Is it me or did crazy just go up a notch?
I’ve watched videos of people throwing adult sized temper tantrums over wearing a facial mask in stores, some throwing their groceries out of the cart and onto the ground in protest.
I also read an article about a small business owner in Alabama having a customer pull a gun out when he was asked to put on a mask before entering.
It’s small business owners, low paid retail clerks and baristas who now have the role of being the mask police to some very unwilling fellow humans.
Then there’s the endless footage of crowded beaches, pool parties and packed taverns that makes a person wonder if those people have even heard about this pandemic thing.
Like a true Wild West phenomenon, these self-proclaimed freedom fighters seem to be shaking a defiant fist in the air screaming ‘Screw you coronavirus!’
The response to this facial mask rebellion is that America tops the charts for record numbers of infections and deaths and must deal with all the mayhem that goes with it.
This is causing much frustration to people on both sides of this issue but hopefully the conflict will unite everyone toward a common goal to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy.
The COVID-19 kumbaya slogan of ‘We’re all in this together’ has morphed into ‘Wear the damn mask.’
From an energetic perspective what we might be seeing is a knee jerk reaction to the dying out of what many perceive to be the core foundation of this country, which is individual freedom. Indeed, this is true but it’s more of an expansion of the concept of freedom and one that includes everyone.
Individual freedom cannot be held at a higher value than the health and safety of the collective good which requires a cooperative effort and some people don’t like being told what to do.
Since few of us have ever been through a world-wide pandemic, we are being asked to modify our behaviors in ways we’ve never had to do before. Naturally there is going to be some resistance.
The mask has become the symbol, the line in the sand that cannot be crossed for those who are holding fast to that immortalized declaration of freedom, ‘give me liberty or give me death.’ The facial mask requirement is challenging this beloved ideal of personal freedom.
Those who are feeling violated at being told to wear a mask are reacting at a very instinctual and emotional level due to the perceived threat to their sense of what freedom is.
It is the over-valuing of an ideal that creates a crystallization and distortion in one’s thinking. If one's views on freedom are too rigid, there is a lack of mental flexibility that would allow that perspective to be expanded or altered. In turn, this creates an inner conflict that leads to strong emotions, compelling the person to take action to protect their system of values from the threat.
It’s the unwillingness to consider a different perspective that blinds people to rational facts and allows for conspiracy rationalizations such as the virus is just a hoax, or it’s overblown, or it’s a ploy by a political party, or an attack on freedom. Anything that will support the main objective is fair game, everything else is categorically denied.
Our country’s leaders are also struggling with the mask debate for the same reasons, but there are signs that the anti-maskers on capitol hill are also coming around to the science of wearing a mask to slow the infection rates.
During his newly resurrected daily briefings on coronavirus, President Trump announced that he supports the advice for people to use a facial mask. He then made the admission that the virus situation is going to get worse before it gets better and finally, he cancelled the Republican National Convention because it wasn’t safe for people.
We are seeing a very different narrative not only from the President but also from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others who’ve recently had a change of heart on the matter of the mask.
Perhaps this could be a sign that our country’s over-idolization of the idea of freedom is finally softening and gaining a more diverse version of freedom that is more inclusive of the collective whole and not a fierce battle for individuality.
If you think about it, wearing a facial mask is our ticket to freedom in a pandemic.
With it, I can go about my day and take care of everything that I need to get done. I can have a sense of normalcy and still protect myself and those I love.
Nobody likes wearing a mask. It’s hot and hard to breathe but if everyone wears one, we will all have more freedom.