When face masks become political: An anti-Trump statement?

WION New Delhi Jul 15, 2020, 09.32 PM(IST) Edited By: Palki Sharma

Donald Trump Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Trump even mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing it. Six months, and immense public criticism later, Trump finally donned a mask.

Trendy, cute, colourful and sometimes even comfortable - masks are inanimate and harmless objects.

However, wearing masks in the US has become a political issue, wearing them is considered anti-Trump, not wearing them is well, dangerous.

"You want to call me selfish for not wearing a mask? I want to say to you, all the people calling me selfish, you are the one who is trying to force me, a medical procedure, so you can feel more safe," anti-mask activist Chris Nelson, says, that's the level of insanity masks have unmasked.

Nelson's view is shared by thousands of other Americans including the first among the equals - Donald Trump.

The president believes that wearing a mask is an anti-Trump statement. He even mocked Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for wearing it. Six months, and immense public criticism later, Trump finally donned a mask.

A reporter asked off-camera if Trump will be wearing a mask, the US president said: "Well I'll probably have a mask if you must know. I mean, I'll probably have a mask. I think it's a great thing to wear a mask."

Great thing it is but not all the presidents men agree. Conservative Republicans still do not think masks are a good idea. However, some of the party members have stressed on the need to wear it.

"Wearing a face covering slows the spread of COVID-19 and it protects you and your family," Greg Abbott, Texas governor said. The Democrats, of course, have been more vocal about the importance of masks but when exactly did masks get caught in partisan politics?

It may be because it is an election year and American politicians would have more important things to do than fight over clothes with stretchy bands.

"Unfortunately, this simple lifesaving practice has become part of the political debate that says this - if you are for Trump, you don't wear a mask and if you're against Trump, you do," Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander, said.

It began with the anti-shutdown protests as many demonstraters ditched the mask when shops and services reopened, many of them said there was no need to wear it but there were other establishments that would not let customers in unless they wore a mask at the end of the day both employees and customers were left extremely confused = to wear a mask or not to wear a mask was the question.

The top infectious disease expert of America's Anthony Fauci has recommendated wearing masks. The World Health Organisation too says face coverings are essential but Trump beleives neither.

Some of his ardent supporters have not been shy of marching to Congress. The situation has become so bad that some eateries in the US are now offering free food to customers who do not wear a mask.

The US needs to understand that masks are not a politcal symbol, they are not the emblem of liberalism but essential and non-partisan. The sooner Americans realise it, the more lives they save.