A response to Rep. VanSingel
By Kathy Morrison
You say, Representative VanSingel, that you are furious about the governor’s extension of closures.
I am furious that your party fought her tooth and nail early on in the pandemic, prompting the “us versus them”, “mask versus non-mask”, “science versus fantasy” climate that has worsened the spread.
I hear over and over that your party leadership does not feel a mask mandate is needed, but instead, people will make the personal choice to do the right thing and wear one. I’ve heard Republican arguments that public messaging will be effective enough. Everyone has seen the news, read the case accounts, driven past rallies, and watched social media footage of hundreds, sometimes thousands, gathering closely together, unmasked. What would make anyone think that those who have already very flagrantly flaunted mask wearing, will suddenly decide to follow public messages over what they see as a Democrat party plot. These are the constituents that voted you into office. They have very verbally and in action, proven they won’t follow the lead of the Democrat leadership, so there appears to be only one option: an effort to make them wear masks via a strong and forceful Republican led pro-mask movement.
This leadership needs to come from the GOP. Not in a few weeks or a few months. Left, right, Democrat, Republican, we all need it - now. Talking, waiting to convince, hoping for change and conformity will only cost lives and prolong our full economic recovery, which is only going to happen when we can all safely reopen.
Representative VanSingel, you are in a unique position, given your recent recovery from Covid and newfound realization that masks are indeed critical. Your attempts at convincing your peers of the importance of masks are admirable. Your desire for public messaging is too. I can’t think of a better person to present televised public service announcements than an elected Republican leader who knows it is real, dangerous and nothing to mess with.
By all means, please do continue urging your Republican peers of the importance of mask wearing and the realities of Covid, but these steps are not sufficient in a situation that can’t wait days, weeks, or months for results. We may disagree on the format of how and where closures/county mandates should be organized and implemented but we definitely agree on the efficacy of masks. They are, as you said, perhaps the single most effective way we can prevent the spread of this virus. Slowing the spread means safe reopening, while allowing the spread to continue means prolonging closures and perhaps having to return to lockdown.
Please be the extraordinary leader we need now, despite what your party leadership is saying, and sponsor an enforceable mask mandate immediately. It may mean the difference between health and illness, between life and death.
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.