Home Letter To The Editor “Who ARE Those Masked People, Kemosabe?”

“Who ARE Those Masked People, Kemosabe?”



I have watched the national schizophrenia over masks and masking play out over the years and believe – at least I think I do – that the country is completely bonkers and as divided as ever on this issue.

Those who wear masks wear their belief in their power literally on their faces – and those who don’t wear masks have said they would rather die, and have, than be bullied into wearing one.

Well – fine. I just don’t want to fight about it any more. I’m tired of the on-street badgering and in-store attempts to enlighten me to the government’s efforts to control my body and political preferences. During the Worst Times I didn’t know what frightened me more – the prospect of catching COVID19 or being punched silly in a WalMart by someone in an American Flag tee-shirt.

So I pick who I want to be seen with in public these days and I do continue to wear a mask. Hate me, I don’t care. I watch “healthy” friends who swear they can keep The ‘Rona at bay with exercise and organic food fall sick after traveling unmasked. And good luck getting a hospital bed these days.

Bound and determined to eat out while unmasked? Fine, call ahead and make sure your approach is in line with the restaurant’s policy – then go and put your best face forward or mask up like the Lone Ranger, there are options and like-mined people out there. Don’t drag a poor wait person into your personal preferences.

Let’s just stop fighting about it.


Ruth Parker/San Ramon


  1. Speaking as someone old, I am largely invisible in the public square it seems. That provides an advantage at times. I now mask up in crowded places as often as not to prevent flu and covid and whatever is dripping from that baby’s nose in the stroller in front of me at the grocery. That is a residual effect of common-sense practices (for me anyway) established during the scary times. And, being invisible, no one notices.

  2. Masking reminds me of the graphic novel Persepolis, the biography of an Iranian girl who alternatively lived in her home country and in the West. In the book, there is a great discussion of head coverings for women, in which small differences that Western observers would be clueless about, made huge political and social statements for those aware of the subtleties. Here I know of a far left progressive organization where masking is extreme and worn as proof of how progressive one is. You will not get in the door without a mask. Walk into ACE hardware, and no one cares. The idea of masks, very strangely, became political. Incompetence encouraged this. Those already suspicious of the government were initially told not to wear masks, then you need to wear masks to protect yourself, then later you should wear masks but it only protects others and not the wearer. What a mess. We perhaps need a Persepolis to explain by their mask status and design whether a person is rabidly progressive, a conservative, has elderly relatives to protect, or is making other statements only they understand.

  3. I still mask up. I’m 50-something, immuno-compromised, responsible for paying for my own way, and serving as sole caregiver for a senior family member who is more immuno-compromised than I am. I have no one to even drop off a brown bag lunch outside my front door, but I do have family members who try to force me to turn up unmasked at events and restaurants. Something about my mental health they say, but somehow they never help out. I limit where I go, and watch my back in case an enthusiastic personne wants to beat me up or shoot me. Glad I went everywhere I wanted before December 2019. I haven’t lost hope that one day this will all be behind us.

  4. Did everything in my power to prevent C19 due to respiratory issues. Kept to open spaces, careful to mask (n95), took precautions when forced to travel. Unfortunately it’s all one way masking because no policy mandates putting masks on others. So, now I have it and no, I don’t think travel is safe if you want to avoid it.

  5. I’m not anti-mask, but one thing about wearing a mask I’ve never understood – why do some people wear a mask when in their car and all alone?

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