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HIGHER CULTURE: Mask Karens up in the Air

Paul Sakuma

One way to rid ourselves of Dems’ authoritarian Covid mask mandates is appealing to Americans’ common sense — and holding the Left to its own, inane, so-called ‘rules.’

A note before we take off (ahem, yeah, it’s an airport pun). This piece contains politics, unlike much of what usually transpires in “Higher Culture.” If you’d rather avoid delving into that realm, you ought to find something more to your taste linked in the “Recent Links” area at the bottom. Thanks!

Just before Memorial Day weekend this year, an article appeared in these pages that was somewhat prescient — as sometimes happens. RedState published a summer preview which included the fact that Americans were telling pollsters — in higher percentages than before the lockdowns — about their burgeoning desire to get back on the road over the summer. You know, traveling outside their own city or state. And I was not immune to that desire to get away, I’ll admit.

The piece you’re reading, as it turns out, falls on the anniversary of something I wrote while Americans were treading some of the deepest waters in the pandemic — exactly a year ago today.

On July 29, 2020, I shared with readers my experience of interacting with two, different mask Karens, when all I wanted to do was complete a grocery shopping trip in my ‘burb. (see “Opinion: I Just Starred in an Episode of ‘When Mask Karens Attack'”). The result ended up being a blessing from God which allowed me to help out fellow human beings who found themselves in a worse situation than I was.

Back to politics. Over the past few days and weeks, we’ve gotten strong signals from the White House, I mean, Dr. Fauci and the unelected bureaucrats in the CDC, whom this administration takes a knee for constantly, that masking indoors — whether you’re vaccinated or not — will soon be back in force, because of that super-scary, Wuhan coronavirus delta variant.

But, wait a minute! As my colleague Nick Arama wrote on Wednesday, Joe Biden told all Americans back on May 13 they needed to “follow the science” by either masking up or getting jabbed:

“Folks, if you’re fully vaccinated — you no longer need to wear a mask,” Biden said.

And if you won’t take my word for it, take Joe’s — the video, entitled “Vaxed or Masked,” is right there to watch in Nick’s piece.

My hand has been forced, essentially, as an individual who chose to be vaccinated and continues to believe in using common sense while living my life as a free citizen of the United States. Let me tell you what I experienced over the weekend while flying to a summer, weekend getaway destination and back. Then I’ll share what I think we can do about ending the inevitable contradictions and inanities of these mandates, and executive machinations on masks and vaccines, which the Left promises at every turn.

Here’s what happened. At some friends’ urging, I visited the Rocky Mountain state, specifically Denver, this weekend — and my two-day jaunt was 99 percent awesome. I dined on amazing Czech comfort food like zelnacka (sauerkraut and kielbasa soup) and schnitzel (breaded pork), watched an evening of stellar, live synthpop music, and soaked in the milder weather. Of course, it was all while wishing desperately that I’d been born with a larger set of lungs.

Then, to help cool down from the insane humid conditions the Denver area was suffering from after days of rainstorms, there was an amazing yet basic drink one of my friends made for his party guests on Friday night. I mentioned the vodka lemonade concoction to my colleague, “Dipsology” columnist Brad Slager, who confirmed that ice and something that refreshing is sometimes all you need.

But, as I was waiting in the Denver airport for my flight home, two incidents happened.

I must preface this by explaining that you also cannot miss ‘reminders’ about wearing a mask and keeping that 6-foot distance from other people inside Denver International Airport. It’s on the loudspeaker about every five or so minutes; it’s displayed on garish signs everywhere you happen to look; and the social distancing stickers are prominent on the floor.

The first incident involved an employee of a major airline carrier (which I won’t name).

I was sitting near the gate, minding my own business, when the employee approached me and inquired if I had a mask. I typically wear a cloth handkerchief over my face, when I must. Well, that isn’t a ‘mask,’ according to whichever powers that be which make airline employees act like mask Karens. My guess is that it’s because of the TSA.

In a polite way, she brought me an airline-branded medical mask and said I could wait to don it until it was time to board the plane. By the way, my handkerchief was apparently perfectly fine for the trip through the same airport Friday. In any case, the gate employee had the courtesy not to bring it up later when I got my boarding pass (my ticket somehow hadn’t been assigned a seat location).

Now, we’ve already seen one very positive sign on these mask mandates politically: action from congresscritters and other, conservative/libertarian lawmakers working to rid us of the inane, federally imposed mask mandate inside federal buildings, and TSA-watched areas like train stations and airports. There is no law imposing this on anyone, period.

But there’s another way we can combat it: by pointing out to others how counter to reality they are. I’ll be brief.

Make Them Follow the Rules — All of the Rules

Get this.

As we’re standing in line to board the plane back to Phoenix, I tell the people right behind me that we needed to maintain 6′ distance apart. You know, social distancing. No one in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport had done it either, but I wanted to make a point about it. After all, it is plastered everywhere in airports/commuter train stations/buses/grocery stores, etc. It’s touted to help “slow the spread,” right?

One woman behind me responded to my request for the safety measure with a laugh, then pointed out the 900-pound elephant in the room. “But we’re going to be inches apart on the plane.”

Immediately, I turn halfway around but avoid making eye contact. I said in a calm tone, loud enough for the people behind me to hear, “Did I say the rules made sense? The airport is making me wear this mask, so we have to follow all of the rules.” You better believe they kept their distance after that. Distance-shaming works, folks!

Co-deputy managing editor, the often sensible Susie Moore, has this advice for those who lack the basic skill of civility:

This weekend’s “Lower Culture With Becca Lower” podcast special guest, Jon Gabriel, has these wise words, too:

Almost makes me wish I had some of that tasty, vodka lemonade right about now for a toast — to common sense!

Related Links: 
Watch: Losing Coach Models the Epitome of Class After Bucks Win NBA Championship

“Lower Culture With Becca Lower” Podcast, Special Guest: Todd Herman (VIP)