By Recker McDowell —
COVID-19 cases are up in Arizona with 3,000 new cases the past two days bringing the statewide total to almost 33,000.
The concerning rise in cases in metro Phoenix, Yuma, Nogales and continued COVID cases on the Navajo Nation have restarted the debate over wearing masks and social distancing.
The problem is there should not even be a debate over wearing masks. It has become a political tussle when it should just be about common sense and protecting those most vulnerable to the virus (seniors, those with pre-existing health conditions and workers on the frontlines of the economy whether they work at an urgent care or grocery store).
George Orwell warned in 1984 about when everything in a society becomes political. “In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia,” Orwell wrote.
Social distancing and wearing a mask should be about protecting our grandparents, parents, our neighbors and coworkers with existing health conditions. It should be about protecting the cashier at the grocery store or pharmacy.
Unfortunately, it has become a political issue with typical political reactions.
Admonitions from the local and national media, from politicians, celebrities, advertisers and doctors on TV have at times been counterproductive. Believe it or not being chastised, patronized, and judged rubs people the wrong way.
There are ways to encourage people to protect their neighbors and loved ones without the judgment.
On the flip side, those resistant to masks need to ask themselves why they are not wearing them. Are you not protecting seniors, the cashier at the store or your neighbors and friends because Donald Trump does not wear a mask or because you are averse to media and political reprimands?
Both sides need to do something unheard of and rise above the politics, judgment, social media trash talk and wear a mask when it makes sense to protect others and stop the spread.