The far right’s absurd war on masks

Low-cost, low-tech masks save lives, but the nutball right has turned them into symbols of tyranny.

The chief cultural signifier of our times is this: Wearing a mask. Or not.

These low-tech, low-cost, high-impact coverings are simple and effective at helping reduce the COVID-19 infection rate. Our top political leaders’ failure to produce, distribute, and require them en masse when the pandemic first spread ranks somewhere between stupid and criminal.

But while our “leaders” failed, the people themselves have led, rapidly turning homemade mask-making into a booming cottage industry and a charitable act.

Meanwhile, though, big corporations rushed out like masked thieves to exploit the crisis.

Even as their lobbyists shoved to the front of the line to grab billions in public relief funds meant for small Main Street businesses, they churned out touchy-feely PR campaigns portraying Amazon warehouses, Hefty trash bags, McDonald’s fries, and Walmart’s forced-to-work clerks as the epitome of all-in-this-together Americanism.

Their message in this global pandemic is that what unites us as a people is crass commercialism—so buy something from us!

Then there are the billionaire-funded, right-wing political fronts that are staging protests against—wait for it—masks. Yes, the Koch brothers’ network and other laissez-faire extremists are intentionally trying to divide Americans in this time of national crisis by demonizing, of all things, mask wearing.

Confusing patriotism with nutballism, some self-proclaimed Patrick Henrys now feel entitled to trample on America’s common good.

Loudly proclaiming that being asked to make a minor, temporary, life-saving wardrobe adjustment is pure tyranny, they freely breathe their COVID-19 infections into our public air, often while mocking and even assaulting retail employees, bus drivers, and others who are just trying to get everyone to live and let live.

In this strange time, the modest mask has become a complex social symbol of competing acts of generosity, greed, and goofiness. The good news is that generosity is prevailing over the other two.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s also the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown. Distributed by OtherWords.org.

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One Response to The far right’s absurd war on masks

  1. Mr. Hightower has shown his true side: A shill for the NWO. Masks have absolutely no efficacy in preventing viral transmissions among the public, and in fact have been shown to be harmful to the wearer, suppressing the wearer’s immune system and actually contributing to infection in many cases.
    The FDA has never issued an approval for any facial covering intended to be used in the general population for the suppression of any illness, including but not limited to Covid-19. In fact no such approval has ever been sought, otherwise someone would have tried to make money on a “flu mask” The ineffectiveness of masks has been published by many MD’s, microbiologists, virologists and others who work in the infectious disease domain. Why aren’t you telling us that Mr. Hightower instead of spouting your pseudo-science BS? Why don’t you also tell us about the corrupt CDC and the Bill-Gates-owned-W.H.O. and about both of these organization’s long ongoing partnerships with Big Pharma and Big Medical? These cabals NEED sick people, healthy folks just aren’t profitable. By the CDC and the W.H.O. duping healthy people into wearing self-infecting masks Big Pharma/Big Medical are guaranteed a prolonged and lucrative market of many “Second Waves”.