"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Unmasking the Hostility to Masks

The respected education law professor, Derek Black, tweeted yesterday, "I can’t fathom how any rational person could find masks offensive enough to act violently toward schools." I find myself in complete agreement with Professor Black. The problem is that the violence by mask refusers is as far from rationality as any person, rational or otherwise, might ever imagine.  

I am talking about what I find when looking underneath all the "rational" explanations of anti-mask madness.  They range from a desire to "own the libs," to a desire to bring down Biden poll numbers by keeping the pandemic alive, to a belief among white supremacists in superior genetic protections against disease, to all the other "rational" reasons cataloged in a pretty good recent article in The Atlantic about the mask resistor's close relative, the vaccine resistor.  

There is something credible about all these rational explanations, but they all fall short when taking measure of the violent madness of the enraged spittle spouters at the local school board meeting threatening death to anyone trying to protect his child from a deathly disease, or the purple-faced frothing airline assailants who totally lose their shit when gently reminded to put on their masks before they put on their seatbelts, which they knew were required when they bought their tickets and when they boarded the plane. [Sidebar rhetorical question: Were these "free my face" fanatics ever resistant to the seatbelt rule on airlines or the child restraint requirements in cars??]

The world's most unconsciously transparent and malignantly-narcissistic combo of psychopath/sociopath is the key to uncovering the pathology of mask resistance, which I exists almost exclusively among the stubborn dregs of the T---- Cult. 

Now I am not a psychologist, but it doesn't take one to see at any of the political wrestlemania rallies the poisonous narcotic that T---- injects into the crowds who have stood in line all day with sleeves rolled up and arms extended for their fix.  

Over the past decade, T---- has emboldened, enabled, allowed, and cajoled his throngs, pushing them to rip away the social masks previously imposed on racists and racist institutions between 1954 and 2016--that period from Brown v. Board to the election of the only U. S. President in history be referred to openly by his own Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, as a "fucking moron." 

Leading by example, T----- has urged his confederates to remove their hoods, rip off their masks, and, essentially, malign, disparage, and disregard all the court decisions, civil rights statutes, human rights laws, social justice prerogatives, and ethical boundaries that bind together civil, democratic societies. 

Remember when T---- returned to the White House from his bout with Covid, juiced up on Regeneron and steroids?  The first thing he did was huff and puff his way to the second floor balcony, rip away his mask, and assume the best Mussolini pose he could muster.  Having been empowered by him to let their racism run wild, the balcony show was the expression of a metaphor that every one of his followers understood at a pre-conscious level. He was back, and he would not be muzzled by anything, even the threat of death.  They should follow suit and, of course, they did. They are.

So what will it take to mask or remask, as the case may be, racist fatalism of the MAGA cult members who T---- has liberated from the confines of common decency and democratic values?  I certainly can't say, but I do believe it will take more than just rational arguments or humane entreaties from people whose blind respect for everyone includes even those who respect no one.  Not even themselves.

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