Today I wrote a response to an article published in a news cafe, an online news source to which I subscribe. I hope the link above will take you to Doni Chamberlain’s well-written and insightful article. Her words inspired many community members to respond thoughtfully and sincerely. It’s no surprise that virtually all of us have reacted to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths and many of us have opinions about current circumstances. For what it’s worth, here’s mine.
It’s gratifying to read your article, Doni, as well as most of the responses because your powerful observations and well defended position speak to the truth I see. There have been times during the last couple of months where my rage and fear, both inspired and inflamed by the “mask haters,” have overwhelmed me with bitterness and incomprehension. How hard is is to wear a mask? To put others before yourself? To think that “just in case the masks aren’t part of a larger left wing conspiracy, maybe I’ll wear a mask and cancel that family birthday party?” The answer must be “pretty damn hard;” otherwise why has something that seems so obvious, so small a sacrifice, become a battleground? While I would personally love to kick non-mask wearing butt, I can see that this issue reflects a much deeper problem, an essential divide and lack of respect on both sides,
I think we already know that very few of the folks who won’t wear a mask in Shasta County are going to change their behavior. Those of us who do can cast our “votes” by boycotting non-compliant businesses and supporting those that do comply. The reverse is also true. What I see is a near future of behaviors that fan the proverbial flames of outrage, again on both sides.
Where are the psychologists and spiritual leaders in this debate? Why aren’t we looking for the basis of these actions? It seems to me that both groups are motivated by fear. To me, not wearing a mask is short-sighted, selfish and dangerous. To “them” wearing a mask is weak, unpatriotic and dangerous. The rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths is proving different things to both sides. And the lack of inspirational leadership at all levels from local to national isn’t helping. As hard as it is, as awful and purposeless as it seems, (God help us) we need to start trying to understand each other.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” — Winston Churchill