Monday, May 25, 2020

The Corona Chronicles: Chapter 8

So I'm talking about two topics today...


#1: MASKS

OMG, Miss Piggy, put on a mask! And pants, while you're at it.


So the Mask Wars continue. There are daily fights about masks online and regular videos depicting fights about masks in store aisles.

From my post on April 7, this is what The Mask Wars looked like wayyy back then:

Person A: "Be sure to wear a face mask if you need to go out in public."

Person B: "Face masks are ineffective!"

Person C: "Medical professionals need those face masks more than you do!"

Person D: "YOU SHOULD NOT EVEN BE GOING OUT IN PUBLIC IN THE FIRST PLACE!


And this is what they look like now:

Person A: If you wear a mask, you are a left-wing, anti-freedom, cowardly sheep! And here are twelve memes that agree with my stance!

Person B: If you don't wear a mask, you are a right-wing, pro-MAGA, grandma-killing moron and should be have objects thrown at you and be driven out of town!

Person A: I AM BEING BULLIED AND OSTRACIZED BY PEOPLE IN MASKS!

Person B: I AM BEING ASSAULTED BY THE GERMS OF PEOPLE WITHOUT MASKS!
Everyone and No One: STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPITTT!

And seriously, it's almost become less about whether masks are or aren't effective... and more about what wearing (or not wearing) a mask really means. Apparently, your choice (to wear or not to wear) is an outward expression of your inner core, political leanings, even moral compass, oh yes.

I can't help being reminded of the immediate weeks after 9/11, when we were being encouraged to wear the colors of the American flag to show our solidarity with... I dunno, America. The victims? (Not peace, though. Peace was taboo.) For a few weeks after 9/11, if you wore red, white, and blue to the grocery store, you were considered to be patriotic and caring. If you thought the whole thing was pointless and you chose to wear green instead, well... you were basically letting the terrorists win. Thankfully, this movement didn't gain much ground, and it went away pretty quickly... at least where I live.

I also can't help being reminded of Freedom Fries. That was a thing for a while. If you used the term French, you must be anti-American, pro-terrorists-winning, and all that.

Same if you were against the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Being against the wars meant you were against the military... therefore you were against the individual men and women who were brave enough to serve. You were anti-human. Anti-bravery. Anti-everything. In sum: The worst.

I use these examples because these are times, in my memory, where someone's opinion on one issue could be streettcchhhed into absolute absurdity by weak connective tissues. But that's what people did. And what people still continue to do in the Mask Wars.

My stance remains the same. I wear a mask. I wish other people would wear masks in public. But I understand why some people can't. And I don't think those people should have stuff thrown at them or be yelled at. I just think they should be given a wide berth. And if a store has a policy, follow the policy or simply (and without making a big deal about where you are taking your money), shop somewhere else.


#2: The Re-Opening Of Society

Nearly everyone is sick of being stuck at home, but a small portion of these people aren't just sick of it, they're completely done. They're ready to come out and dance. They want society to go back to normal. No, not when it's safe. NOW. 

NOW NOW NOW.


There's a lot of talk about "Essential Services" and what  services are, or are not, essential. 

Perhaps due to pressure by a minority of irate citizens, perhaps due to the failing economy, perhaps both, the authorities are beginning to allow certain places to reopen. So smalls stores, GoodWills, salons, restaurants... here they come....

The U.S. president has declared he thinks churches should reopen. Sigh. That person doesn't give three straws about going to church. He just knows that saying that they should reopen is going to get him support, and pave the way for other things to reopen. Sure, people will disagree that churches should reopen. But they can just be labeled heathens or whatever. Go home, church haters. 

As for me, I would like to go to church when it's safe again. We used to meet in this big building with a stained-glass window at the front of the sanctuary that could cause partial blindness mid-service if you sat in the wrong pew at the wrong time of year. Since March, I've been listening to the sermons online. But they could reopen the building today, and I wouldn't go. I won't go until the curve goes downward and/or there's a vaccine.

Growing up in a conservative Baptist church, we were regularly told that a "church" is the people, not the building. We were taught that even people in Bible times only went to The Temple once a year (and that was when it was intact!) because of distance/feasibility. And Jesus didn't even preach indoors half the time. He preached on a mountainside or by a lake or wherever the people were. The Bible is full of stories of people wandering through the desert without a permanent home, or being in exile in strange lands without a temple nearby... and they still found ways to worship. I think if they'd had the internet and could have had internet church services, they'd have been all over it. 




So here I am. I'm staying put. Teaching online. Trying to grow a garden. Subsisting on home-cooked meals. Dreaming of a vacation to another part of the world. Lightly mourning the June trip I had to cancel. Treading cautiously. And not because I'm anti-freedom. Because I'm anti-dying.

I mean, I know I'll have to do it eventually, but for now... procrastination rules.

* * *

Previously: Chapter 1 (March 19), Chapter 2 (March 26 & 27), Chapter 3 (April 7), C
hapter 4 (Oldtimey Historical Edition, Circa 1918), Chapter 5 (April 14-22), Chapter 6 (April 30- May 6) Chapter 7 (May 9-17).



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