Letter: 2021 is the year of the mask
Wearing a face mask is the biggest act of compassion one human being can do for another right now. Kindness, in 2021, has a tangible symbol, and that symbol is a face mask.
A pandemic is killing hundreds of thousands across our country, spreading fast, infecting millions, leaving those who are “lucky” to heal from it with devastating consequences that we are only just starting to learn more about.
Wearing a mask does not “infringe on people’s freedoms” like some will try to tell you. But … so what if it did? Would you not temporarily give up some of your freedom if it meant a chance at keeping others safe? That’s not a rhetorical question. How you answer defines you as a human being.
Masks are not an attack on anyone’s freedom any more than seatbelts are. They’re not a ploy for the government to control you. Ignore those who call you “sheep” without realizing they are the ones following others down ridiculous rabbit holes.
Face masks are about keeping your germs from other people around you — it’s as simple as that. They are an item that says of the wearer: I care about you enough to wear this in case it keeps you safe.
If someone you know is against wearing a face mask, you’ve just found out something very important about them: they care about themselves more than they care about those around them. Compassion toward others is an absolutely fundamental trait of any decent human being.
It’s true that most of us will survive this pandemic. But only some of us will get to be proud of the way we handled it. Not wearing a mask hurts our community.
A few decades from now, our grandchildren and great grandchildren will talk about the 2020-21 pandemic. They’ll also share tales of kindness, of those who put the collective needs above their own and worked toward the greater good. They will tell stories of those who trusted medical and scientific experts, and those who did what they could to protect others. Then there will be the “others.”
It’s up to you to decide which one you’ll be in 2021: the Year of the Mask.
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