Ground Zero, Recent Shows
7/23/20: HALF MASKED W/ SUZANNE HOBBS

MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS 

The other day I was surprised to read that President Donald Trump decided it was a patriot’s duty to wear a mask in public. On Monday, President Donald Trump offered his strongest endorsement yet for wearing face masks in public, tweeting Monday that it is a “Patriotic” action to take during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!” Trump tweeted.

The tweet from the president appearing to endorse the use of face coverings — which threw the mainstream media into a complete conundrum as they could not use his not wearing mask as ammo against him anymore. They did use the fact that he said it is patriotic as it is a defiance against the China virus.

The whole tweet read:

“We are united in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President!”

As multiple states experience a record-breaking surge in coronavirus cases, masks have been embraced by business leaders, politicians of both major parties and even Trump administration health officials.

But up until his tweet Monday, Trump has taken a less full-throated approach.

Now he takes the wind out of the idea that it is a political issue with him when it never should have been made a political issue in the first place.

Trump has largely refused to wear a mask in public. He notes that it’s not necessary for him as president, because nearly everyone in his proximity is tested for COVID-19 before they approach him. But he has declined to don a face covering in numerous public settings throughout the crisis, including at a Honeywell factory in Arizona that produces masks.

When the CDC in early April changed its guidance to recommend using a face covering in public areas where social distancing was unfeasible, Trump made the announcement himself – but while delivering the news, he said, “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

Well, apparently now he is doing it and I was curious how people were reacting to it.

I guess I kind of found out today – for the first time in the 5 months, I have been going into my building I was told by a security guard that apparently I have been watched and monitored and that I am seen not wearing a mask on the premises.

I was actually having coffee with a friend in the lobby of the building. I was practicing social distancing and could not possibly sip my coffee through my mask. I receive a phone call from a very important business consultant and asked my friend to give me a moment to talk with him.

He walked to the other side of the lobby and I put down my coffee and wore my mask half masked just below nose. Speaking through the mask made it difficult for the man on the other end to understand what I was saying.

So I took the mask off and started sipping my coffee again and I noticed a security guard heading toward me. I thought he was going to get himself some coffee.

But no – he actually hovered over me as I was on my phone.

I looked up and said “Can I help you with something I am on a business call.”

He said “We have been noticing that when you come into the building you don’t wear a mask and when you do, you don’t wear it properly.”

I held up my mask and I said “for one thing I have a health problem that keeps me from wearing a mask for long periods of time.” I then said “I don’t have to tell you what that health condition is and if you like I will wear my mask to my office and then take it off.” He gave that deer in the headlights look and then said “Well, sir it has been mandated by the governor and it is building policy.”

I said to guy I had on the phone that I had to call him back because there is a security guard hovering over me demanding I wear a mask.

I then put on the mask, went up the escalator and made sure that I kept 12 feet of distance from the security desk.

I have complained about seeing mask Nazis on YouTube but I never had to deal with one before.

However, if it is building policy so I guess I need to abide by the rules or be thrown out.

I knew that once President Trump gave the okay on masks it would embolden those who have been wearing them to begin with, to start being more courageous in demanding that people wear masks.

It doesn’t matter now if you have a health condition or if you are doing something where the mask is cumbersome – you are being watched, and people are no longer afraid to demand that you wear a mask.

It is not that I won’t wear a mask or even try to wear a mask, I am just tired of the lack of sensitivity on the part of those who are religiously wearing them.

While I have been complaining about masks, there are some people I am sure that think I am anti-mask. Well, not exactly. I look at masks like I look at wearing a necktie. I don’t like wearing them. They are tight and uncomfortable and I end up loosening my tie when I wear one to a business meeting, a wedding, a funeral or when I go to church.

That does not make me anti-tie. I probably own two neckties and maybe three button down shirts.

I usually wear a T-shirt jeans and a suit jacket. That has been my uniform for some time. If you see me in a tie it is because it is required and I am counting the minutes and hours until I can take it off and put on one of my t-shirts with some smart assed saying or artwork on the front.

The mask incident today reminded me of an experience I had when my mother died. I had to fly out to Salt Lake City. At the time I had absolutely no money to pay for a plane ticket. My sister said that my father knew someone that worked at an airline and that she could fly me out on an employee ticket package.

She said that the ticket had certain restrictions and that I was required to wear a suti and a tie or an open collar shirt. It was some company policy I had to adhere to in order to fly.

I thought it would not be a problem since I would be wearing a suit and tie anyway.

So I got to Salt Lake attended my mother’s funeral and then I spent a few days in Park City at the Sundance film festival. I met up with some friends of mine In the movie industry. I went to a few souvenir shops and bought a Sundance T-shirt and thought ot would be cool to wear it in Portland when I returned.

The next day I went to the airport wearing the T-shirt. I got to the ticket counter and the woman gave me this dirty look. She asked are you an employee of the airline? I said no—and then she said “Did an employee give you one of their passes to fly? I said yes. The woman then said “Did she inform you of the shirt policy?”

My heart sunk as I realized I was wearing the T-shirt and my luggage was checked. I awkwardly said “Do you really have to enforce this policy.” She said “yes and you have ten minutes to go to the “duty free” store and buy an open collared shirt.

I then said “What if told you I don’t have the money?”

She said “Then you don’t get on the plane.”

I thought that if I bought the shirt I would be overdrawn or that it would screw up my budget but I guess rules were rules and they were being enforced to the letter.

I ended up spending $30.00 for an open collared golf shirt. It was pink – that was all they had. I went into the bathroom threw it on and almost missed my plane.

Again, I though the rule was arbitrary but apparently it was serious.

Now we are living in times where masks are now serious business and people are more emboldened to tell you to your face without even social distancing to stick with the rules – the only problem is that it is now a fashion accessory that I have to have handy, like a cross and holy water to keep that vampires away.

You can’t possibly know why people aren’t wearing masks. They might have a health condition that makes it hard to breathe. Maybe they’re afraid of being racially profiled. Still, there’s tension when you see an uncovered face in public.

That tension is splitting people into different camps. Some people don their masks religiously. Others are choosing to defy the recommendations from public health experts to slow the transmission of COVID-19

I dread wearing it as much as the necktie, only thing is a necktie does not make me feel nauseous and tired when I wear it.

I did some reading today and found that we have been in this COVID mess long enough to allow for a sample market demographic data to be analyzed by businesses in order to provide healthy masks for people from different age groups.

A new survey from Gallup shows 72 percent of U.S. adults say they either always wear a face mask or wear one often when going to public places.

Women, college graduates and Democrats responded the most that they often or always wear a face mask, while men, non-college graduates and Republicans had the highest percentages of those saying they either rarely or never wear a face mask.

Establishment health experts have overwhelmingly claimed that wearing face masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, after admitting they lied about NOT wearing masks early in the pandemic, and questions over the virus’ transmission routes has led to growing mistrust of media and government officials has built a substantial coalition of people around the country who refuse to wear one.

There was a study in comparison to what happened during the 1918 pandemic and some historians were saying that it was a political flashpoint as there were people back then debated of a face mask was necessary.

Some protested and openly defied local orders as World War I raged in Europe, About 2,000 members of the so-called Anti-Mask League gathered in San Francisco in 1919 “for a rally denouncing the mask ordinance and proposing ways to defeat it.”

A Utah group has been organizing what they call flash mobs, where they show up to grocery stores without face masks.

The group “Defending Utah” has organized the demonstrations, and said they have plenty more planned for the future. Supporters who agree with their anti-mask message sign up on a phone list and get a text with the location of what store to meet at the day of the flash mob.

In Michigan, some people carried assault rifles into the state Capitol building this spring to protest the governor’s orders, drawing international attention. Similar protests have played out in cities across the country.

During the flu pandemic, which killed 675,000 Americans in 1918 and 1919, noncompliance and outright defiance quickly became a problem.

Many businesses, unwilling to turn away shoppers, wouldn’t bar unmasked customers from their stores. Workers complained that masks were too uncomfortable to wear all day.

Much like now, some people pleaded for compliance. Headlines from Chicago newspapers in 1919 declared, “Open-face sneezers to be arrested.” “Police raid saloons in war on influenza; Keep church windows open.” “’Nonessential’ crowds barred in epidemic war.”

Now we are seeing that some states are charging fines from 50 to 100 dollars and maybe jail time the third time you are caught not wearing a mask.

It gets even weirder the more you read.

Most Americans approve of orders strictly requiring masks be worn in public to halt the spread of the virus, according to poll released Wednesday from Politico/Morning Consult.

A 53 percent majority of all respondents said they would “strongly support” mandatory mask orders that include jail time or fines for people who refuse, with an additional 19 percent supporting the proposal “somewhat.” Only 21 percent opposed or somewhat opposed the mandate.

The poll found that a 59 percent majority of Republicans supported potentially jailing or fining those who refuse masks, with 86 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Independents agreeing. Republicans who opposed the proposal were 35 percent, compared to 33 percent of Independents and only 9 percent of Democrats.

The only group with more people saying they disapproved of the measure than approved were those who said they “strongly approved” of Trump’s job performance, with 48 percent opposing mask orders with jail or fines and 46 percent supporting.

However, a majority of those who approved of Trump were still in favor of the mandate, with 55 of those who said they “approve” of Trump’s performance without “strongly” approving agreeing to the strict mask requirement, along with 67 percent of those who “somewhat” approved of the president.

Many listeners to my show were confused when I decided to run ads for “Boomer Naturals” a mask company that is buying ads on popular radio shows that talk about COVID-19.

I explained that there shouldn’t be any confusion. I knew that the requirements would become more stringent and so I had no problem with advertising masks that have a lining of silver in them to naturally protect the person wearing them.

Now again – I don’t like masks, but that does not mean I am not trying to comply and from what I am reading, it seems that there more people that are willing to jump down people’s throats if you don’t wear one.

Early on mask wearers described those they encountered who do not wear masks as “dismaying, confusing,” or “selfish” these descriptions have now evolved to “hateful, moronic, disgusting,” or “unconscionable.”

Wearing, or its reverse, not wearing, a mask no longer seems to be a medical choice, something to ward off COVID-19 transmission, but it has become more of a social or political statement — a device to indicate “who is with us” and “who is against us.”

Which of course begs the question “why do people have the need to call people out when they don’t wear masks?” I mean of they are not wearing one there has to be a reason – but is it your business to ask?

After all if you are not wearing a mask and the person who is confronting them is –wouldn’t it make sense that the mask they are wearing is protecting them from you?

I mean my not wearing a mask only effects those who are not wearing masks.

It is also confusing as well.

While some states are closing down and requiring people to wear face masks, others are banning local officials from implementing mandatory face mask procedures.

There are also confusing messages that are given in eating establishments. You are supposed to wear a mask until you have to eat and then you have to put that mask back on.

This uses about the same logic as I had when I was 5 when I thought monsters were in my room. Just before bedtime I would check to see if every part of my bed sheet was tucked under the mattress, because for some reason I thought that being sealed in my bed would keep the demons from climbing under the covers and eating me in my sleep.

I worry, that those who do not wear masks will be profiled, which is irony. It is difficult to express how at times it can be self-defeating feeling as though you don’t fit in or that someone now sees you as a troublemaker for not wearing a mask.

I get that feeling all the time when I am mask-less or half-masked.

This defining element of “not fitting in” has become rather irrelevant to its initial purpose, which predicated if you didn’t fit in you could be the source of serious trouble.  I read that there were psychologists who said that if you refuse to a wear a mask you may want to see if you have psychopathic or sociopathic tendencies.

I find this to be overblown, but whatever works to make people who don’t wear masks feel like they are at fault for all of the problems in the world.

We have developed a keen sensitivity to “unsafe” people, and our internal radar often is given the task to identify danger by how people dress, by the way they present their bodies, the way they comb their hair, their lack of hygiene, their mannerisms, even their language and use of it.

People who are shaming are searching for “other, “or a scapegoat compelled by a collective unconscious and archaic need to establish safety and control through the identification of the “unsafe” — the “other.” If you can identify them, then you can project hate and disgust on that individual or group, and thus feel a modicum of control — your immediate environment is a bit safer if you feel you have some control over it.

When applying this idea to the problem of wearing masks, and the identification of “unsafe other” to those who don’t wear masks, don’t mask wearers have a valid point in castigating that nonconforming group? If it is so clear, according to the mainstream narrative, that COVID-19 is spread predominately by people who do not wear masks, why in the world would people choose to not wear a mask, and thus selfishly spread their disease to everyone they come in contact with?

This supposition does not stand up to scrutiny for several reasons; the first and foremost is that not everyone has disease to spread. In order to transmit a disease either with or without a mask you must first have it. This first problem is easily solved by the mainstream narrative’s efforts to make sure we understand that you don’t have to have symptoms to be a carrier of virus (some reports I have read say 45% of all disease is acquired by asymptomatic people, how they came to that conclusion is beyond my logic reasoning, but most people seem to believe this), thus everyone is then a potential carrier.

Regardless of what the mainstream media has to say, there certainly are people who don’t buy into their rhetoric, and quite possibly many non-conforming no-mask-wearers are among these people. Therefore a no-mask-wearer very likely may not be selfish at all. If they don’t believe they have the virus, then not wearing a mask won’t hurt anyone.

 But this question is never asked (why the non-compliant choose not to wear a mask) and thus the non-compliant become identified as “unsafe other” — evil, selfish, moronic, idiotic, (fill in the blank) – oh and don’t forget the “Trump Supporter” crap as if all they think about is that people without a mask have any room in their minds to have Trump camp out there.

The truth is they do and that too is a major problem now that Trump wears the mask – they have one less thing to bitch about. Maybe in some miracle of reversed psychology, Trump haters will stop wearing masks out of spite.

The person unmasked is now a person who doesn’t care about anyone but themselves.

The governor of Oregon even approved a public service announcement that goes as far as to say that non-mask wearers are murderers.

They are creating enemies of the community – just by requiring a mask. Just the thought of this makes me angry and makes me wish they would go away.

It just reminds of me of a lot of things that were required to identify the “other” in history.

Like the Star of David required by Jews to wear during the Nazi regime in Germany, and not a mark to necessarily shame its wearer although certainly it did but clearly an identifier of “other.”

Obviously the color of a person’s skin, or a person’s religion, or sexual orientation is a mark of the “other” to fear. We have been a species of mistrust, and our efforts to identify “other” as having cultural differences, ethnic differences, sexual differences, or even ideological differences, have found a variety of clever devices.

Like Rainbow decals, or elephants and jackasses, they are certainly identifiers that make you a dead giveaway.

I know that many of you might not see it like I do but there have been many times where people have asked me if I think masks are the Mark of the Beast.

In a sense they are like the training wheels of the beast.

The truth is we are seeing the manipulation of a populace to hate an “other” that is fabricated by the state. 

Does this sound familiar?

History has shown us what it can lead to but that is extreme thinking.

Or, so I have been told.

I am not insisting that this projection of the “unsafe other” on to non-mask wearing people is a result of the nefarious agenda of the “powers that be,” although if history is any indication of this possibility we certainly have many examples to support the idea. However, the projection due to “participation mystique” or even “security theater is a collective human trait that really requires no external encouragement, although it is very easy for those in power to manipulate to their benefit. It is human nature and is a common function of the “herd.”

Since it is human nature, it certainly is controllable. We must all strive to be more conscious, more aware of the powers that internally, or externally, propel us into behavior that is not only consciously irrational, but unproductive and ultimately may be quite dangerous.