Monday, September 07, 2020

The Year of the Mask

It’s the year of the mask. Or maybe the year of the gaiter. I always thought masks were for Halloween and gaiters were to keep snow out of your cross-country ski boots. Not in 2020. John and I are definitely at-risk for Covid-19 infection because of our age. So wearing a mask or gaiter makes sense for us. But I resent being told I have to wear one. I believe the mask regulations or rules set by governors or other executive branch people are an overreach on the part of the government. We live in a free country. I have the freedom to live my own life, take my own chances. If I need protection from others, I should take precautions. Not make others do something they don’t want to do. Government’s job is to tell us about the risks. I know driving a car or truck is risky. People die all the time in traffic accidents. But that doesn’t mean driving should be illegal. The long-term effects of business shut-downs, schools closed, working remotely, allowing restaurants to only fill to 25% of their capacity—all of these actions will impact us and our country for years to come. I have worked in an office, even worked in a cubicle. These situations brought me into contact with other people. That was an important advantage of working, not staying at home. I would not have liked only working remotely. No matter how well I knew my job, there were always times I leaned around the cubicle partition or walked across the room to ask a question. Restaurants may or may not be able to survive at 25% capacity. But how many businesses can do that? Meat packing plants? Automobile manufacturers? Shoe manufactures? Beer bottling plants? What does remote or online education do to children? I believe being socialized and learning how to behave around others—even those you don’t know or don’t like—is an important aspect of going to school. And learning takes place in the give and take of being with others. At my age, I have lived through polio, and 2 or 3 flu epidemics. The world wasn’t shut down. Is the death rate from Covid-19 so high we should limit or shut down everything? The seasonal flu comes back year after year. Won’t Covid do the same thing? Flu shots, when available, only protect those who get them. Apparently, many people won’t get a Covid-19 shot when it is available. So, do we keep living this way the rest of our lives? I hate the way things are! I’m sure many of us feel that way. We can’t see our friends and give them a hug. Often, we can’t even greet family with a hug. Yuk! We have been hiking in national parks here in Utah. Sometimes most people are wearing masks or gaiters. As we approach other hikers, we pull up the mask—like we are afraid of them. I guess, in one way, we are. What does it do to our society to view everyone as a threat? We have been traveling in our RV for over 30 years. I have never been so careful in opening the trash dumpster to throw away the garbage. Or even opening a door of a business. It has always been important to wash my hands—but I have never really been afraid of the germs, like I am today. That being said, the Government has no right to make me protect myself.

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