Do you wonder how something as fairly innocuous as wearing a face mask to protect yourself from ambient viruses that may kill a person became a contentious political point? Do you wonder why a person would not only put their own life in jeopardy but the lives of his or her spouse, the parents and in-laws and their brothers, sisters and children nieces and nephews?
For a long time now, essentially since the long gone days of Saint Ronald of Reagan followers of whoever is the voice of the Republican Party of the day have had followers who want to push the envelope of adherence to the Party line with some outward show of support. This show not only needs to show their support but at the same time it must also be an act that in someway shows up the beliefs of those of us who occupy the other side of the political spectrum. Now they seemed to have settled on a strategy that may get them killed.
But that doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is that they commit some public act that shows their disdain, their hate and their ridicule of the political left. Over the years, this has taken the form of many somewhat bizarre actions in order to prove how much they dislike their opponents. It seems not to matter if what they do will result in their own harm – the point is to stick it to the liberals (or libtards in their words). Or stated another way to “Own the Libs.”
The resurrection of Joe McCarty’s purposeful calling his opponents the “DemocRAT Party” (with the emphasis on “rat”) instead of Democratic Party during the Reagan years was the leading edge. As the Republican Party moved further and further to the right actions by adherents have become more and more outrageous and hurtful to our society as a whole. They do not care as long as they “own the libs.”
As climate change became a huge issue that over the years has become a source of increasingly harmful weather patterns we have seen the far right perform acts of defiance such as fighting tooth and nail to stop or roll back any and all pollution regulations enacted to fight the pollution that is causing the environmental changes that are fueling the increasingly harmful weather. Doing what is right for the country as a whole or the world as a whole is of no concern. The motivation is to own the libs and to have a wedge issue to run on.
Thus we have seen Republican adherents driving huge trucks with black smoke coming out the tailpipes. We also see lax pollution policing during Republican administrations and in Republican led state governments. Pollution never stops at a state border, so despoiling their own environments is another way to stick a finger in the Lib’s eye while pushing what shouldn’t be a wedge issue.
Of course perhaps the biggest way to own the Libs is to be able to walk around with a gun on your hip in an open show of political adherence. The Iowa legislature under Republican leadership continues to loosen gun laws. In the end of the session rush they were able to push through a law to force local governments to allow open carry inside local governmental buildings. Why? That will get all sorts of BS 2nd amendment reasons, but the only thing that makes sense to me is that once more the Republicans can stick it to the Libs.
No doubt you can think of many, many more examples of “owning the Libs.” Examples that cover not only gun laws (why does anyone need an AR15??) and environmental rules, but also laws that enforce inequalities, that give huge breaks to the rich, that treat any group of people as less than human, becoming the champion of the traitors that were once the Confederacy – the list is long today.
Having taken a 50,000 foot view of what has been the trend for the past 40 years we can see how this led to where we are today. In 2016 during the Republican primaries we saw most of the candidates who have gone far right as the whole party had. But while most of the candidates still presented right wing ideas within what were at that times norms of what could be said. One candidate made it very clear that he would not be constrained by norms or any other rules.
He also made it clear that he hated the same people that a very hard core of adherents to the Republican Party had been cultivated to hate over the years. He also hated the governmental laws and rules that got in his way. He also made it clear that he would be more than willing to sign nearly any bill put in front of him. If that wasn’t enough he would use the huge power of the office of the presidency to do what the base wanted.
Thus the long cultivated hate for libs and “others” that was deeply embedded in the base found its champion. Those who wanted to “own the Libs” now had a candidate who would do what they wanted if he got power.
Of course we are talking about Donald Trump. Trump’s path to power is to divide and conquer. His path to maintaining power is to divide and conquer. His world is divided into people who does what he says and those who don’t. Therefore anything that in anyway puts Donald Trump in any kind of a bad light is an enemy and must be defeated.
So the pandemic comes along and his response is horrible. Rather than work to defeat the pandemic, Trump unleashes all his energy on anyone who criticizes his response whether that person was supposedly a loyalist or not. That is how the president of the US became the best friend a virus ever had. That is why we have lost 125,000 lives and will probably lose at least that many more.
That is also why governors like Kim Reynolds in Iowa, Doug Ducey in Arizona, Ron DeSantis in Florida and all other Republican governors have reopened their economies way too soon and without proper guidance to contain the virus. They are afraid of pissing off that “own the Libs” base that is blindly loyal to Trump. Their politics are far more important to them than your life.
And that is how a mask that has been shown to be the very best investment an individual can make to help prevent catching the virus became a visible sign of those who want to work together for the good of all and public heath versus those who want to visibly show their loyalty to Donald Trump and to “own the Libs!”
Help yourself and all the rest of us – WASH YOUR HANDS, KEEP YOUR DISTANCE, STAY OUT OF CROWDS ESPECIALLY INDOORS AND FOR GOODNESS SAKES WEAR A MASK, WEAR A MASK, WEAR A MASK!