The debate about masks in schools continues, and those living in states with the highest incidence of Covid seem predominantly against masks. It is as if they care more about their “freedom” than the lives of their children. Matt Walsh, an anti-masker, gave a speech in Nashville, likening children wearing masks to “child abuse,” and claiming that more children died of the flu during 2018 and 2019. Like most arguments against masks, Walsh’s claims are not only ridiculous, but dangerous. The virus continues to surge in Tennessee, yet these people think masking their children dangerous. According to the Hill, country music superstar Carrie Underwood put her career on the line to support Walsh by “liking” his tweet. As expected, Twitter users went on the attack.
One user said that he is “glad legend Dolly Parton helped bankroll one (a vaccine)” and that “Stevie Nicks has been pushing for masks, vaccines and social distancing all along.” Another pledged to delete all Underwood songs from her Spotify while another said Underwood is “canceled in [her] book.” Getting into the masking fray is not always a good idea for a celebrity, but hey, they are human too. If they want their personal beliefs to alienate fans, they are free to do so. After all, the entire argument about masks is allegedly about freedom. Those who choose freedom from masks and vaccines sometimes find that freedom is not free.
In Georgia, an 18-year-old rising senior died of Covid mere months before his return to school. Less than a day later, his stepfather suffered the same fate. These are the faces of people who chose not to get vaccinated or wear masks. The senior’s mother also contracted Covid but survived, and she is regretting her choice. Regret about Covid is, unfortunately, sometimes deadly. Yet, people are still out there, crying about their “freedom.” This must be one of the most ridiculous things I have seen in my lifetime, and I have been around for a while. Deaths aside, people continue to claim that being forced to wear masks violates their freedoms. Ron DeSantis is threatening to fine superintendents in Broward, Leon and Alachua Counties while parents prepare to sue to allow their children to attend school without fear of Covid by wearing masks. These people act like masks are the worst thing in the world, yet they refuse the vaccine, which could negate the need for masks.
This battle is far from over, as organizations like the NAACP and Southern Poverty Law Center prepare to jump in to represent pro-mask parents and do battle with Ron DeSantis. An Atlanta parent with whom I am acquainted had to quarantine his son after the second day of school because an unmasked, Covid-positive school employee encountered him. Is this really the way we should be living? No. It is time to remind ourselves that we are Americans, and we stand up for the good of the whole, not some ridiculous, erroneous feelings of freedom. If you must stand for something, stand for the right reasons and stop thinking only about yourself.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years