One thing we can say with confidence at this point: COVID-19 mandates issued by state and local authorities are not about public health.
If they were, they would apply equally to all humans, in categories that have nothing to do with skin color (e.g., the elderly, young children, people with special health vulnerabilities), and would apply equally to the same kinds of activity in every situation.
But in various places, they don’t apply equally. No medical or scientific explanation is given as to why they should differ arbitrarily. So clearly, there are no medical or scientific explanations. Different mandates for different people and situations, depending on skin color and/or activity, are manifestly political and not medical or scientific.
The latest example is a laughably simple one. Lincoln County, Oregon has issued rules for its face-mask mandate, and is literally exempting “people of color” from it.
Think I’m kidding? Here’s the screen capture of the regulations issued on 17 June.
The exemption for people of color reads, and I quote: “Exceptions: … People of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public.”
Of course, there’s been a rash of “Karens” abroad in the land berating people for not wearing masks, so this exemption might seem to invite some little dramas and controversy.
But Lincoln County is ready for that, with its pronouncement on whether you get to complain about someone else’s mask deficiency: “No additional enforcement authority: no person shall intimidate or harass individuals who do not comply.”
You’ll notice that the state of Oregon has also issued guidance that applies to Lincoln County (see the link on the page for the 19 June announcement). That guidance is for businesses, and what the requirements are to patronize them. It doesn’t further address the “people of color” rule propounded by Lincoln County.
Now, I don’t mind wearing a mask for the few errands I might need to perform these days in proximity to other people. I’m as skeptical as any intelligent person that all the heavy breathing about masks is warranted, but it’s not a hill to die on for me. That’s not the point.
The point is that if the mask mandate really is of supreme importance to public health during a pandemic, there can be no valid excuse for exempting any healthy adult human who fogs a mirror from it.
The problem here is not whether I have to wear a mask; the problem is the American public being subjected to the arbitrarily unequal application of government orders.
No. Wrong answer. That is a hill to die on.
Let’s note that it’s much easier to slip these unequal applications in with executive orders than it is with law made the right way – by vote of the legislature – and that we’re seeing the maximum advantage being taken of that. Americans are right to reject being governed this way. It needs to stop immediately.
Let’s also note that people who object to this mockery of the rule of law are being defamed as public menaces or science-deniers. We’re at the point where these cheap slanders are due no other response than one or two blunt, comprehensive obscenities. The blatantly inconsistent signals about the “importance” of the regulatory mandates merit no respect or engagement.
We’ve already had the government directive in Illinois for everyone to adopt “mask-tipping” – lowering one’s face mask to reveal more of the face – so that neither “white” nor “POC” people have to stand out as somehow looking suspicious while wearing a mask. The “tipping” itself could be benign, if people don’t go overboard with it. But the politics are absurd. And depending on how far you “tip,” this idiotically framed “solution” will often simply negate the purpose of the mask, which is to keep the wearer from spreading infected droplets from the nose or mouth.
We’ve also, of course, seen New York City announce that its contact tracing teams won’t be asking COVID-infected subjects if they have participated in protests recently. This, in turn, defeats the purpose of contact tracing, rendering the whole exercise meaningless.
So I won’t be listening to any more pious proclamations about wearing masks. Don’t bother with sermons directed at me. America’s future as a nation founded on the rule of law is in serious jeopardy, and that’s obviously much more important.
If masks (or contact tracing) were truly more important, the sermons would be directed at the government agencies deliberately putting out rules that endanger the public. And mask crusaders would be railing at state and local authorities, demanding that, for the sake of public health, the rules make sense and apply equally to everyone.