We're trying to have a civilization here

by Jon Sullivan - 2021-06-25

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"A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom." - Bob Dylan

That Dylan quote has nothing to do with today's post. I just think it's a cool quote. Well.... Maybe sort of related. Maybe should be related. Maybe "only related if it's not going to trigger you". But today's post is about mask wearing after Covid. And the question of whether it's a bit irresponsible to not wear a mask now is yet to be decided IMHO. I'll admit you don't "Need" to wear one now. But.... maybe you should anyway?

I come to this question as someone who has always liked the Japanese habit of wearing a mask when you're sick. And in contrast has always hated watching fellow Americans cough into their hands and then touch every common surface they can. Long before Covid I was regularly enraged by the American tradition that coming to the office when sick is somehow a virtue. Or that you win points by others catching your cold/flu/plague. It's like we hate each other.

But now we have the vaccine. And all numbers so far show it's wildly effective. Yes, you can still get it and possibly have carry-on symptoms or spread it to others. But the high risk of death etc is eliminated. Or at least it's eliminated for you.

The Montana trip last week was my first real expedition outside my apartment in a year and a half. And it was pretty shocking to see basically no one wearing a mask. And no one distancing. And people coughing into their hands. Etc etc. I get it. People hate masks. Fair enough. And we have a highly effective vaccine. And the USA is not Japan. I get it. But I also know around half the people in any indoor space aren't vaccinated. And if even one person in the crowd, vaccinated or not, has the virus, then all the unvaccinated people are at a high risk of dying.

And there's the point of this post. How responsible do I need to be for people around me who choose [flag emoji] FREEDOM [flag emoji] over the wellbeing of themselves and others? They chose to taunt Covid. Is that my problem? I can certainly get Covid and kill them. Is that my problem? Is it my responsibility to protect others who actively and aggressively refuse to share that responsibility? Do I need to deal with people glaring at me simply because I avoid spreading disease? Or more savagely, now that we have the vaccine, do I care when the virus will mostly kill Trump voters? As a follower of science, isn't Covid now just thinning the herd of the weak?

I'm going to keep wearing a mask. Not as aggressively as I did before the vaccine. But certainly in crowds, or shopping, or at work. And I don't care if others do or not. Me wearing a mask isn't about you. I'm not doing it as a political statement. I'm not doing it out of fear. I'm not doing it to shame you. I'm not claiming others MUST be wearing one. It's a choice. And to flip the script here, this is America and we have the FREEDOM to wear a mask all we want.

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