Wearing a mask is not an imposition on my freedom. A year in and the ‘I won’t wear a mask’ attitude has the same schoolground contrariness of the kids who won’t wear a school hat. Or people who fought against seatbelts or bike helmets. Just wear it. There are so many bigger issues to push back against. Pick your battles. If you are protesting wearing a mask you need to get some perspective.
A mask isn’t government control. It’s disease control. Whether you ‘choose’ to believe it or not, it doesn’t matter. The world is in the grip of a global pandemic, and your belief system has little to do with fact. A great many people all over the world have died, or are at risk of dying. I witnessed a conversation between a woman who implied the whole pandemic was an elaborate hoax and a friend from New York who listed of all the people in her family who had died from COVID-19. The woman says ‘I’m just saying it’s not as bad as we’ve been told.’ My friend says ‘No it’s not. It’s worse.’
So we have been asked to wear a mask.
It is the simple act of covering one’s mouth and nose. Your respiratory area. It’s not a perfect solution to disease control, but it’s a good start.
It is a simple action that can be taken by all to protect against a disease that is transmitted through respiratory droplets. It is a first line of defence against this disease and the good news is, it’s chemical free, immediate and generalised throughout the community. Except for people who won’t wear masks.
Today in Mullumbimby I witnessed a woman blowing bubbles on people. She was walking with her dog and blowing bubbles over passers-by. What is usually the magical work of the fairy tribe, today it had a kind of aggression. The bubbles weren’t by accident. This was a ‘Fuck You’ to mask wearing. A fuck you to people wearing masks. A fuck you to the existence of this coronavirus. The woman was sending her water droplets, encased in soapy bubbles, down the street. You might have your own opinion – but how can anyone think that’s an okay thing to do at this time? For someone who’s clearly so entrenched with their own personal liberties, why would they impede on the liberty of others? Other people believe something she doesn’t. How does their choice to wear a mask impact on her?
This conversation around mask wearing is so banal. Every time I see a post about people’s right not to wear a mask I am appalled. Can’t we respect the wellbeing of others? There are vulnerable people in our community whom we show care for every time we wear a mask when we’re asked to. Whatever happened to the concept of the greater good?
When I travel into temples and I am asked to cover my shoulders and head, I do it. It’s respectful to the culture of others. The idea that wearing a mask somehow impacts on ‘our freedom’ makes me feel nauseous. This is rampant individualism. Is that really the most we privileged white first-worlders have to worry about? FFS.
Do you know what an imposition on freedom actually looks like?
Having a bunch of people turn up in a boat and steal your land and then tell you that you weren’t there and you weren’t ‘doing anything with it’. Then they create a history in which you basically aren’t included, but when you are – your culture is diminished and misrepresented. Consequently you live in a country where your people are incarcerated 12.5 times more than any other group. Oh, and they also die younger than everyone else. That’s an imposition on freedom worth fighting against.
You know another imposition on freedom? Being told, as a woman, you shouldn’t be on the streets at night because then it’s your fault if you get raped or murdered, when actually you’re more likely to be murdered at home. That’s an imposition on freedom worth fighting against.
You know another imposition on freedom? Living in a country where billionaires aren’t taxed fairly on their massive profits, and then the most vulnerable in our community are expected to get by on benefits way below the poverty line. That’s an imposition on freedom worth fighting against.
I don’t like wearing a mask. I agree that it’s uncomfortable, and breathing your own breath isn’t overly pleasant. But I do it, because I’m not that special. I don’t need to make a scene about the importance of my liberty over the health and wellbeing of others. I don’t have to know who you are to care about you. Be a decent human being. Wear a mask when it’s asked of you.