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What the Devil won't tell you

Unmasked: The false freedom of the North American Two-Nostriled MAGA

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Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.com

There was this guy.

It was a summer day a few years back when Applebee’s was still open on East Grant Road. This guy was doing the Porky Pig – walking around naked but for the button-down shirt. He decided the lunch crowd in the window of the corporate eatery needed serenading. So he did it as the Good Lord made him.

The cops came and arrested him. By the time they got there he was lying in the bushes below the windows of Applebee’s but that’s not why the cops were called.

He was buck naked and therefore offended the humble diners being sung to through the window. They shouldn’t have to look at a man’s penis while wolfing down appetizers slathered in ranch dressing while on their lunch breaks.

En español: Desenmascarado: La libertad ilusorio del MAGA Norteamericano con dos fosas nasales

Technically, public nudity is a sex offense. So he’ll have to register for the rest of his life. He made people blush. He was sexually indecent though I’m not sure sexuality had anything to do with it. My guess: probably narcotically-assisted bad judgment was at play. But nonetheless: Sex offender.

Some in this world only equate nudity with sexual indecency, of the kind that good and moral people should not be expected to tolerate. It’s embarrassing. It offends especially the kind of people who now vote Republican.

The same people who fight a war on yoga pants and think teenagers should be shamed for accidentally showing a bra strap are suddenly declaring exposed nostrils are a God-given right. Apparently "decency" doesn't extend to saving lives; only to puritanical sensibilities.

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If we called it facial nudity, would they mask up?

I’m not going to go into the Right’s proclivity to turn the human body into a monument to sexual shame. For a lot of us, maybe it should be – whatever. 

Now say you have a deadly disease but aren’t showing symptoms and you spread it to someone and they wind up fighting for their life on a ventilator. Suppose you widow their spouse and orphan their kids because you won’t wear an extra piece of clothing across your face during a pandemic.

And now the exercise of this freedom has given Tucson a curfew, starting Friday at 10 p.m., because I guess it's too much to ask people not to be indifferent to murdering one another in the face of "doing what I want."

Friday afternoon, Pima County (finally) put some teeth in its mask mandate.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force has basically recommended that everyone 65 or older just stay the hell at home, and that anyone under 40 who spent Thanksgiving with people outside their household consider themselves infected, isolate, and get a test right away.

Coronavirus in Arizona is back up to summer levels with about 4,000 new cases per day being reported. Pima County's numbers aren't horrific. Yet. The Tucson area's death rate per 100,000 is relatively low, compared to the rest of the state and about half of what they are in Santa Cruz and Mohave counties. But Friday alone, there were 816 new people in our county reported to be infected with the virus that has so far killed 722 of our neighbors.

If we don't keep things under control, hundreds — even thousands — more may die here over the next few months.

So Mayor Regina Romero is being responsible in the face of irresponsibility. The county Supes are banging the gavel on childish behavior.

Too many consider it a bizarre birthright of the free. Wave the flag. Flash your gun. Expose your nose. Basically, envenomate whomever you want. Trump! Trump! Trump!

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Got a light? One for the road ...

Freedom has oddly been defined by about 40 percent of the country as "irresponsible success." Just make money. Do what you want. Everyone else and civilization itself can suck on it.

Perhaps you wouldn’t mind if I walk into the restaurant next to you and light up a cigarette.

There is no way you can tell me that particular cigarette and the second-hand smoke I blow directly into your face is going to kill you on the spot. Isn’t that my right as a free person in a free country not just to smoke but to breathe it into your face?

What? You might cough? Freaking snowflake.

Thousands of people drive drunk every week without killing anybody. So why is it a crime? Hey, you take the risk when you drive that you might get T-boned by some lawyer who just finished off their 13th shot of Cuervo.

What are the odds at any time you get in your car, someone is going smash their radiator into your ribs because they are shitfaced? Those odds are infinitesimal.

But it only takes once, right?

Does someone want to tell me the bar industry hasn’t been hit financially by those kinds of get-tough laws from Mothers Against Drunk Driving?

I know. I know. None of that is shutting down the economy. Neither is wearing a mask to protect your fellow humanoids from COVID-19.

And how much PTSD should your freedom impose upon hospital workers who pay the second-hand price for the liberty you suddenly insist on protecting with other people’s lives? Seriously how many nervous breakdowns is a nurse supposed to have?

Emotions run deep

Some believe it’s a hoax.

No they don’t. Maybe a few truly delusional people think it’s a hoax.

I think the anti-maskers believe it’s hoax the same way we convince ourselves of things every day.

If you ever heard your car making a funny noise and turned up the stereo to make it go away, then you know what I’m talking about. "It’s just a normal click." I’ve probably heard it 500 times but never noticed.

Every year I can convince myself the Broncos are going to go to the Super Bowl. They got the defensive talent, a hot young quarterback, a quality stable of skill position players and with some improved play by the offensive line … by week 13, they are 5-8.

Actually, I think it’s more emotional than that. It’s more like how I convinced myself Jen Harrison had a thing for me in high school. I could build an affirmative case, based on reasonable-sounding inferences that would blunt all contradictory evidence but if I really believed it, I would have asked her out.

If MAGAs really believed COVID were a hoax, then they would write down the following words on a sheet of paper: “In case of COVID, do not intubate.” Then they’d get it notarized so it’s a legal document and wear it around their neck like a Medic Alert bracelet.

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Or at the very least, they would walk into a restaurant shirtless and barefoot. Then they’d assault the host who told them "No shirt, no shoes, no service."

But they’ve never had a problem with that.

I think they like to say "COVID is a hoax" to show allegiance to their group, achieving whatever the opposite of virtue signaling is so they can seem like they are tougher and more self-sufficient than they truly are.

Alpha fail

In my experience, no one is more dependent or disruptive to others than someone who insists they are too rugged an individual to take medical advice.

But as far as toughness goes? Oh my God. The mask deniers describe their experience as something akin to being held underwater.

I can’t breathe! I’m claustrophobic! The CO2 is going to kill me (not that carbon dioxide is a thing, mind you).

Failed Republican congressional candidate Joseph Morgan described how he tried to put a mask on and you would have thought an alien had burst from his belly.

“I’m going to hyperventilate.”

“I’m inhaling too much carbon dioxide and it’s going to poison me.”

“I’m choking and can’t breathe!”

Yeah, you can just smell the alpha on the them. Or is that just Axe?

Club Whateva

I'll give the MAGAs this much. At least they think they are chasing some abstract ideal called "Fridum."

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But the young, hip club crowd that just blows off COVID-19 doesn't even pretend to pursue a lofty or lowly end. Half of it is just chasing something else that will be there in six months when we have a vaccine. 

Homo sapiens have been procreating since literally before the first Homo sapien was born. Those opportunities will still be available in August. 

There's this great secret the older and disposable know that these kids do not yet (aside from the fact that their music sucks). They are going to be in their 40s, 50s and 60s a lot longer than they are in their 20s. As much as they might be shocked by this, they will still want to live.

When they reach those ages, they will be shocked to learn they don't feel any less alive than they do at 23. Then they will staring at the current crop of 20-somethings looking their way with a snarling eyeroll that will communicate: "You're over 32. Your life so doesn't matter."

They will be shocked to learn their 30s can be better than their 20s and their 40s can be better than their 30s. They might want to give their 50s a try but for the kids insistent on sweating and smearing themselves all over one another during a pandemic. Then they expect to go out in the world, free to do what they want.

It's not like they are likely to die, this is true.

However, what hasn't gotten enough ink or airtime is just how persistent the effects of this virus can be.

The long-haul symptoms include: Fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, chest pain, skin problems, lung damage, heart damage, brain damage causing strokes, seizures and eventually Parkinson's Disease.

And the next time a young Wokester tries to ban "Gone With the Wind" or defines the entire American experience prior to 1865 as evil because of slavery, they should stop and consider a parallel. They can't believe that people in the 19th century wouldn't insist on a major disruption to their lives and economy to demand the recognition the humanity of others. But screw it. Let's meet at the club because grandma is old and I'm young and that's life.

Just another word

The thing is, Arizona did great this summer. We were practically a model for the world. At one point when it was hot, the state was the global capital of COVID-19. Then the cities approved mask ordinances and the number of cases fell pretty quick from 5,000 to 300.

When the virus spiked, Arizonans altered their behavior. That's the thing about COVID. It's spread depends on people ignoring it. It gets strangled when people pay attention and do some basic stuff.

Hey, I argued for a stay-at-home order and while I still believe that such a statewide order would have saved a lot of lives and crunched the numbers down faster, I also see it's not the only way.

When information changes, some can alter their opinion. 

Just doing the basics has an enormous effect.

Now we are concerned about fridum, freedom or the flower of youth and don't think it's fair that government can just disrupt it.

They realize that in the 1910s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s there were these things called "draft notices," right? Millions of young men's lives got mighty disrupted when they were yanked from their homes and sent to war.

But even at home during World War II, there was rationing of all sorts and try telling the blackout warden "I keep my lights on for freedom." That person would have been pummeled.

History is rife with government doing all sorts of things that would disrupt people's lives. I'm talking about invasion, sieges, changing state religion overnight, confiscating lands and ask someone of Jewish heritage just how much a government can disrupt a life. 

So I guess this is a very long way of saying; "It's just ... a freaking ... mask!"

Freedom is real and many of the rest of us would like to enjoy it before it's just another word for nothing left to lose.

Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist, who worked in daily journalism for nearly 20 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party. Now he’s telling you things the Devil won’t.


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1 comment on this story

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26 comments
Dec 4, 2020, 9:09 pm
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Not wearing a mask is about as patriotic as letting the 9/11 hijackers hide out in your house.

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