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Not My Party: Stop Trying to Make Mask Wars a Thing

Pandemic countermeasures shouldn't become partisan talismans.
May 20, 2021

This is a mask. It can be used to protect you and those around you from germs. It’s not a personality. Or a political identity. And it does not hold intrinsic moral value.

It’s simply a mask.

This week we received an exciting new update on masks! The CDC says those of us who are vaccinated can remove them. This is the latest sign that in America, the brunt of COVID is finally coming to an end.

To celebrate, I went to a crowded gay bar in Denver and got to see the smiling faces of Not My Party fans.

This is it you guys, it’s all happening! We really are on the cusp of Hot Joe Summer!

But wait…

Don’t you get the feeling that instead of celebrating, people on the left and right want the COVID Culture Wars to go on forever?

Over at Ben Shaprio’s Daily Wire, they won’t admit that anything good can happen in Joe Biden’s America. One host tweeted that wearing a mask is “unhuman.” Another, Candace Owens tweeted this insane rant: “My child’s face will never be behind a mask because the government says so. My child’s arm will never be injected with an experimental vaccine against a non-life-threatening virus.”

Ok:

  1. The government isn’t putting kids in jail over masks. They’re making a recommendation for safety.
  2. The vaccine is safe, so get your jab
  3. The virus it protects us from is life-threatening. It’s killed 3.4 million people worldwide.

So that’s 0 for 3 for Candace.

Look at the top 10 states in vaccine hesitancy. Nine red states and 1 purple state. All places where people listen to reckless conservative commentators like Candace.

STOP! Please. Not everything has to be about politics. Get your jab and get back to normal.

And then on the left, there ‘s another category of cranks who won’t let us have nice things.

“I’m not wearing a mask, but I hold it in my hand so you know I’m not a Republican.”

Take this from David Hogg: “I feel the need to continue wearing my mask outside even though I’m fully vaccinated because the inconvenience of having to wear a mask is more than worth it to have people not think I’m a conservative.”

Ugh. Now I hate to pick on this kid, but that is the perfect example of a misguided mindset that’s widespread in liberal America.

Out here in the Bay Area, despite the virus being basically eliminated locally and the CDC giving us the go ahead, people are still walking around masked-up everywhere.

Now, wear whatever you want. I do!

But when it comes to reports of people being shouted down and flipped off for being maskless outside, that’s not “following the science.” That’s being an asshole.

It’s not culturally or medically healthy to turn masks and other relics of the pandemic into permanent political statements. They served a purpose. And now that purpose is going away. Thank God.

We should see this vaccine output as an example of how this country could work better again. To get it done, it took scientists, pharma companies, a competent Biden administration, and volunteers all around the country working together.

So let’s remember that. And when it comes to these stupid mask wars, listen to Elsa: LET IT GO!

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump, communications director for Jeb Bush 2016, and spokesman for the Republican National Committee.