Stacey Abrams and the Scourge of the Willfully Ignorant

AP Photo/Steve Helber

The images have been raging across the internet. Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, sitting in an elementary classroom, surrounded by masked, sullen looking students, grinning wide…maskless.

Abrams’ campaign pushed back on the criticism with a post that will most definitely be a contender for the “Unsurprising and Predictable” Hall of Fame. This was an unfair political attack launched, conveniently, during Black History Month. For shame!

It is shameful that our opponents are using a Black History Month reading event for Georgia children as the impetus for a false political attack, and it is pitiful and predictable that our opponents continue to look for opportunities to distract from their failed records when it comes to protecting public health during the pandemic.

One of Stacey’s opponents downplayed the virus while trading stock to profit off the pandemic after his private coronavirus briefings as a Senator.

Another of her opponents attacked mayors seeking to protect their citizens and has failed to expand access to Medicaid even as rural hospitals close.

This pathetic, transparent and silly attack is beneath anyone who claims he wants to lead Georgia.

The campaign also explained that Abrams removed her mask so she could be heard clearly by students watching online, and she only did so after requesting that students in the room leave their masks on. She wasn’t trying to be harmful, seems to be the suggestion. She was only trying to be heard and if everyone else was masked, no big deal. It was only for a short time.

Of course, this reasoning takes a huge heaping of willful ignorance to swallow whole. Abrams’ defenders want the rest of us to believe that her intentions were honorable, and we’re just making a mountain out of a molehill. In order for that to be true, we’d first have to all agree upon what “no big deal” refers to.

Is COVID “no big deal?” For the last two years we have been tortured by constant lectures from the left that mask mandates are necessary because even a single unmasked person could put everyone around them at risk. A single unvaccinated person could put all those vaccinated people around them at risk because SCIENCE™ or something. To see Abrams without a mask, even for just a few moments, should make everyone wonder if she’s really scared of COVID at all. Put your mask under your nose on an airplane and you risk a visit from the FBI. Take it off in a classroom full of low-risk vulnerable children so you can campaign for governor and you’ll be applauded. It’s not about Abrams or anyone else being “at risk” from her maskless face. It’s about the notion that either COVID is so dangerous everyone needs to wear a mask, or COVID isn’t really that dangerous if we can pick and choose the people who have to wear masks at all times and those who don’t.

That is the perfect logic about which the left must endeavor to remain perfectly, willfully ignorant.

Perhaps it’s “no big deal” that the children had to wear masks despite the “authority figure” in the room not wearing one. Perhaps “do as I say, not as I do” is a curriculum highlight. Kids are resilient, yada yada yada. But Abrams removed her mask – apparently to great personal risk of death – so she could be heard more clearly. That is the day-in-day-out experience of the children in that classroom and in mandate states across the nation. Imagine the torture of being a young child, learning sounds and phonics, learning to express your needs in a classroom, and not being able to discern half of what’s being communicated because you’re trapped in a mask for your entire school day. Abrams couldn’t even bear to be misunderstood for 20 minutes.

Or perhaps masks are just no big deal, and if you can remove one to speak to a crowd and put it back on when you’re finished speaking, maybe the mask is just pointless altogether. Maybe what we’re all supposed to do is just accept that masks are a character trait, not a health necessity.

There is no good argument that Abrams’ camp and supporters can make for her stupid photo op. It stinks, any which way you cut it. So they have to make it about racism, or dirty politics or #RepublicansPounce, because to apply any logic or careful thought to the situation is to be forced to admit that all of this is just a big game, and we’re the ones getting played.