No issue in memory reveals more clearly how differently two extremes of the political spectrum react to things. There are a number of assumptions/generalizations made about people, mostly conservatives, who don’t like things like mask mandates. As is often the case, I don’t think our opposition understands us. So here are a few generalizations that the left/progressives/socialists/mainstream media make about “us,” and thoughts on how many of us actually think. Not all of this applies to everyone, of course, but it is a start.
What they say, vs. what we think.
Why don’t you want people to wear masks? We don’t care who wears masks, we just don’t want government to order us to. If you feel better wearing a mask, or a business thinks they should require it, fine. But don’t criticize people who object to even small incursions on their freedom. Plus, it is not clear that masks help. Some studies suggest they do, while others say the opposite. Just as an example, see here. Trump didn’t act fast enough. That is revisionist history. There is plenty to criticize about the handling of the virus, on all fronts, but Trump mentioned the virus in his SOTU speech and banned travel from China in late January. Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, De Blasio, and others accused him of over-reacting, being xenophobic, and themselves downplayed the risk as recently as March. On the science side, Fauci and others downplayed it for months. The Democrats and mainstream media (but I repeat myself) tell you otherwise, but the timeline shows Trump acted quickly. If you don’t believe the media and Democratic leadership downplayed the threat themselves, early on, see here.
It isn’t political. Of course, it is. The Democrats need people to be terrified of the virus. Biden recently said, wrongly, that 200 million Americans would die from the virus, by the end of that day. Democrats need to give Americans a reason to vote for a man who doesn’t seem up to the task and isn’t even actively campaigning.
In Nevada, the governor couldn’t be more partisan if he looked like “Donkey” from “Shrek.” (He actually isn’t that good-looking.) The states that issued restrictions early, kept them longest, or where they were excessive are mainly Democratic /blue states.
Leftists/progressives/socialists love to control you. That is why fascists tend to be leftists. The Nazis were a socialist party; so was the Khmer Rouge. I know those are incendiary comparisons, but sorry, folks, the stakes are high. The Dem leadership in the states, and nationally, has encouraged and coddled protests and violence. And the pandemic was a dream come true for governors like in Michigan and Nevada, where we aren’t even allowed to go to church.
We should follow the science. Nice phrase, but scientists aren’t elected to make decisions on whether or not you can leave your house. That is what elected officials do. Science should inform our decision-making, but not take it over. Plus, many scientists have different views. Early on, many, including Fauci and the CDC, said masks don’t work. Today, many of the same people say masks are essential. They have been inconsistent, and the “science” on issues like masks is not clear. There is abundant evidence for and against them. The advice from scientists has been all over the place, and it reflects the difficulty of managing a new disease with which we have literally no experience. As recently as last week, there have been inconsistent messages about whether Covid spreads easily through the air.
We need a national plan. No, we need a national body of information and recommendations, but they may apply differently to each state, because every state is different. Washington appropriately set a general approach and common informational foundation. Under our federal system, the President does not make state policies. That is the responsibility of governors and legislatures and local officials. South Dakota is not New York. Thank God for South Dakota. Still, it is an example of how differently the parties view freedom. Biden has said he will order the entire nation to wear masks. It doesn’t seem to bother him that he has literally no authority to do so.
It isn’t an issue of freedom. Yes, it is. You may not personally value freedom as much as the next person, or you may strongly support wearing masks just because you think it is the right thing to do. Good for you. But forcing someone to wear a mask is a violation of our liberties. Most of the restrictions ordered by governors were almost certainly unconstitutional, as some courts have already held. In fact, the U. S. Attorney General said this week that the lockdowns were the biggest threat to our freedom since slavery. He didn’t say it was as bad as slavery, and it clearly is not, but it is number two on the list.
Lockdowns have saved lives. Maybe. It will take a while to generate good data, but there is no proof that states with mask mandates and lockdowns fared better than those without them. Some nations, like Sweden, did little to restrict freedom yet have fared about as well as other countries.
Oddly, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been held out as an example of good, effective leadership, while his state has irrefutably the worst record. His decision to force Covid patients into nursing homes, where they infected others, led to the deaths of about 10,000 New Yorkers. Their total of 33,000 deaths to date is more than twice any other state. It is also interesting to note that early on, Cuomo and Governor Newsome, of CA, both praised Trump for his response. Trump and Cuomo looked like they were on a mandate for weeks. I even posted on Facebook how I respected Cuomo and Trump, both, for being able to put partisanship aside. Not so much these days.
Restrictions have countless unintended consequences. While they probably prevented some deaths, we may never know the full extent of the impact lockdowns have had. Some people had to delay potentially life-saving medical procedures; others postponed medical tests; depression and suicides skyrocketed; businesses have been ruined, and fortunes, hopes, and dreams shattered. Mandates and restrictions do a lot of harm, and it is impossible to say whether the benefits outweighed the negatives.
In the meantime, nearly an entire continent, Africa, seems to be devoid of serious pandemic issues. One reason may be that the anti-malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, which is a potential therapy for Covid, is already in wide use there. But we don’t know for sure.
As the situation has demonstrably improved, it is past time to get America open and working again. In the meantime, next time you see someone wearing a mask while they drive alone in their car, you won’t need to ask about their politics. You already know the answer.