Conservative opposition to masks continues to dwindle

Published June 24, 2020

By Rob Schofield

A lot of uninformed people – most of them, judging by the tenor of the hostile mail we receive here most days at Policy Watch, denizens of the political right – still haven’t gotten the message, but it appears to be finally getting through to conservative politicians and politicos that donning a mask is one of the easiest, cheapest and most useful tools in controlling he spread of the novel coronavirus.

As an aside, an eastern North Carolina pastor emailed Policy Watch at 12:14 this morning to say the following in response to yesterday’s Weekly Briefing:

                                    “Well….you totally lost me with unscientific mask wearing nonsense goodbye.
                                    Fun while it lasted........sad to see”

North Carolina’s senior U.S. Senator, Richard Burr has been wearing a mask in public for weeks. Last week, local conservative commentator Becki Gray expounded on the utility of wearing masks. Even that perpetual curmudgeon, Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, sported a mask earlier this week at a House Education and Labor Committee hearing.

And this week, Senator Thom Tillis – a politician who has lashed himself to the mast of the foundering U.S.S. Trump with an almost pathetic fervor – publicly reiterated his previous endorsement of the practice.

This is from a story in the Asheville Citizen-Times:

“U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis on Monday evening urged North Carolinians to wear masks to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease, to help the economy reopen and to protect businesses from COVID-related lawsuits.

Tillis’ comments come while Gov. Roy Cooper considers whether to require people to wear masks and as critics of the government’s response to the virus have been burning masks in protest.

‘Everyone needs to know:  You can help reduce the spread by 80% and we can beat the virus if you just wear something over your nose and mouth when you go out,’ Tillis, a Republican, told listeners during a telephonic and online town hall meeting Monday evening.

‘I don’t want to be the person that gets exposed to somebody who may be older, they may have health conditions — it would weigh heavy on me to think that I may have been responsible for them getting a case that leads to their death,’ Tillis said.”

The bottom line: As with so many other health and safety steps to which many Americans have had to be yanked kicking and screaming down through the years, the push for mask wearing is taking time, but we’re making progress. It ‘s just sad that the footdraggers will likely end up taking so many innocent lives in the mean time.