This morning, before beginning my work day, I logged on to Twitter to check the feed. I know – I know – I probably shouldn’t log on in the morning for it could ruin my whole day, but I am just addicted to information and I needed my fix. As I scrolled through my feed, I noticed a few people I follow retweeting a video with a woman calling 911 because an employee at a boutique pet shoppe was not allowing her entry without a mask. She told the 911 operator that “yeah – as per the 1964 Civil Rights Act – I cannot be discriminated against – I have a right to breathe O2, not CO2, and I’m being discriminated against right now”.
Okay – so let’s deconstruct this.
First – this woman called 911 – the emergency line – for people who have actual emergencies. She took up the time of this operator while another person who is suffering from a life threatening medical condition or a fire or any number of other issues was waiting for assistance with an actual emergency.
Second – White people are not the demographic for the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The rights of White people have never been restricted in America and citing this Act as your reason for calling 911 is bullshit.
Third – “I have a right to breathe O2, not CO2” gives her away as a conspiracy theorist. Why do people believe this garbage?
Fourth and MOST IMPORTANTLY the worker at the store, along with everyone else who needs to buy groceries or pick up medicine at the pharmacy actually DO have the right to be protected from a communicable disease that is highly contagious. If we wear masks, we won’t spread it. FULL STOP. So why do some people think they are better than the rest of us? Why do they think that their rights are more important than the rights of the rest of the humans on the planet who just want to get through a day without getting sick.
It is my right to not contract a preventable disease. It is my right to not die from a cause that could have been resolved by a simple face covering on the part of ALL humans. It is my right to not have long term effects from a virus that I didn’t need to contract in the first place, but if I survive I will be dealing with for months and years to come. It is my right to walk freely in America without having conspiracy theorists decide that their rights override the rest of humanity. These are the real rights of humans in America.
So – if you are someone that believes that wearing a mask forces you to breathe in CO2, please, just stay home. If you refuse to wear a mask in public, ask someone else to pick up your groceries or medications or, in the case of this lady above, dog food. Please – at least have the decency to stay away from others as you practice your maskless existence. Stop putting frontline workers and other shoppers at risk. Take risks for yourself, but don’t impose those risks on me. Being safe in public spaces is actually the real right that is at risk and maskless shoppers are restricting the rights of the rest of us to exist in public.
And for those readers that get to the end of this piece and think – “wow – she is an angry bitch” – that’s cool. I’m fine with that moniker. I used to read tweets or watch the news and then go ‘calm down’ by playing a video game or listening to music or watching a youtube video, but those days are over. And for this I must give a shout out to Rebecca Traister. I started reading “Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger” over the weekend and I am not going to hide my agitation any longer.
I have been angry for the better part of my life. Not for myself, as a White woman with privilege, but for the injustice of this country and this world. The anger continues to bubble up in me, making me see the world through a lens of agitation. But I’m good with it. Anger fuels movements. So I will continue to be angry and I won’t sugar coat my feelings. Not here and not IRL.
Having said that – let’s get angry together, starting with the voting booth and continuing on, after the elections are decided. We need to use the anger we feel over injustice to fuel the movement that will hold our leaders accountable and make real, lasting change for the majority. Let’s put this anger to good use by showing the minority (yes – those White, cis-het, affluent, dudes) that the rest of us give a shit about this world and we don’t want to continue to see injustice be the norm. We can channel the energy of anger into something good. Female leaders have been doing this for decades – let’s support them and ourselves by fighting for the greater good. Anger without action turns to apathy. It is time to RAGE on!