Let’s call this what it is

Wednesday was my first day in a local market store since the nationwide mandate went into effect (for all of Britain) that masks must be worn at all times by shoppers. I required no mandate to wear a mask. I have chosen to wear a mask every time I’m in public since early April. The first person to come out of the shop I was going into wasn’t wearing a mask. Most, but not all, of the shoppers were wearing masks, but one of the employees behind the counter was not.

The explanation for the mystery is that in order to avoid potential conflict or violence shoppers not wearing masks are not to be challenged by staff, and the wearing of masks for staff is optional. To put it another way, whether I and my loved ones get sick or not or whether I and my loved ones die or not is optional. This casual approach to my mortality and the mortality of people I’m close to is brought to you by the British government and inspired by Donald Trump.

Donald Trump has succeeded in making the act of wearing or not wearing a mask a political wedge issue — worldwide. Now everybody’s got the chance to make a bold, individualistic political statement at the possible expense of somebody else’s life.

Had Trump and other political leaders bothered to educate the public on the proven efficacy of mask wearing, I do not believe we would have this problem, at least not to this extent. Of course there are and always will be recalcitrants and rebels, people who think they are making a bold statement of rugged individualism by not wearing masks. In other words, selfish idiots. But the world needs strong leadership with good moral character just now, and that is sadly lacking.

Because politicians made the caring for the well-being of ourselves and of our fellow creatures a point of political contention, hundreds of thousands of human beings are going to die. In Britain the bone of contention is strictly economic, but in America it’s both economic and ideological. In America the wearing of masks or not is also a statement of what political party you belong to. If you watched the Bill Barr’s testimony before the House Judiciary then you noticed that Democrats were wearing them and Republicans largely not.

Once again Republicans have proven their moral bankruptcy, and the true selfish agenda of conservatism worldwide can now be measured in human corpses. So wear a mask, not because of your political ideology but because it’s the responsible thing, the human thing, to do. Respect yourself, your loved ones and the people around you. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.

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