehow unseemly, unmanly and weak to protect oneself and others. And yet still, even with the President himself becoming infected, and those around him, there are those like this congresswoman who have not learned the lesson.
There will be a time soon enough that this argument for masks may become a moot point. However, we are certainly not there yet, and people will remember which side you were on.