Percolating beneath the more general pandemic stress is a political divide cleaving us over the role of government, science and even truth.
Conspicuously, most weren’t wearing face masks.
“The Confederate flags and nooses, the swastikas, the, you know, behavior that you’ve seen in all of the clips, is not representative of who we are in Michigan. And the fact of the matter is, I mean, we’re in a global pandemic,” she said, adding that “we need to listen to the expertise and our institutions of higher learning and our health system and make decisions that are going to protect the lives of everyone.”
Crucially, there are people who obey or ignore medical authorities’ recommendations without intending to advertise their political opinions. Moreover, some have legitimate reasons for being wary of wearing face masks.
That said, as parts of the country contemplate reopening, it’s hard to ignore how these strange times have transformed face masks from tools to promote public health into statements with political valence — and with very real consequences.
This story has been updated to include reporting on the Family Dollar store shooting.