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Opinion | Mask protests aren’t about freedom, they’re about selfishness

“Schools have every right to protect the children. And they should keep doing so, despite the rhetoric and cries from the anti-mask crowd. “


Masks work to stop the spread of coronavirus. Let’s get that little fact out of the way right up front here. 

I don’t want your emails and comments arguing this stone cold fact. You’re wrong. I’m right. The science and the doctors all agree with this fact: When everyone in a room is wearing a mask, the transmission rate of this virus is significantly reduced. 

So, again — and for the last time — masks work. 

I make that point because I want to say this: Rep. Andrew Sorrell, like his hero, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, is an attention-seeking, fact-challenged panderer who is willing to sacrifice the lives of his fellow Americans simply to gain political notoriety. 

Sorrell, if you’re unfamiliar, is seeking to ban mask mandates in schools throughout Alabama. He plans to introduce legislation at some point that would make it illegal for local school superintendents and local boards to make their own rules. 

You’ll also likely not be shocked to learn that he’s running for another office. So, this stunt — and that’s all it is — fits perfectly into campaign fundraising season. 

It’s pathetic. And Sorrell should be shamed into seclusion for even suggesting such nonsense in the midst of a deadly pandemic that’s already killed more than 600,000 Americans and about 12,000 Alabamians. 

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Just Monday, new data showed that there are more children hospitalized with COVID now than at any other point in the pandemic. Alabama has more than 40 kids hospitalized, with at least five on ventilators. 

But instead of everyone treating this like the deadly, dangerous pandemic it is, this is what we’re talking about — rolling back safety mandates because a bunch of bored white people needed something to be outraged about. 

Apparently, the freakout over critical race theory wasn’t enough. 

Honestly, what are you all screaming about? It’s a freakin’ mask. And the people who are mandating them, they’re trying to protect your children by requiring them to wear this piece of cloth that causes almost all of them zero problems. 

Stop screaming at them and threatening them like a bunch of maniacs. You all look and sound ridiculous. Especially when you consider what’s actually happening. 

And please, spare me the rhetoric about “freedom.” This is not a freedom issue. And the reason I know it’s not a freedom issue is because not a one of the people screaming at school board members and teachers today made a peep when the school banned “saggy” pants or dreadlocks or dyed hair or short skirts. 

You don’t have anything at all to say about kids being required to wear shoes. Or shirts. Or, hell, pants. 

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I haven’t seen a one of you on the corner outside of your kids’ schools holding up signs declaring that unbound feet are your God-given right.  

Because that would be stupid. Just like this mask fight is. 

It also shouldn’t be lost on anyone that many of the people whining about their kids being forced to wear a mask were also outraged on Monday that we won’t be sending anymore of those other people’s kids off to fight and die in Afghanistan. 

Honestly, the level of selfishness and indifference that has been on display in this country — and especially this state — over the last 18 months is disgusting. And almost all of it emanating from the conservatives who preach duty and patriotism the loudest.  

Not because there’s some legitimate threat to personal freedoms. There isn’t, and there hasn’t been throughout this pandemic. 

No, they’re outraged because this virus has impacted their lives, and the solution to it is super annoying. I mean, wearing a mask, not going to crowded places, getting a shot? No thank you. That stuff isn’t fun. 

And all the screaming and outrage is simply them trying desperately to force the world the way they want it to be into existence. And them blaming anyone who dares tell them that reality is heading in a different direction. 

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Opportunistic politicians — people like Sorrell — and the social media famous have played on that outrage. They’ve stoked the crazy and pandered to the insane and coddled the conspiracies. Not because they are also believers, but because such pandering brings loyalty and votes. And money. 

It doesn’t matter if children die. It doesn’t matter if the country suffers.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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