AN OPEN LETTER TO REPUBLICANS WHO WON'T WEAR MASKS

 

Posted July 3, 2020

This is an open letter to republicans who won’t wear masks. To be fair, many conservatives cover up when they leave home, and plenty of democrats don’t. But the latest from Pew shows that 76% of democrats report having worn a mask all or most of the time in the past month versus just 53% of republicans. Multiple republican congressmen were the ones who wouldn’t wear masks in the capitol. And it’s the leader of the republican party who’s been not only refusing to wear a mask for months but openly mocking people who do.

There are many on the right wearing masks and working hard to slow the spread of COVID-19. To the conservatives who aren’t, this letter is for you…

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The year was 2001, and planes had just hit buildings in downtown New York. Nearly 3,000 had died and if we didn’t do something soon, more would follow. So you called on us to make the tradeoff you said our country needed. To step back our civil liberties in order to keep people safe. You passed laws allowing the government to monitor our phone calls and e-mails. You called for racial profiling at airports, surveillance of religious group, and suspension of habeas corpus. It would be hard, but it was the price we would pay to keep America safe.

Today we face a new threat in the form of a global pandemic. The body count is more than 40 times what it was back then, and the numbers get worse every day. But one particularly effective solution has emerged that is far less invasive than the measures you championed twenty years earlier—just a simple piece of cloth worn across your face to potentially save thousands—and yet you still won’t wear a mask.

 

You say you’re the party that’s good for the economy. When a few months ago states started shutting down, you resisted. Because sure people dying is sad, but, you argued, a tanking private sector is far worse. Now the virus has come for the economy itself. It has disrupted supply chains and shut down entire industries. Buyers and workers alike are afraid to leave their homes, and without them there can be no buying and no working. Stopping the virus is crucial to restoring our financial system, and Goldman Sachs projects that a national face-covering mandate could prevent a trillion dollars in lost GDP. And yet you still won’t wear a mask.

 

You say you’re the party that cares about our troops. But the number of active cases in the military has more than doubled in the last three weeks, and some of those hit the hardest by COVID-19 are the retired soldiers in veterans’ homes. Read the terrifying accounts coming out of facilities in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and you’ll see coronavirus tearing through once mighty warriors who thought they were done risking their lives for our country. And yet you still won’t wear a mask.

 

You say you’re the party that’s pro-life. But there is nothing pro-life about sentencing tens of thousands to die. Experts project that more Americans covering their faces will save 30,000 lives over the next three months, and yet you still won’t wear a mask.

 

You say you’re the party that’s tough on crime, calling for extended prison sentences and mandatory minimums for those who threaten our safety. But you recoil at the idea of being handed a ticket when that threat is coming from you. So what happens when your need to keep your face unencumbered puts someone in a hospital, can we charge you then? What if it puts them in a grave? You say you care about protecting your community, and yet you still won’t wear a mask.

 

You say you’re the party of Christian values. But have you read Proverbs 24:11? “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” Or Psalm 41:1? “Blessed are those who have regard for the weak; the Lord delivers them in times of trouble.” Or Exodus 20:13? “Thou shalt not kill.” The Bible commands its readers to look after the most vulnerable among us, and yet you still won’t wear a mask.

 

You say you yearn for the good old days and long to Make America Great Again. But the success we enjoyed in the 40s and 50s didn’t just happen. It came on the backs of the soldiers who died in combat and the sacrifices made by those on the homefront doing everything possible to offer their support. Americans rationed their most basic staples, scaling back on necessities and luxuries alike after a decade already spent enduring the Great Depression. You know that prosperity can only be achieved through sacrifice in the face of adversity, and yet you still won’t wear a mask.

 

Over 100,000 people have died so far with more than 50,000 new infections coming every day. The road to recovery will require much of us that is hard and scary and ridiculously expensive. But there is one thing we can do that is easy, simple and incredibly affordable. And yet you still won’t do it.

We have spent a lot of time lately debating whether or not there should be a law requiring people to cover their faces when they go out. But if you care about the things you say you do, the government shouldn’t have to make you wear a mask. You should be doing it all on your own.

These days, I wear a mask and socially distance as much as I can. But before coronavirus hit, I worked plenty of jobs doing the exact opposite, from being a bouncer at a night club to a professional basketball player at an elementary school to one half of a conjoined twin at a convention. You can read those stories and more in my book Odd Jobs by clicking here.

To make my book the next one your book club reads, then bring me in for a virtual author Q&A, click here.


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