Wear A Damn Mask

I genuinely don't understand anymore. 

So, let's see if I'm tracking this correctly: at the start of all this, they didn't want people hoarding masks, because they genuinely didn't know what they were dealing with and were honestly afraid of millions of infections overwhelming the hospital systems of America and wanted to make sure that Doctors, Nurses and the people on the frontline had enough masks to protect themselves.

What we understand about COVID now is vastly different from what we understood in March and I know we'll know more still come August and September. Now, it appears that wearing a mask would actually be helpful but it's still incredibly disheartening to see the number of people out there that just won't wear the damn things. 

How hard is it? I mean, in the grand scheme of things, I'm honestly curious: how hard is it to take a piece of cloth of your choosing and cover your mouth and nose? It's entirely possible that this is the answer to everything: want the economy to stay open? Wear a mask. Want football this fall? Wear a mask. If you're a parent and want your children to see the inside of a school before 2021? Wear a damn mask. Barring a vaccine or a couple of more really effective therapeutic breakthroughs, it's the fastest way back to anything remotely resembling any kind of normality.

Wal-Mart is gonna require masks starting on July 20th. WAL-MART.  Alabama, a state not particularly noted in our history for being on the right side of anything is gonna require masks. ALABAMA. But is Iowa going to require masks? No, because Kimmie is up in Des Moines doing her usual song and dance about how she trusts Iowans to "do the right thing" and "take personal responsibility." Can cities and counties impose their own mask mandates? No- because apparently being the so-called party of small government has its limits-- can't have them crazy commie urbanites doing silly things like mandating masks for public health. Far better we trust in people to "do the right thing."

Holy fuck in a bucket. That part is what really tips me over the edge. People, like the collective noun of humanity as a whole, have absolutely no motivation whatsoever to do the right thing. In America today, it's not "ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country" it's "Get bent you Gestapo motherfuckers and did you know Wayfair is involved in child sex trafficking? I saw it on the internet." 

So now we have Zoomers saying 'fuck the man' and going to the bars so they can do Jaegerbombs and drink pitchers full of overpriced shitty beer with their friends and dance on uncomfortably sticky floors. If Grandma dies because of their stupidity it's just one less racist old person in the world and they can dunk on the olds with all their friends on fucking Tik-Tok or some bullshit.

On the other end of this hellish spectrum of generational immaturity, we have the Boomers. Oh, the Boomers. The Boomers that are going to suck the life out of Social Security so that when I inevitably need it, my and my generation will get told that our retirement age is now 85 and there's no money left in the till because the Boomers had to go to the fifty-fifth Final Tour of the Rolling Stones to recapture the few shards of memory they have left of their youth that are now dissolving into dementia. The outrage. The narcissism. The horror of being asked to think about something and someone other than themselves for once by having to wear a mask in their local Costco.

It's estimated that if we all wore a mask for 4-8 weeks we could suppress the shit out of this stuff. We could achieve some weird, Twilight Zone version of normality, but can we do that? No. We're going to trust in people to "do the right thing." The Good Lord could unleash Noah's flood again and I swear Kimmie would be giving press conferences neck-deep in the raging waters still proclaiming her belief that Iowans are going to "step up" and "do the right thing." She keeps this up much more, Baghdad Bob is going to look like the voice of truth and reason in comparison.

We need a boot up the ass. We need a brick to the back of the head. No more Governor Nice Kimmie. We've stayed out past curfew and our breath smells like cheap booze. Break out whatever the white person equivalent of a chancla is and issue a goddamn mask mandate already.

I'm assuming at some point we'll get past this and it'll be over- but the institutional rot has been thoroughly exposed. If there was any true justice in the world, we'd fire every politician holding office at every level of this government in this country and keep doing it until they get the point. Willful incompetence in the face of multiple national crises is unacceptable. There's a myriad of opinions about what went down in June after the death of George Floyd out there and it's really a whole separate post- but it's a symptom of a wider problem. So was Occupy. So was the Tea Party. The mass of people know that it's bullshit and it's rigged in favor of the Establishment- because yes, we do have a capital 'E' Establishment in this country and while I'd love our Tangerine Nightmare to be ousted this November, do you really think anything meaningful will change under Uncle Joe?

Uncle Joe is the counter-revolution. Uncle Joe is the Bourbon Restoration. It might seem different but that's only because we'll have had four years of our Tangerine Nightmare, so something that seems quote-unquote normal might seem very revolutionary indeed, but in the end, it'll be a subtle return to business as usual. The cracks in our institutional rot will be papered over. Everyone can go back to pretending everything is normal. (And to be honest, it wouldn't surprise me if the Republicans lose the White House and the Senate but win back the House. That would be very on-brand for 2020. Or even better: Republicans hold the Senate, pick back up the House and there's an Electoral College Tie. That would be even more hilarious.)

Until the next crisis. And the crisis after that. I always used to think how nice it would be if the two-party system collapsed. In my youthful zeal, I assumed that there would be something there to take its place. Now I'm no longer sure. If you can't rally the country around the relatively simple idea of wearing a goddamn mask, I wouldn't put much stock in the idea of a revival of trust in our institutions anytime soon.


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