Revisiting "The Mask Rant"

Well, we made it a week and a half before we had our first COVID scare with the kids. Eldest Kiddo had to get tested yesterday. This is a Kiddo that doesn't like shots- at all will cower under chairs, hide in corners, and general freak out if anything potentially painful has to get shoved up his nose or poked into him. You would have thought that having had a camera shoved up his nose multiple times in the past year (for nose bleeds***), the COVID test would have been no big deal, but no- it took me to bear hugging him and two nurses to get the job done.

Results came in overnight- he's negative, but as of Friday morning was still running a fever so he's home from school again- but all of this just makes it the perfect time to revisit a short post on Reddit: The Mask Rant.

Look, I called it a "Rant" for a reason... it was written in a white-hot rage at a late-night bill signing with a few suburban Q-anon moms from Ankeny in attendance. On balance, a lot of it still rings true to me but now, with my own kids back at school, the analysis has to become well, real. One of the hardest things about this pandemic is that both parties/tribes/teams whatever you want to call them have politicized this pandemic to beat hell. You've got the "it isn't real!" horse-de-wormer types on one side and the lunatic Mask Karens on the other end looking at the shit going on in China and weirdly, Australia*, and thinking "what a good idea." 

Most of it is performative bullshit- and it's also really easy for the upper class/Establishment Aristocracy types to advocate for lockdowns, as they have the money and the wherewithal to hire tutors, nannies, work remotely at their six-figure jobs, so there's a class aspect to all of this that's missing on both sides. (Joe Rogan, for instance, is being painted as a member of Team Horse DeWormer at the moment, but people probably miss the fact that hit took monoclonal antibodies too- which the rich are going to have an easier time getting right now than regular folks out in the boonies.)

In the middle of this hellish spectrum, you've got regular folks just trying to live their lives and make the best decisions possible for their kids. And it's fucking hard. Do I think kids should be in school? Not always- some kinds have thrived online, my kids on the other hand need to be in school. They need that structure and that social interaction. But it would be nice to have a government interested in giving communities and especially schools the flexibility they need to decide what safety protocols they can use to protect their kids.

Kimmie's rage-inducing dismissal of the question of mask mandates in schools yesterday just underlined the point. "Well, it doesn't matter because it's a law now." 

Yeah. A law you signed. That you didn't have to sign! You chose to sign it! And don't give me this "people wanted it" bullshit. I'm a taxpayer of this state and no one fucking asked me.

I want local control of schools.

I want a recognition that what works for one community may not work for other communities. If School District in like say, Dewitt (sorry, Dewitt, nothing against you) doesn't want to require masks that's fine. It's their elected school board and their property taxes funding the schools. If people don't like what their school board decides to do then guess what? They can run for the school board.

This parental choice nonsense is horseshit as well. This was about scoring a W for Team Red because the Districts most likely to have masks mandates probably aren't in super Red areas for Iowa. It's a win-win. Kimmie gets to own the libs and appeals to the lunatic fringe in the Des Moines burbs which should set her up nicely for 2022. 

In short, it's about politics, not principle. And that's what I can't stand anymore. Do I think we need to mask forever? No. Do I think if we get better data on masks and kids we should adjust our response accordingly? Yes**.  Could we talk about social distancing in classrooms or ventilation or other things besides masks that could help? Sure! Do I think Kimmie could have tied this to hospitalization rates and transmission rates and any number of science-based metrics if she really wanted to? She sure could have. But instead, she played politics. I suppose you should expect that from a politician, but it gets really frustrating as a parent when it's your kids involved.

Yes, science tells me that if my kids get it they will most likely be fine. But science can't guarantee that. And that's a fucking uncomfortable sensation. Until I can get at least some of them vaccinated it would have been nice to have a state government that gave a shit about their welfare. Just a bit. Or at least pretended to let communities decide what's best for the schools that they pay for and the state underfunds on a regular basis.

I already send them to public schools in America, where you know, the likelihood of a lunatic trying to shoot up their school isn't exactly zero- was it too much to ask to let school districts decide what's best for their own communities?

Apparently, it was.

Needless to say, I don't want to hear a goddamn thing from any Republican in this state about their supposedly treasured principle of local control of schools. Because they don't believe in it. They believe in winning and fucking over the other side- which I can't blame them for it is, unfortunately, a reflection of our toxic politics today in America.

But we're past our first COVID scare. Just 172 more school days to go!


*What the fuck is going down in Australia, anyway? Shit's getting creepy.

**Yes, the UK doesn't do universal masking for kids. But the UK also has a higher vaccination rate and people aren't dosing themselves with horse dewormers.

***No kidding, the hematologist recommended freeze salt pork and then cutting it up into nostril-sized slices to shove up there to help with the nose bleeds. Bacon, it's truly a wonder.


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