Get ready to be challenged…
The other day I was having a conversation with my Dad.
He is very much on the other side of my position on the way the pandemic is being handled, which was the motivation from me writing “Early WAKE-Up Call”. He asked me, “Why won’t you wear a mask? It’s the same thing as wearing a seat-belt.”
In response, I heard myself say for the first time, “Because it’s a symbol. Just like the flag is a symbol.”
At the end-of-the-day, I’m a communications coach. I live, eat and breathe all things communications. Whether it is self-communication (aka “self-talk”), or within our romantic, familial, personal, professional or distant relationships – it’s all about communication – what we’re giving out and taking in.
Wearing a mask everywhere says something. We have all seen people wearing them in their cars while driving alone or exercising outside with no one even close to them. Why do they do that? What are they trying to communicate?
Most people see it as potentially protecting other people’s physical and/or mental health. I know I don’t have the virus. So, for me, complying would be to try to make people feel better about seeing me. Remember, I take a known pathogen-killer four times a day called “Oreganol”. I have written and spoken about it a lot. So, I’m not spreading anything but my truth. 🙂
I view mandated mask wearing as a symbol of the ever-encroaching move by the government to pick-away at our individual liberties, our ability to make choices for ourselves, and therefore to take individual responsibility for our own actions and lives. In other words, to be an adult. You think it’s just a coincidence we have so many adult-age children living with their parents nowadays? I think not.
People argue government mandated mask-wearing is no different than government-mandated seat-belt-wearing, no smoking restaurants or air travel, crosswalk signs, speed limits, motorcyclist helmet wearing, reduced automobile emissions, recycling—the list could go on and on. And in a sense, these comparisons are apt.
This has been going on in our country for a longtime. Laws passed one at a time for the public’s “general well-being”. By themselves, most of them seemed to make sense and to not be particularly intrusive, onerous or unreasonable. But in total? Maybe not so much.
The mask mandate was not delivered to us by itself or in a vacuum. Additionally, as opposed to the other measures “for our own good”, this one was not legislated. It was dictated. It was handed down from mayors, county boards and governors during this season of mandated government stay at home orders, determinations whose work is essential and whose is not, prohibitions on our freedom to make a living, provide for our families and to freely assemble (unless you’re involved in the approved political movement), This is a seminal moment. These insane, inconsistent and hypocritical decisions by the government have been enabled by their willing accomplices in the media. News anchors (not commentators) are ending their newscasts by reminding us to adhere to the dictates of the government, “Don’t forget. Keep your social distance and wear a mask.”The message has definitely gotten through.
In a recent poll, 88% of Americans says they wear a mask all the time or some of the time. You can’t get 88% of Americans to agree if the sky is blue these days. But we’re in agreement on this one. Except for a few of us.
I don’t wear a mask because of what it symbolizes during this most unique moment in history. This wasn’t just one more government-issued, nanny-state-inspired thing. This came in the middle of a torrent of devastating decisions by our government, medical bureaucracy, media and general public compliance.
I ain’t playing.
To me, the mask is a symbol, a symbol like the U.S. flag is a symbol about something else.
What is the flag actually? It’s a piece of decorated fabric, right? So, why do so many people get so upset when other people destroy or burn it? Because it symbolizes something, that’s why.
The torching of the flag is representative of an attitude. It disrespects the sacrifice of millions upon millions of women and men who have laid it all on the line for freedom. Beautiful Humans like: Patrick Henry, Clara Barton, Frederick Douglas, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ira Hayes, Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey, Rosa Parks, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Harvey Milk. The list could and should go on to include the countless Americans who put liberty and freedom ahead of personal safety.
The flag alone is just a piece of cloth. But it is also a symbol.
When people desecrate the flag, they’re desecrating the sacrifice and the memory of our predecessors who earned and deserve our respect.
In my opinion, people should absolutely have the freedom to burn the flag. I would never support a constitutional amendment to ban that right.
Having written that, I would never participate in flag burning or support the actual act. A burning flag is not just a piece of cloth being consumed. It is a symbol of basic human dignity and respect being consumed.
Likewise, the mask is not just a face covering, a temporary inconvenience and a possible a stopper of some germs. The mask is a symbol, too. And it is not going anywhere, ever. Mark my words. “The horse is out the barn.”
People should absolutely have the right to wear one. I don’t want to wear one not just because I don’t want to. I don’t participate because of what the mask as a symbol represents. To me, it is a “red flag”. The mask is a symbol of our ever decaying liberty, the need to take personal responsibility for our own lives, health and well-being, and the public’s willingness to be rolled.
For decades, our society has been yielding to an ever more powerful group of people devouring our individual freedom and responsibility and our ability to live our lives freely. They think they know what is best for everyone else. They do not.
I ain’t playing.
Watch former Chicago Cub player Rick Monday save the US Flag from burning at a game in Los Angeles in the ’70s and then talk about the experience in this brief but inspiring video.