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The Mask Wars Are Exhausting as They Are Dumb

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | May 26, 2020 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | May 26, 2020 |


I am sure that many of you have already seen it, but on this issue anyway, Doug Burgum — the Republican Governor from North Dakota — speaks for many of us.

Is it really necessary that we turn wearing a mask into a political issue? Wearing a mask doesn’t really decrease your odds of being infected by the Coronavirus, but it does reduce the odds of someone else being infected by the Coronavirus. Wearing a mask, thus, is a purely selfless act. Ergo, not wearing a mask in a situation where social distancing is difficult or impractical, is purely selfish. This is not political or ideological. This is selfless vs. selfish. Not wearing a mask is not exactly spitting on someone, but it’s in the same family of acts.

I cannot believe that it’s one more thing that has been reduced to a partisan issue. I can’t believe that journalists are asking questions like this:

I cannot believe that a journalist — even one from Fox News — would tweet this and that the President of the United States would retweet it in agreement. Fox News, and by extension, the POTUS, are saying: “How I look is more important to me than the health of those around me.”

Here’s the thing about this particular culture war: I was texting a buddy from Arkansas last week, who basically said that — aside from closing schools — there hasn’t been a lot done there to curb the spread of the disease. People are going about their lives mostly normally, and my buddy — who used to be a doctor — said he keeps waiting for everyone to be punished for their bad behavior, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

It is mystifying to me why the South hasn’t been crushed by this because the percentage of people with underlying issues is through the roof, and yet, the South hasn’t been hit very hard. The state I grew up in, Arkansas, has three times more people than my home state of Maine, and it has three times more infections. But it has around 115 deaths to Maine’s 80 deaths. Maine has been shut the hell down for three months, despite a mostly rural population. Arkansas has ignored social distancing requirements.

It’s not just Arkansas, either. Only 21 percent of the deaths from Covid-19, so far, are from counties that voted for Trump. Seventy-nine percent of the deaths are in counties that voted for Clinton. Blue states and cities are suffering nearly 4/5ths of the deaths. This is why Trump voters are more likely to believe that the Coronavirus is a hoax, that it’s not a big deal. There have been 115 Covid-19 deaths in Arkansas this year. There have been 118 flu deaths.

Maybe that changes. Maybe it doesn’t. I don’t want it to change. I am not rooting for anyone to die — even those assholes at the Lake of the Ozarks. But I also wear a mask. Not for me, but for the other people, even the assholes who proudly flaunt mask requirements while walking through the grocery store as though they are superior to the rest of us mask-wearing sheep. We’re not sheep, man. We just don’t want you to die. Unfortunately, that courtesy is not being extended to us. Even more unfortunate is the fact the President of the United States is not only not extending any of those courtesies to the blue states, but he’s actively making fun of the selflessness of his political opponent. It kind of says it all.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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