Blinded By The Cognitive Dissonance
I have been a resident of Iowa City since a blisteringly hot August day in 1987 when my parents finished moving into a house on the east side of town before heading on down to Mazzio's for pizza. (Hey, remember Mazzio's?) I love this town. There's good food. There are fun art festivals. The University can bring in cool speakers and cool events every now and again. There are Hawkeye sports- though probably not football this fall. The schools are good. Crime is relatively low. But holy shit, the cognitive dissonance this community collectively exhibits sometimes is positively blinding at times.
Look, I'm not against the mask mandate. Lord knows Kimmie ain't gonna do it for the whole state, so some municipality somewhere might as well get in the ring with her and see how many rounds we can go with her*. (It may as well be the People's Republic of Johnson County. To the barricades, Comrades!) The logic makes sense as well: with students coming back, if we can really suppress the shit out of this stuff now, perhaps the inevitable surge in cases when the students are back won't be as bad. No argument from me there. I've been wearing a mask everywhere and trying to stay away from people since March.
It's now a simple misdemeanor to violate the mask mandate laid down by the Mayor. And it's enforceable by ICPD.
So in the space of less than a month, we've gone from DEATH TO ALL POLICE (because yes, that was written on the side of the Biology Building for far too long last month) to, "if you aren't gonna wear a mask, the police can issue you a citation."
Whether ICPD will actually issue any citations about masks is another question entirely-- most law enforcement agencies nationwide, especially in the current climate seem especially reluctant to do so for obvious reasons-- but like I said: the cognitive dissonance is absolutely blinding. You can't be marching around screaming "FUCK 12!" and then turn around and be like, "But also, WEAR A MASK OR 12 CAN GIVE YOU A TICKET!" Well, I mean, we do live in a burning tire fire of democracy at the moment, so technically you can do that, but the fact that no one is going to admit to seeing the spicy soupcon of hypocrisy evident in this should tell you all you need to know about Iowa City.
But wait, you say, that's two different things!
Is it, though? If the general thesis of last month was that police are the jackbooted shock troops of the irretrievably racist coercive state, how can you be okay with this? Surely, we should rely on the collective good of the community to wear a mask. That should work. There have to be community solutions for this community problem that don't involve the police, right?
I guess hashtags and asking nicely have their limits. Who knew?
(Just as a mild post-script: Wear A Damn Mask, will ya!)
*Don't know if this is true, but someone on Twitter said Kimmie could pull the city's incorporation charter which would be a hilarious overreaction-- especially if the town just votes to incorporate with University Heights.
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