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Davis, California

Monday, June 24, 2024

Wear a mask: the dangers of politicizing healthcare and safety are taking lives

Masks protect the health of you and those around you

The current political climate of our country has been one of the many contributing factors of this ongoing pandemic. Despite the obvious health benefits of wearing a mask, many have opted out of this precaution as a tribute to their political party. By not wearing a mask these individuals are taking a political stance––or so they think. In reality, they are harming their health and the health of those around them. 

Although many have tried, no one can deny that COVID-19 is a serious matter. Millions of people are getting sick, and sadly, hundreds of thousands of people are dying. Mandating masks is our state’s best attempt to collectively prevent the spread of the virus. The onset of COVID-19 has disrupted the normal lives we used to live: attending sports games, throwing parties, eating out, etc. Masks, however, help restore some normalcy as we are able to engage in some of our regular activities once again. Without masks, we’d be right where we started, isolated in our houses for weeks on end––something no one wants to experience again. 

The power masks hold should not be allocated to a political stance. There are many other ways to state your political views. There aren’t, however, as many ways to protect yourself from this virus. Wearing a mask is simple and is something we can all do (unless you have a medical condition that says otherwise). It may not be comfortable, but for the sake of our health and the health of others, it’s worth the trouble. 

Rather than a political stance, wearing a mask should be viewed as an act of kindness––something our world needs more of. Walking around with a mask shows that you care about those around you. Additionally, it demonstrates that you recognize the unprecedented times we are in and that you are committed to being a part of the solution. 

The dangers of politicizing healthcare and safety are becoming increasingly evident. There is a correlation between increases in cases and states and counties that don’t enforce masks or encourage it. The states and counties that are adamantly against masks are often governed by those who identify with the same political party as our president––Republican. When the leader of our country won’t participate in an important health mandate, many of his supporters won’t feel obligated to do so either.  

Although being an individualist country has many perks, our current individualistic habits are failing us. The freedom and autonomy we have in our daily lives is hard to find elsewhere, making me grateful to live in the U.S. But, when our individualistic tendencies allow us to go against the grain without any true repercussions, it prevents us from coming to a consensus on a course of action to stop a roaring pandemic. 

Today, if you looked into a crowd of people, it would be easy to spot who is a liberal and who is a conservative. There are many issues that the people of this country are divided on but a threat to our health shouldn’t be one. American people are dying. That is all we should care about at this point in time, not what our mask says about the political party to which we belong. 

Although I discussed politics in depth throughout this article, it is not meant to be politically charged or spark a debate. Instead, I encourage the exact opposite. Eliminate the politics that are involved in this pandemic and focus on the science. Find a mask that matches you and wear it proudly, because it says you care about your well-being and that of others. And if you still insist on taking a political stance, then find a mask that does just that. At least in this case you achieve your purpose in a much healthier and safer way. 

Written by: Kacey Cain –– klcain@ucdavis.edu 
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual columnists belong to the columnists alone and do not necessarily indicate the views and opinions held by The California Aggie.


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