Letters to the Editor 2019

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To the Editor:

I am completely flabbergasted at the “arguments” for wearing, or not wearing, a mask. It's even more absurd that our leadership turned it into a question of freedom of expression, yet we prize our freedom. 

At Burger King, we can have it our way. There are dizzying selections of choices of everything from underarm deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, and the list goes on.

We are free to choose our 401(k) (which really means the brokers get to charge us 2% for the privilege instead of Social Security, which beats the investment banks to within an inch of their markup).

In our consumer culture, where we are consumers first and citizens second, we are constantly herded into the next best thing. Did you get the new iPhone, Apple Watch, Peloton...? This accounts for 70% of our gross domestic product. 

We don't really manufacture anything. We buy things. This activity is second only to complaining. We have a culture of complaint (especially when we don't get it our way).

We live in very large herds. Reciprocal action becomes a much more important means of exchange for services rendered. 

Have you ever lent a friend a hand with a problem, and then were delighted when that same friend came to your rescue? It's part of our social contract; unspoken, unwritten, but followed by the large majority. 

The Midwest sent medical teams to New York, in April, and now, the New Yorkers are responding in kind to Texas, Florida, Georgia, and California.

We help one another. That's what we do. Self-interest be damned.

We know very little about how this virus spreads. Back in 1448, they thought the Black Death spread by “vapors.” Pope Clement spent the summer of 1448, in Avignon, surrounded by smoking fires to purify the air. He never got sick, probably because the smoke kept the fleas away – the actual carriers of the plague.

Just like in 1448, we don't have all the answers yet, but we have a few best guesses: 

* That it is airborne. 

* You don't know who the spreaders are (even the spreaders don't know who they are) 

* Wearing a mask when you can't keep your distance slows the spread and flattens the curve.

You stop at red lights, right? It's a reciprocal act. You stop, and then the other traffic goes. The other traffic is confident that they can go because you stopped at the red light.

Please be reciprocal and wear your mask. The herd will thank you.

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