Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott lifted his state’s mask mandate Tuesday, and so did Mississippi Republican Gov. Tate Reeves, putting their states among 16 others that now reject the one-size-fits-all approach to COVID rules ordered by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
“Texas is OPEN 100%,” Abbott proclaimed on Twitter, finally restoring personal health as a personal responsibility one year after lockdowns began to traumatize the nation.
I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%.
I also ended the statewide mask mandate.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) March 2, 2021
The move coincides with a vaccine rollout that by now has given the nation’s most vulnerable populations at least an opportunity for inoculation while tens of millions more Americans enjoy natural immunity from prior infection. One Johns Hopkins University professor projected the United States is on track to reach herd immunity by April, citing plummeting COVID cases. Deaths in nursing homes in particular have sharply declined.
Given the initial justification for the lockdowns was to not overwhelm hospitals, ending the lockdowns is long overdue. Viral mitigation efforts were always supposed to be a private responsibility, incumbent on individuals to assess their own levels of tolerance and risk in a free society.
Outrage ensued, however, when governors began to lift the nanny-state mask mandates to allow their states begin a return to normal.
Make no mistake. Texas and Mississippi opening back up to 100% will disproportionately impact and kill minorities, who comprise much of the essential work force bearing the brunt of this pandemic.
This is criminal, a racist death sentence for so many who could have been spared.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 3, 2021
Governor Abbott actively canceling Texans.
— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) March 2, 2021
— Bradley Whitford (@BradleyWhitford) March 3, 2021
The outrage however, has only proven concerns raised by the mandate’s opponents, who warned prolonged mask requirements set a dark precedent of endless masking and a prohibition on a return to normal.
In the fall I asked “will we be made to wear masks every flu season now?” and a gang of angry trolls went all “stop comparing COVID to the flu, you anti-science Nazi!!!” https://t.co/mgQEo2B6Q1
— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) March 3, 2021
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke was horrified the government stopped forcing people to do something they remain entirely capable of doing on their own.
Beto works in his requisite “death cult” talking point: "It’s hard to escape the conclusion that it’s also a cult of death … You have folks literally upending civilization as we know it." pic.twitter.com/RSXlzZAbzh
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 3, 2021
All COVID restrictions shifted the goalposts of personal health to restrictions on others. A large part of the population now obsessed with living with absolute zero risk has weaponized government to force their neighbors live by their rules cloaked in the moral righteousness of saving lives, with statists revealing their true colors in the process.
No one in Texas or Mississippi, however, is being forced to leave their homes. On the effectiveness of face masks in the first place, there can’t be even a debate. Leftists elites ruling over the digital public square suppressed it.
As the lockdowns come to an end, the power dynamic will only become exacerbated. Politicized face masks will become more a social symbol than an effective tool of viral mitigation. The same people horrified the government allow life return back to normal over demanding face masks forever, even post-vaccination as Fauci orders and Joe Biden obliges, are often the same ones sharing their gender pronouns in their online bios.
While in many ways face masks have already become a social symbol in parts of the country, their status as a prop to display one’s political stripe will intensify as the pandemic ends, similar to the pointless passive progressivism accomplished by sharing gender pronouns on one’s bios and name tags.
Their effectiveness today remains debatable while infections subside. In the very near future, however, their effectiveness will eventually serve no other purpose than to mark one’s political identity with a particular team.