This op-ed was published in the Tampa Bay Times on June 18, 2020.
To fully understand this op-ed, you have to understand the heartbreaking calamity that was happening in Florida and Jacksonville at that time, and the revisionist history that is covering up this terrible completely preventable tragic loss of life now (7/27/2023).
Here is the original op-ed from the Tampa Bay Times:
“Politics or Health”
It is starting to look like basic safety precautions will not be mandated statewide for Florida schools, such as mask-wearing and social distancing. We regulate everything about schools and demand accountability. So it is simply untrue that it would be some kind of grave overreach for the state to make masks a statewide requirement. Giving flexibility to local leaders to make bad, medically uneducated decisions that affect the health of the entire state is, in itself, a bad decision.
I would like something other than a political explanation for why our highly educated leadership believes masks should remain optional. Are our leaders afraid making masks a statewide requirement will scare away tourists? Well, a raging COVID-19 infection will scare away a lot more tourists than masks. No one will want to vacation in the new infection capital of the country.
Showcasing proactive, low-impact smart actions like mandatory masks will give smart people from around the country and the world confidence to come to our state, not scare them away. If it angers some people over their political self-interests, ask what is more important, our health and our economy, or a political symbol?
I currently live in Jacksonville, in the state of mind called Florida. You know, that Jacksonville, the one that will be hosting the RNC convention in some number of weeks. That Jacksonville, where for weeks since reopening, COVID numbers that were going down, are now shooting up exponentially as they are in the rest of the state. That Jacksonville, where people are not taking COVID as seriously as the rest of the state.
I have tried to keep this book blog somewhat apolitical, which is part of the reason I have been posting little here and tons of essays on my private, nonpublic Facebook page. I feel I will not be able to keep this up for much longer, and my private essays will start to bleed over into my public blog. So here goes nothing…
Jacksonville, called JAX for short, is the largest city in the entire southeast. It’s a swing city, 50:50 Democrats and Republicans. We all get along here fairly well, but some things have started to really bug me. One of those things is mask-wearing. How did something so common-sense and lifesaving, become a loony political trophy and wedge-issue-weapon? It is disappointing and disgraceful.
For many months I have been writing op-eds and essays that are being published in Florida newspapers. So I guess it is a little silly that I have been publishing my opinion elsewhere than my own blog. Here is my latest op-ed, which was published in the Tampa Bay Times on June 18th. Right now, it is in the print edition and should be in the online edition soon.