The Great Social Media Mask Controversy

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Photo by Shutterstock

First off, let me make a couple of things clear before we begin. Because if I don’t, people will jump to unfounded conclusions, foam at the mouth, and their heads will spin around like Linda Blair’s in The Exorcist. To mask or not to mask is the most triggering subject to come down the pike in a while, and it really shouldn’t be.

The first point to remember is that Im not anti-mask. I repeat — I’m not anti-mask. I wear one, my grandson wears one. Honestly, I have my doubts about how much good they do, especially since many people are hand-fashioning them out of bandanas and socks. Still, if it can help even a smidge, it’s worth doing. So yeah, please wear a mask — if you can do so without endangering your health.

Second, if you are just a “But Mah Freedom” derp dispenser refusing to wear a mask because you think it makes you some sort of patriot — yeah, you can fuck right off. All the way off. Seriously. You’re just a boil on the ass of humanity.

These are not the non-mask wearers I’m talking about.

Collective IQ of 14. Photo by Jeff Kowalsky for Vanity Fair

Now, here’s the thing. Way too many folks flatly refuse to accept that some people legitimately can’t wear a mask for any great length of time — or even at all — due to health concerns. It’s as pigheadedly obstinate as someone flatly refusing to wear a mask.

(The CDC begs to differ by the way. In guidelines released June 28, They exempt children under two, those with breathing problems, and people who can’t remove their masks independently.)

It can be due to medical or psychological issues. Asthmatics and others with chronic respiratory disorders have an especially tough time with shortness of breath and dizziness(my grandson and I know this all too well.)

Those with anxiety disorders or PTSD also struggle greatly with mask-wearing. Ponder this: if someone has ever clapped their hand over your mouth to smother your screams, it’s possible that you can’t tolerate anything over your mouth. And understandably so.

Masks also make it impossible for the deaf or hard of hearing who depend on lip-reading to communicate.

These are not just inconveniences.

If none of this is part of your reality, count your blessings and save your beyond- unhelpful, hysteria-induced judgmental horseshit. Under other circumstances, you’d rush to support those plagued by health or emotional issues in a virtue-signaling hot minute.

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I’ve seen countless people on social media assert that they’re asthmatic or have COPD and have no problem wearing a mask. Therefore, no matter their age, or the severity of their disease, or any other underlying condition, anyone else is a big fat lying liar if their experience is very different.

I’ve seen Mask Warriors digitally patting themselves on the back for wishing death upon people dealing with serious health concerns. These are the same ones who are quick to point out under different circumstances that illness isn’t always visible to the casual observer, and we should err on the side of kindness.

They are correct. And it’s always correct. Even now.

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Seriously — why would anyone lie about it? Who wants to bear the brunt of hate from those who have turned mask-wearing into a litmus test for sainthood? Again, these aren’t MAGA dopes trying to make a political point or show allegiance to their Dark Lord the Orange Anal Wart.

These are people trying their best to behave responsibly within their limitations. In rural areas, takeout and grocery delivery simply don’t exist. People need food. People need their medication. Believe me, most would prefer to stay home and have all their needs met without leaving the house, but this is simply not reality for a lot of people.

Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish them from the gun-humping, bible-thumping Trump contingent unless they are sporting a MAGA hat or some other form of dingbat identification.

How do you know if someone is legit or anti-mask covidiot?

You can’t.

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So what to do?

First off, if you do happen to run into someone who is maskless, don’t immediately assume they have evil intent. It’s quite possible, even likely (depending on where you live), they don’t. It’s not your place to question them. No, it’s really not. There are many out there acting as self-appointed mask police who take great joy in making people who already feel awful feel even worse.

Please don’t do this.

Cut a wide berth and get on with your business. Stop assuming the worst about people. No, they are not trying to murder you. No, it isn’t assault with a deadly weapon. No, they are not criminals. Don’t demean or invalidate another person’s struggles because they are not yours. Let go of the notion that it’s your sacred duty to shame and harass the maskless.

Bottom line — don’t be a dick. Things are chaotic enough, and we’re all stumbling around in the dark, trying to get our bearings. Kindness and compassion have been replaced with panic and paranoia. This is not helping the situation one iota. We need to support each other, not add to our collective misery.

So, if you can wear a mask, definitely do so. If you can’t and don’t have delivery service available or friends and family to hook you up — get in and get out of places quickly. Stay as far away from others as possible.

And FFS, be kind and patient with each other. No-one is having an easy time right now. Let’s focus all that red-hot rage into demanding Medicare for All and U.B.I for the duration of this public health emergency instead of turning on each other like rabid animals.

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is a political junkie and history buff randomly alternating between bouts of crankiness and amusement while bearing witness to the Apocalypse. Come along!

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