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As I See It

Even masks have become political

Scott Robert Shaw

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Some time ago, wearing a mask in public likely meant you were getting ready to rob a train, or a stagecoach. Suddenly, wearing a mask has become a political statement. That is not to say everyone who is wearing one is making a statement, but that is how it is perceived. The mask has come to be seen as a symbol. For those on the right, a mask is a symbol of blindly submitting to government authority, and for those on the left, a symbol of compassion. A recent survey highlights the divide. 75% of democrats report wearing a mask, while only 53% of republicans say they do. President Donald Trump skipped the mask while touring a factory that makes masks. Vice President Mike Pence also went mask-free while recently visiting the Mayo Clinic. That is not by accident. They are trying to show that they are not scared, that there is nothing to worry about, even in a hospital full of sick people. Recently a campground in Shawano County banned wearing face masks, while in Stevens Point, a man recently harassed some Asian-Americans for wearing masks at a grocery store. To be fair, there is mixed guidance on the effectiveness of these face coverings. But rather than judging someone’s politics for wearing or not wearing a mask, how about we just let others do what they feel they need to do to stay safe, and not try to interpret it as some kind of political symbolism?

Scott Robert Shaw serves as WIZM Program Director and News Director, and delivers the morning news on WKTY, Z-93 and 95.7 The Rock. Scott has been at Mid-West Family La Crosse since 1989, and authors Wisconsin's only daily radio editorial, "As I See It" heard on WIZM each weekday morning and afternoon.

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