Updated: Apr 14
After a year plus since the pandemic started, we are still debating the same issues involving mask wearing with friends and family and our communities. Perhaps adding fuel to the fiery debate was the fact that science and medical professionals all told us masks were not necessary and needed only for medical professionals at the very start. Once the narrative shifted and the virus evolved, the damage had already been done. Some people just need that instance of doubt to revert back to distrusting our medical community. Now I think it's pointless to blame others. I truly believe we did the best we all could for a virus that no one knew anything about and are still learning about over a year later.
I can not speak for others but I have been trying to follow the science as best as I can and relying on my pop culture expertise from pandemic based films such as Outbreak and Contagion. I have also found useful lessons in apocalypse based media platforms such as popular TV shows such as The Walking Dead and video games like Resident Evil and Last of Us. Well, you get my point, art imitating life or vice versa. Anyway, my point is, I like to be well informed and educate myself using various mediums. I feel it is important to use that to make the best and safest decisions for myself and immediate family and friends. Sharing this knowledge and staying informed and most importantly prayer has led me to make sound decisions while maneuvering during this global pandemic. I can't say this enough, knowledge is key.
Now using that basis, I made the decision best for my family and I which is to always wear a mask in public to protect others and myself. I am blessed and thankful that my family and friends embrace this ideology so the need to hold exhausting debates is null and void. If only things could be this simple for everyone. The fact is we are now seeing the bright light at the end of the tunnel and some have stayed steadfast in their resistance to adhering to any safety protocols including wearing a mask. It is ironic that some of the same anti-maskers went through extraordinary measures to get a vaccine. At times, even violating state protocol and not waiting their turns for vaccines. Yet still, with many mask mandates still in place, there are still those that refuse to abide by them. There will always be those that go against the grain and do the opposite. They tend to hide behind their rights, liberties, and freedoms. Once that door opens it becomes a slippery slope such as the one we are in now where a criminal may have more rights than you as a law-abiding member of society.
I am not going to go into the scientific evidence of why wearing a mask is important to limit the spread of COVID-19. I am also not going to preach about the problems of not wearing one or using medical conditions as an excuse to not wear one. As I said before, knowledge is power. If one chooses to make a decision not to wear one, that is their right to do so. My right is to not engage with such a person, not to shop at their store and if they were a friend or family member, we would probably never see each other in person.
What I've Learned
This pandemic has taught me so many lessons and one of the most important which I am still working on fine tuning is patience. My patience is needed for my community members who fail to see or comprehend the devastation this virus has caused. Patience is needed to watch those who fail to wear a mask go about their daily lives as if nothing has changed. Patience is also needed for those who fight to get into establishments that require face coverings or airplanes as they argue for how it is against their rights to have to wear a mask. Lastly, patience is needed for those who put the population at risk by not complying with science. For me, the most difficult situation I find myself in is having patience for those who wear the mask on their chin or under their noses.
The bottom line is, choosing to wear a mask or not should not lead to fights or violence. The beautiful thing about where we live are our liberties and exposure to learn as much as we want. Make the decision that is right for you. Educate your family and friends and anyone else in your inner circle. If you can, educate your community. However, do not try to impose upon someone else's freedom to make their own decisions. Always consider your actions and the impact of those actions on those around you and your community. Please do not throw a tantrum or worse if you choose to go against your community’s mandates as we do not live in a lawless society. The reality for some may be how to navigate new laws and mandates while observing your freedom. I leave you with this, what has this pandemic taught us about staying safe and following guidance and will we be better prepared the next time?