The stigma of the red MAGA hat has given way to the mask-free face as a way of recognizing conservative citizens. And according to DCist, the last thing left-wing Americans want to confuse is being a person on the right.
DCist’s latest “week overhead” was of two women walking down the street in DC shortly after the release of the new CDC guidelines. The women in their twenties debated the benefits of the guidelines – not for health reasons, but for what people might think if they were to see their unmasked faces.
“I guess I’m vaccinated, so I don̵
We have given the mask a meaning that it has not earned, and that goes far beyond its usefulness.
Despite new CDC guidance saying the vaccinated can spend time without masking, she was worried that her uncovered face would indicate she was subscribing to a political agenda, which she does not. And she is not the only one who sees the face mask as a simple allegiance to an ideology and wears it in part to signal this loyalty.
A woman I met recently told me the same thing that even though she has been fully vaccinated, she still wears a mask in public so people do not think she is a Trump supporter. We talked about the social pressure she felt to wear a mask that she did not want people to look at her and take the wrong assumptions about her policy.
We have been told by the government to follow science, but instead people simply follow the social guidance and bow to pressure. How many others feel the same way?
The president certainly does. Instead of talking about the science of wearing masks, he recently said that masking is “a patriotic duty.” The president has been vaccinated for several months, even those around him have been fully vaccinated. But for him, masking has less to do with science and more to let people know that he is behaving properly and thinking the right things.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid is also fully vaccinated, but she has proclaimed that she is wearing two masks. “I’m among the fully vaccinated, affiliated team Pfizer. I ran in the park today. This was the mask I was wearing with a doctor’s mask underneath,” Reid said, showing off his face mask. She was pleased to report that “most of the people I saw were in the park were full of parks. I would say that 95 percent of the population still wore masks.”
A June survey by the Pew Research Center found that 63 percent of Democrats and those leaning to the left believed that people would wear face masks in public at all times, while only 29 percent of Republicans and right-wing people did.
And NBC Wall Street Journal poll from the same time period, found that “a person’s disguise habits could indicate how they will vote in the 2020 presidential race.” If you were masked, you were more likely to vote for Biden, while the unmasked were more likely to vote for Trump.
Those who do not mask have been equated with Trump supporters and conservatives. Trump supporters and conservatives are defined by the mainstream media simply as bad people, regrettable, racist and so many other unpleasant things.
The nation has been fiercely divided by partisans since the 2016 election season, and this finding shows that there could be a simple way to tell the difference between you and your ideological components. The women who went to DC wanted to make sure their personal choices were not misinterpreted as political fidelity.
This gap has only continued. An NPR report in October read that stand-offs between those who wanted to wear masks and those who did not “… play out on city streets, in suburban grocery stores, in rural bailiff’s offices and in the government’s highest echelons – all the way to “The presidential debate in Cleveland this week. Most of Trump’s contingent refused to wear required masks, and one of them tested positive quickly thereafter. Only time will tell if they spread the infection, but their behavior is reflected across the nation.”
So should you follow science and dispense with masks according to CDC guidance, or should you follow the herd and wear masks so that you appear to be in line with a particular political ideology? The choice may be up to you.