If there’s a sea of maskless faces in the SOTU audience tonight, maybe that’s on purpose. According to this NBC News report, elected Dems are mostly done with masks and ready to move on from COVID, following the science AND the political science:
After vanquishing Donald Trump by promising to get the virus under control, Democrats are now positioning themselves to declare victory against Covid ahead of a tough midterm election, amid recent polling data showing that Americans are less fearful of Covid-related illness and eager to return to normal life.
“We’ve beaten Covid. Time to take off the masks. Time to get back to life. Let’s open up our businesses. And let’s — everyone go back to having as normal a life as we can,” Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., said Friday on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.”
“It’s OK to succeed,” he said. “There are some people that are still afraid of doing that, but we can’t continue living this life.”
If it’s true that Rep. Gallego is expressing the caucus zeitgeist, that’s going to take the starch out of Republicans’ sheets since they’ve been running against mask oppression for a solid year and a half or so and seemed prepared to keep demagoguing the issue through November.
Really, it’s surreal to watch their antics from where I’m sitting. Virtually no one in my part of Florida wears masks anymore. If you go to a grocery store, you’ll see maybe 5% wearing masks. But if you listen to Republicans like Ron DeSantis, you’d think the ghost of Fidel Castro is still padlocking socialist masks onto Florida schoolchildren’s faces.
I’ve seen anti-mask demonstrations in Florida, which is like a temperance demonstration in Temple Square. You won, guys — you politicized COVID mitigation measures until it became impossible to contain the spread. Take the fucking W!
Well, maybe Dems can take that fucking W instead since Republicans are too attached to anti-mask demagoguery to move on. It could go something like this: Between the responsible people getting vaccinated and the dopes getting sick and dying or recovering, most people have some level of protection, at least for now.
Leaving mitigation mandates behind sucks for the immunocompromised and young kids who can’t get vaccinated. And it will suck for everyone if a dangerous new variant spreads like wildfire. But it looks like America is done with COVID, even if COVID isn’t done with us. So maybe Dems might as well take the W? Maybe that’s the rationale. I don’t know.