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A mask is not a political statement

Opinion: Columns

June 30th, 2020 2:11 PM

By Joseph Diethelm

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In today's political theater it has become a controversy to wear a mask. Some claim it violates constitutional rights, some go as far as to say they can't breathe. Yet doctors, and nurses are wearing them all day long to take care of us, and they are not dying from lack of breathing.

Some are saying it takes away from their freedom, their right to peacefully assemble and protest. Well they are right, it takes away the freedom to be irresponsible, like many of our laws. You can still peacefully assemble and protest with a mask on. Black Lives Matter marchers have been doing it for weeks now.

I have a car that can go about 120 miles per hour, you may have one that goes about the same speed. But none of us have streets close to where we live that will allow that to happen. In fact we have put up speed limits to keep us from going too fast, and we do it for public safety. 

We have put up street signs and stop lights. We test and issue licenses, all in the name of public safety. Now nobody has ever complained about driving guidelines, because we never had it politicized.

Now we didn't have these road precautions before the invention of the automobile, I guess because horses were not stupid enough to run over or crash into each other. But when we started to get more, and more drivers, it became necessary to limit what we could do with our cars, even though they could do more. 

And yet no one complained. In fact, within the last few decades, an organization dedicated to stopping drunk driving has emerged, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Again, this was done for public safety, and again no one complained. Within the last decade we were forced to wear seat belts, again not about politics, but about public safety.  

Well, now we are facing a virus, and doctors are saying we need to wear masks for public safety. However, because of politics and a denial of the current medical situation, we have fallen into a controversy about wearing a mask or face covering. In fact, I would not be surprised to find out that some that refuse to wear a mask would rather wear a hood.

I think it's time to start to think about the situation, instead of the politics of it. If President Trump had agreed with the doctors, like every other countries' leaders did, he would have agreed with wearing a mask and this would not have been a political controversy.

However, this is only a controversy if you let it become one. I hope everyone that reads this will start to think for themselves about what is really happening in America, and take the right precautions, because it is the right thing to do, not because it's the political thing to do or not do. Public safety for all is not political. It is necessary and in all of our best interests.

The good news is the virus will one day be cured, and we won't have to wear masks forever. But we will still have to obey speed limits and wear seat belts. I hope that won't get politicized or we may have to go back to using horses for travel.

Joseph Diethelm is a Brookfield resident.

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