The 22-foot-tall Mora Dala Horse put on its own sheet-sized face mask Saturday, May 2, as a way to promote and encourage wearing masks in public to slow the spread of novel coronavirus.
Not everyone is on-board with the idea of wearing fabric masks and they have been making their voices heard. The most prevalent argument against wearing face masks I have seen are:
1) It is an infringement on personal freedoms and/or
2) Government promotion of health precautions against the virus are either hype or an attempt to spread fear.
While I am fine with anyone’s decision to wear or not to wear a face mask — I hope it is for a reason other than these two.
A store asking visitors to wear a mask for entry is as much an infringement on your rights as them requiring you to wear clothing. Next time try shopping with your genitals exposed and you’ll soon get an education on your rights. (I know this is opening up another debate about the right to be nude in public but now isn’t the time for that discussion.)
Wet your own pants, not mine
Speaking of nudity, pretend for a moment we live in a world where no one wears pants or underwear and they can’t control their bladders. They also don’t know if their bladders are full or empty (just like many people infected with coronavirus aren’t aware of it). People just start to pee sometimes when they are out in public.
Now imagine three scenarios:
1) No one wears pants. Someone pees on you; you pee on someone else. Everyone is wet with pee.
2) You decide to wear pants but someone else pees on you. You still get wet, but not as much.
3) Someone else wears pants. They wet their own pants; you don’t get wet.
The whole idea of wearing a homemade mask in public is about making the selfless decision to pee your own pants instead of peeing on others. It’s not comfortable. It’s not convenient. It’s considerate.
Fabric masks won’t protect you from getting the virus, but will keep more of your own spit, sneezes, coughs, etc. from getting on others. That’s why the slogan around wearing fabric masks is “My mask protects you; Your mask protects me.”
All these proposed measures to stay distanced from others, wearing masks, washing hands, are based in science as a way to slow the spread of this disease. The recommendations are not an attempt to manipulate or spread fear.
Fear gaps in education
We tend to fear things we don’t understand.
This global pandemic has revealed how little understanding people have of things we are taught in high school like the difference between bacteria and viruses, how diseases can spread, basic chemistry, statistics and news literacy.
In high school, many of us might have wondered, “Why do I need to learn this?” Now, we’re realizing why.
Without that knowledge people are making bad decisions: Not everyone can properly interpret or understand the data presented about infection rates; some aren’t properly diluting bleach or are mixing cleaners in dangerous ways; some are falling for scams and struggle to sort out useful information from bogus claims.
We need every member of the public to receive a well-rounded education. Unfortunately, this pandemic has disrupted even that process. In-school education isn’t happening and “distance learning” isn’t going to cut it.
It’s hard to prioritize teaching kids “mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell” when many students are facing bigger challenges: parents are losing their jobs, some are homeless, some are without telephones or internet access, some are taking care of younger siblings and are worried about where their next meal is coming from.
Teachers have eased up on their lessons and expectations for achievement while students are struggling to make it through. I worry about what this will mean for educational gaps in the future.
Chill out about the horse
This entire situation is hard enough as it is without anyone hating on the Dala Horse for choosing to wear a mask in public.
Kirsten Faurie is the editor of the Kanabec County Times. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 320-225-5128.