The reasoning behind calls to wear a mask in the wake of the raging coronavirus pandemic is simple. Wearing a mask protects others around you from droplets that could be laden with the virus, especially if they’re at high risk for getting sick. Sadly, the excuses for not wearing a mask have mushroomed almost as quickly as the growing mandates from state and local governments to wear masks in public. One of the looniest yet comes from a right-wing podcaster who claims mask mandates harken back to the bad old days of Jim Crow.
Christianist podcaster Dave Daubenmire is one of many right-wing luminaries who flatly refuses to wear a mask because, in so many words, freedoms–or, as one of my Kossack friends puts it, “freedumbs.” Apparently Daubenmire doesn’t know, doesn’t understand, or refuses to understand that he does not have the right to make others sick.
On Wednesday’s show, Daubenmire talked about run-ins he’d had at several stores that require customers to wear masks. He claimed that such requirements are no different from signs in the days of Jim Crow or apartheid saying “whites only.” People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch got a clip.
Daubenmire claimed that he could not and would not wear a mask to make workers at his local T-Mobile store or Best Buy “feel better.” As he sees it, if he were to wear a mask, he would be “bearing false witness” and would be joining in on something that is “exceedingly dangerous to our American society.”
One has to wonder–does Daubenmire want it on his conscience that he could pass the virus to a T-Mobile or Best Buy worker, who could in turn either get sick him/herself or pass it on to someone else? Wearing a mask isn’t just about making them feel better, Dave. It’s about keeping people safe from a virus that, based on an Everest of evidence, no one should want to get.
According to Daubenmire, he needed some work done on his phone, but since he refused to wear a mask, he was told they’d have to work on it outside. Daubenmire pitched a fit, prompting the manager to come out. Daubenmire then claimed he had a heart condition, and therefore didn’t need to wear a mask. He asked the manager, “Are you refusing to give me service because of a medical condition that I have?”
Daubenmire then told the manager that he was actually born with heart trouble, leading him to ask her, “Would you refuse to serve somebody because they’re black?” He noted that she would never ask a black man to step outside in order to have his phone serviced, “and you’re not going to ask me to do it.”
So let’s see if we’ve got this right. Telling someone that you can’t come in without a mask amounts to taking a time warp back to Jim Crow? Anyone who grew up during that era, or is one generation removed from that era, ought to feel insulted. Since when is telling someone to take a basic step to protect those around them, to show that they care about others’ safety, in the same ballpark as segregation?
Even without that to consider, Daubenmire was blowing smoke. It turns out that if he really does have a heart condition, it’s particularly incumbent upon you to wear a mask. According to the Heart Center at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, those with heart disease are at a “particularly high risk” for catching coronavirus, and the symptoms can be “more severe.” For those reasons, it’s “highly recommended” that people with heart conditions wear masks.
Based on this advice, we can only assume that when Daubenmire likened wearing masks to Jim Crow, he was either lying or has a serious death wish.
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