The Wenatchee World afforded me the privilege of appearing in their publication with an essay last month entitled, “Mask or Muzzle?”. In response to that article one critic described me as a “Covidiot”, suggesting that while civil discourse may not be dead, it isn’t in perfect health.
I should have been wearing a helmet as responses elicited by the article came in the form of rhetorical bricks hurled at my misshapen head, at least that was one quibbler’s opinion.
That essay argued that non-COVID-19 infected healthy people wearing surgical masks is a form of political oppression. Masks should not be used by people who are not asymptomatic carriers of the illness. When healthy people do wear masks they suffer a level of governmental coercion that stifles dissent and infringes on constitutional freedoms.
Some of you are now wondering why it took me so great a volume of words to say the same thing last week.
The essay was disseminated on The World’s digital platforms, including Facebook. On this virtual battlefield keyboard killers plunged literary knives into my fragile ego.
Here are some insightful Facebook posts shared by those opposed to my perspective.
“You gotta be kidding me! What a winey baby! I wonder if he knows our country used to ask citizens to fight in wars for their country? But yeah asking folks to wear a mask is really asking a lot….” — OK, you got me, I am a “winey baby”. What does fighting in wars have to do with wearing a mask?
“Good lord. I bet his panties were twisted when he had to start wearing a seat belt. Wearing a mask is about protecting your neighbor. You would know that if you weren’t trying to be incendiary.” — I have an exclusive and long-standing preference for male undergarments and no opposition to wearing a seat belt. I plead the Fifth on the “incendiary” charge.
“Why do you promote and print this sh## Wenatchee World?” — You will have to speak with the Editorial staff of the Wenatchee World on this matter, but I was as surprised as you.
“Most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read…….” — Can’t answer this one, as I don’t know what you’ve read.
“His head looks flat, like the earth!” — I’ll be honest, I no longer have the flat-top hairstyle. Today I have less hair and an even a lesser sense of style.
“Piccirillo just confirms there is no cure for stupid.” — Can’t argue with this one. Some other illnesses for which no cure exists include, cancer and AIDS. Neither requires similar restrictions.
“Bet he doesn’t think the same about women and their healthcare choices.” — Huh?
On the positive side the essay received an overwhelmingly positive emoji response. Users posted 89 thumbs-up icons, 35 smiling faces, 6 heart images, and 3 surprise face pictographs, totaling 133 endorsements. By contrast 33 readers responded with negative emojis.
I may be misinterpreting two of the emojis I perceived as supportive. The smiling/laughing images may be expressing how ridiculous they consider my viewpoint and the surprised face icon may signify shock at publishing such drivel. Until a canvassing board can decide otherwise, I am counting them in my favor.
Rational criticisms were offered by thoughtful people whose opinion differs from mine. I support their right to free speech, even if I disagree. I will defend their freedom to do so as I do my own.
I hope we can always exchange ideas in a thoughtful and civil manner, but next time I’m wearing a helmet.
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