Even a death of 4432 won't deter some of our state's residents.


 

From Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio:


All about in the world were the truths and they were all beautiful. 


And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them...[and]...the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.

 

Winston Churchill was not present for the mask protest at the Capitol in Hartford Sunday.

Neither was John Lewis, or Anne Frank, or Martin Luther King, Jr., or Nelson Mandela, or Mother Teresa.


Yes they're all deceased, but there wasn't even room for their spirit in that group.


Instead the assembly comprised people with limited knowledge of medicine, mistaken ideas about patriotism, and a complete lack of concern for what Robert Burns called their “fellow mortals.” It was a group united by dubious beliefs, unbridled narcissism, and profound misanthropy. It was, in short, a Trump rally without a Trump—an enclave to be forgotten—a Ship of Fools on dry land. There was something for everybody.


1. BRING OUT THE EXPERTS

One speaker, a chiropractor and nutrition consultant, dispensed these words of wisdom: “Asking a mask to stop a virus is asking a chain-link fence to stop a mosquito,” adding later, “People like to be right. They don’t want the truth.”

Physician, heal thyself. Or just heel. That would be a start. Read some medical literature, some scientific studies. Avoid the forays into alien autopsies. And oh yes, how is that "do no harm" thingy working out when you deliberately put people in danger?


2. BRING OUT THE PSEUDO-HISTORIANS!

Rev. Ernestine Holloway, a Black woman and a Republican candidate for the state House of Representatives, took it further. She likened mask-wearing to slavery. “The mask is submission,” she said. “See, for slavery they did that because they didn’t want you to talk. ... I’m African-American, and I know what the mask means.”

I don’t think she does. You can talk through your mask and we can hear you, though it might be better to hold off for a while until you get your analogies straight...or there's a vaccine.

3. RELEASE THE PATRIOTS!

“We are built on Christian principles,” one protester said, “and if you don’t like our country, get the hell out. This is God’s country.”


Ah, who doesn’t love a good Christian, always looking out for others. Ironically, the man seemed to have forgotten Rev. Holloway's presence when he resurrected Trump’s dismissal of Rep. Ilhan Omar — a Somali-American—whom the president told to go back where she came from. It was one of Trump's more blatant racial slurs and hardly the mark of a good Christian. That’s the problem with owning patriotism—you never know who gets excluded. Same with owning Christianity.


I remembered the shortest verse in the King James Bible—Then Jesus wept. I think He wept again yesterday. It did rain, after all.


Or maybe sometimes rain is just rain, like the shower that sent the mask protesters scurrying for shelter. Many of them huddled close together under the Capitol’s portico—close and maskless. (Jesus was supposed to have had a sense of humor—maybe after He wept, He laughed.)


I get it—first Amendment rights provide for people to speak their mind, and yesterday's gathering is a good example. But if even one observer or attendee accepts any of the gibberish that was spewed out of that gathering and gets sick and dies as a result, then this becomes less a freedom of speech issue and more a "shouting fire in a crowded movie house" one.


Who's responsible when a citizen blindly obeys the asinine chain-link fence analogy and then dies from COVID-19? Don't expect the chiropractor/nutritionist to step forward and take the blame. After all, people like to be right. They don't want the truth. He said so.


During this pandemic when conflicting information comes from all sides, and the worst of it comes from the top, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to protect each other, not bait others into irresponsible behavior. That's still the president's job.

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