The Mask Divided

It is an odd sensation that courses through my body as I glance out the window where I work. Passersby wear masks. Masks made of cloth. Medical masks. Masks contrived from bandanas. The feeling is surreal. I am walking through a dream in a near dystopian novel or movie, not real life. Not the reality it has become. Masks are utilitarian. Masks are compassionate. They can be used as a new form of fashion statement to loosen the blow of their true function. Protection. Protection from a deadly virus which swims beneath the surface, invisible, its shark’s fin appearing in the most unlikely bodies. No one is immune. No one is safe. The virus is a bolt of lightning randomly striking.

These thoughts run through my head as I turn my attention to the flowers in the cooler. I am a floral designer. Business is slow. It takes time to reopen. We are at the mercy of those waiting to return to work. We are in an office building. I choose pink peonies as I breathe into my own mask. I am unable to smell them. Today I wear the gnomes. My mom has been busy. Using her creativity to make the best of an impossible situation. Our shop is inside the lobby of a high rise building in downtown Boston. The Au Bon Pain is closed. The Patriot News convenient store is closed. I wave at a security officer as I make my way to the work bench. No one is allowed in the building without a mask. It is inconvenient, yet minor. I cannot help but ponder on those who say stores have no right to require masks in order to enter.

It is the unthinking selfishness of those who refuse to wear a mask which endanger us the most. Crying out their rights are violated. Pence claiming in a press conference that it is a constitutional right to hold a rally in one of the worst hit cities, making masks optional. The campaign going so far as removing the “do not sit here” stickers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It is as if they want people to get sick. I truly do not understand the mindset. How can I help change it if I cannot put myself in their frame of mind?

Example?

Perhaps.

Their brains are unfathomably wired. A hope that they may be shamed into wearing a mask seems futile. Will it take something more extreme? The loss of a loved one because care was not taken. Wearing a mask can be uncomfortable. Out of the norm. People’s sensibilities stirred in a new way. It is like brushing my teeth with the left hand instead of the right. It is awkward but can be done. I feel those things. I miss the fresh air as I walk down the street, but if someone is nearby, I must think beyond my desires.

As those who argue their rights are violated, they are infringing on the right to life of those who are vulnerable. Even those who are seemingly not. It is unknown who carries the virus when they are asymptomatic just as it is unknown if we will get into a car accident. For safety we wear a seatbelt. For safety it is law. Sadly, I have known those to refuse to do even that. Their rights and all. It is not about rights. It is about courtesy, sympathy, empathy. There is no infringement on constitutional rights. It is as simple as not touching a hot pot on a stove or carrying scissors correctly as you walk. It is for your safety and mine. We are all in this together. I know this saying has become a cliché, but it is truth. It takes all of us to do what is necessary. Wearing a mask is not too much to ask.

This brings me to the idea of the stay at home orders and the closing of the economy. Sick people cannot work. Dead people cannot shop. It is that simple. We are a privileged society in the worst way. Discommendation is being forced to live in an attic for two years not allowed to speak or use the restroom during the day. No sunlight. Only those around you for company. Dependent on the goodwill of those risking their own lives so you do not starve. This is nothing compared to what Anne Frank and so many during World War II had to endure.

By Unknown photographer; Collectie Anne Frank Stichting Amsterdam – Website Anne Frank Stichting, Amsterdam, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=64781454

My mind is free to roam when there is no one to talk to. The phone hardly rings. One or two orders come through. I am angered at those who can only think of themselves. They are the same ones who wish to deny affordable healthcare to others. To themselves. All in the name of not paying for someone else’s insurance. They are the ones who protest with their guns, in state houses, not removed or punished because they have the “right to work.” I find this ironic to the reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality which is legitimate. The right to life. The right to equality.

The right to work in a pandemic where one person could inadvertently kill many is not something to protest about.

The irony is they are the pro-lifers.

A right to be born.

No right to survive after birth.

Death to everyone but unborn babies.

Does this seem a bit of a skewed viewpoint?

Honestly, I feel it goes deeper than that. The core is control. Most of the right to work, pro-life protesters are white evangelicals. Screaming “God is love.” Is he love when they are his apostles?  Impression is everything. They have not gotten over the loss of the Civil War. The gaining of rights by blacks during civil rights.The right to vote for women during Women’s suffrage. The right to live equally. The right to love who we want. These “protesters” know they are the minority, yet they hold the decision-making posts. Due to an outdated electoral college system created to pacify the former slave holding states of the south. They are frightened of losing power. Of becoming the marginalized. Equality is death to superiority. They are frozen with the fear that everyone’s rights will become equal to theirs. They relish in looming over others, disregarding anyone they have decided are less than.

The country, the world has stood up. This must change. They are scared shitless.

Good. I say.

It is time.

Time that their racist, bigot voices are crushed.

What does this have to do with the Mask Divide?

Everything.

The Mask Divide is symbolism. It is the line drawn in the sand. It is the border that is fighting the blurred reality of dominance. It is harder to disguise the truth of what is inside because the truth of what lies in their heart is now exposed. The mask has become the Band-aid that no longer sticks. Most who refuse to wear a mask are those useless, empty protestors. Deplorables. They are narcissists in the name of Jesus. They cannot hide the innards of their souls any longer.

Nor do they care to. Trump has thrown that door wide open. It is they who have drawn the line. It is they who have encouraged police brutality. Hidden it. Voted to tip the scales of justice in their minoritized favor. They are not America, but they are who represents America with a buffoon at its head.

I admit I am ashamed to call myself an American. I cringe at the sight of our flag or the idea of the pledge of allegiance. It represents division in my eyes, not unity. It represents oppression. Those voted to represent us are tied by bureaucracy. It amazes me how one man in the Senate can stall every bill that will help the people. Those who are a country.

Mitch McConnell does not deserve to be compared to a turtle. He is a hateful, vile man. He is the one who drew the line with Trump, Pence and the rest of the republicans all blinded by the character of wealth the lobbyers use to string them along.

All refusing to don a mask.

Photo Source: Etsy/PA

The symbol of their perceived superiority. All in the name of protecting unborn babies. Or so they claim.

All in the name to control the masses so they can stroke their lofty egos and get rich off the people’s backs. This is no democracy. It is an oligarchy. A desire for a dictatorship with a puppet at the head. The one who pulls the strings across the seas.

I pack up the arrangement I have just made. It is pretty. Someone’s day will be made brighter. I set it on the cart catching a glimpse of myself in the window. I wear a divider on my face. A piece of cloth should only be a protector but has become so much more. I am on the side of the people. I am the people.

We are The Masked Divided.

4 thoughts on “The Mask Divided

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  1. A well written blog as usual Jennifir, although from reading it ,I got the impression that only Black lives matter. Shouldn’t all lives matter? Do you think that trying to erase the past by tearing down statues and flags is the way to go? Now they’re taking down the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Boston, at a cost of $15000 to the taxpayer,of which i happen to be one. Is that what my husband and so may others went out and fought in combat for? to see all this violent destruction, looting and hatred of of all that America represents! Anarchy is never a solution to anything much less Black lives. It’s coming to the .situation where civil war is eminent in the not too distant future. it s really sad. Sometimes I feel that we as white people have to be so damn careful and politically correct that we’re are afraid to open our mouths.i wonder how they are going to teach History any more. Are they going to leave out great chunks of the past and pretend it never happened? And debunking the police,!who needs the police more than poor black people living in the sprawling urban communities such as Chicago ,where black people are killing each other every day of the year, and they say nothing about it ,because it’s their own who are involved in killing them. Those are the facts of the matter. i’m sickened to see what is happening on T V and listening to it as if nobody else mattered except Black people. Wouldn’t it be more fair and representative to have a slogan that says All Lives matter.

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  2. I should also add that i’m very disappointed at Mayor Walsh’s decision to take down the statue of the GREAT Abraham Lincoln in Boston. He ought to know better.it’s a damn shame. President Lincoln freed the slaves, and is that how the black people thank him???? it leaves a lot to be desired. So much for the old saying Eaten bread is soon forgotten. it sure is.

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  3. Julia

    You misunderstand the meaning of black lives matter. They are oppressed and are the main targets of police brutality. It is the standing behind a group that has been marginalized. Many white people like myself who have no idea what it is like to walk down the street or go for a jog with the fear of becoming a target. Of course all life is important but it is imperative that we protect the lives that are more in danger due to the color of their skin or country of origin.

    It is a difficult, tumultuous time we live in but the pains are necessary in order to grow. Black Lives Matter isn’t a movement claiming that theirs are the only ones that matter, but they are the lives that need help and equality the most at this point in history. Just as in the days people of all nationalities risked their lives to rescue and fight for the Jews, Polish and LGBT’s during World War II. They need their voices heard and their lives protected.

    I have not weighed in on the subject of statues. I am not completely sure where I stand on it. There are many statues that absolutely must go such as confederate generals because they were traitors. I am not sure of the story of the statue of Abraham Lincoln in Boston so I am unable to comment. I did see there is an Abraham Lincoln statue going down because it has a black freed slave crouching at his feet as if in submission so I understand why that one must come down.

    I do not believe they will stop teaching all the history, but they will include history that has been purposely left out. History is biasedly written. I grew up in the South where history was written and taught by those in the South with a biased view that the South was wronged. All history must be taught. I would not known that a black woman, a mathematician, Katherine Johnson, helped launch the first US crewed spaceflights if a movie hadn’t been made about it.

    Black Lives Matter because their lives have been forgotten for years.

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  4. Is that the way to get respect by tearing down statues and flags, breaking expensive shop window,rioting and looting etc?. I understand that the lives of the oppressed matter,of course they do. Abraham Lincoln fought for slavery and was the FIRST President to initiate the freedom of the Black slave. It’s an utter disgrace and I never thought I’d live to see the day when a fellow Irish Mayor would go along with it, to suit the political climate of the day. How would they like to see the statue of Martin Luther King pulled down and red paint spilled all over it?. That’s not right destroying works of art and sculpture like that. I have a member of my family. a Sculptur,. Do you know how long it takes to create a piece of art? Its soul destroying to see what they are doing around the country.It sickens me to the depths of my soul and being.,to see this crazy behaviour night after night on TV. I’m a pacifist. I like peace. I also respect law and order. I believe in doing the right thing. I understood what you wrote about perfectly well,but I ask you Jennifir- is rioting ,looting ,breaking the property belonging to innocent people the answer to right a grievance? Is that the way to achieve it? I don’t think so. However, as you and i are friends let us agree to differ and respect each others opinion. As you are also an artist, I’m sure you will at least appreciate the aesthetic value attached to those fine works of art..Charity begins at home.

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