Masks should be worn in public, not be a political debate

Dylan Baumgardner, Online Editor

Mask-wearing has become another topic on which the American people are divided, becoming yet another indicator–it seems–on who an American will be supporting in the upcoming 2020 presidential election. It is not okay that when I see someone in a public setting not wearing a mask, I immediately assume they are a ‘Trump supporter’, because mask-wearing should not be related to politics in the first place. United States government officials like President Donald Trump are not helping this fact, making it a political debate when masks never were in the first place. Mask-wearing is important in helping slow the spread of COVID-19, and a divided nation is not going to get that done. 

“‘It’s really a perfectly good public health intervention that’s not used,’ argues KK Cheng, a public health expert at the University of Birmingham. ‘It’s not to protect yourself. It’s to protect people against the droplets coming out of your respiratory tract,’” wrote Kelly Servick on While wearing masks may not do anything for the wearer specifically, one is still protecting others from themselves. If most people wore a mask, more people would be safe from each other, for the most part. Mask-wearing will not eliminate coronavirus cases, but it should bring them down to a minimum. If most Americans continue to not wear masks, cases will likely continue to rise and more people will die from the coronavirus.

“When asked by Fox News’ Chris Wallace whether he would consider instituting a mandate, [President Donald] Trump responded, ‘No, I want people to have a certain freedom, and I don’t believe in that, no,’” wrote Nicky Robertson from CNN. When I see someone not wearing a mask in public, I see ignorance, not freedom. The United States government is not setting a great example for the public, one of them being President Donald Trump. He has been seen at rallies, the Republican National Convention, and recently, Louisiana after Hurricane Laura, not wearing a mask. In Trump doing so, that is influencing people, especially his supporters, to do the same. Making masks not seem important is the biggest issue with the U.S. government as of right now.

With the pandemic, it is important for even staff and students to be wearing masks and social distancing in Tallmadge High School. THS has been implementing new regulations on mask-wearing and social distancing for the safety of their students and staff. I think THS has done a great job of keeping students as safe as possible. Hallways are given specific directions for students to get to classes, staff are enforcing mask-wearing and social distancing and are keeping as few students as possible in the building at all times. Keeping everyone in the school safe is the main priority, and it has surely made me feel better in the building for the most part. As long as THS continues to keep up with the regulations, the school will set an example for other schools in the state. 

“‘I’ll social distance from you if you want, but I don’t want the government telling me I have to wear a mask,’” said Max Parsell from an article written by Lori Rozsa, Chelsea Janes, Rachel Weiner and Joel Achenbach from the Washington Post. No one likes being told what to do, but it is not the government that is the problem. The point to wearing a mask and social distancing is being cautious for and of others, protecting others around oneself and adhering to advice from medical providers. Wearing masks should have never been about politics; it is about being a good neighbor and being courteous to others for the sake of their health.

The first step in getting everyone involved in wearing a mask is to make them aware that the coronavirus is a reality and the American people are hurting from this pandemic, health-wise and financially. This is not a time to be lazy about helping prevent others from contracting COVID-19 and potentially dying. Children, immunocompromised and elderly need everyone’s help to be assured of their safety. It all starts with wearing a mask and social distancing as much as possible. Masks help; they are not detrimental.