Mike DeWine Walked Back Mask Order For Fear Of Offending People Who Don't Like Being Told What To Do
Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has been getting a lot of credit for not being a horrible monster-person throughout "these uncertain times," especially in the beginning of "these uncertain times." That's fair. When people do things that are good (actually do the right things, not just say the right things), that ought to be acknowledged, even if only to encourage others to also do those good things or even just for reasons of ideological consistency.
On Monday, Gov. DeWine announced that once retail stores start to open, people would be required to wear masks inside of them in order to keep everyone safe. This was a good idea. It's been required in New York, where I am staying right now, for a while now, and it's really no big deal. You go to the supermarket, you wear a mask. So what?
Alas, it was apparently such a big deal to some of his constituents that he walked back the order the next day, tweeting:
From the very beginning of this battle against this virus. We have truly been in this battle together. As Governor, it is my responsibility to make the tough decisions, but it is also my responsibility to listen & hear and be respectful of the thoughts and ideas of Ohioans.
There is a wise, old saying: "None of us is as smart as all of us." And so, as we continue our journey together, to battle our shared enemy, I will continue to listen to your thoughts and ideas as we move through this process.
There will have to be adjustments as we go. Within the last 24 hours, it has become clear to me that a mandatory mask requirement for retail customers is offensive to some of our fellow Ohioans. I understand that.
We've heard you. We will not mandate that retail customers wear a mask. But we strongly recommend that you do.
Oh yes, very wise to listen to the kind of buffoons who would claim that they are "offended" by being asked to wear a mask.
On Friday, CNN's Chris Cillizza, who was once cursed by a wizard to be chronically wrong about everything, forever, wrote an op-ed praising this move, calling DeWine "the single best leader on coronavirus this week."
"Most politicians wouldn't do that,” Cillizza wrote. "Admit an error, acknowledge it and note that he still thinks the best policy is to err on the side of safety."
This is true, especially if the first thing they did was not an error, but in fact the smart thing to do,
On Sunday, Gov. DeWine stopped by ABC's "The Week" to further explain his reasons for walking back the mask mandate:
MARTHA RADDATZ: Governor, let's talk about that. You did something that not too many politicians do, you did an about-face. You first announced that everyone would be required to wear face masks when retail opened, and then you reversed yourself when some of your citizens said it was offensive. Talk me through the thinking on that because you were just talking about face masks.
DEWINE: Face masks are very important and our business group came back and said every employee, for example, should wear a face mask. So we're continuing that, whether it's retail or wholesale, whatever it is, manufacturing, every employee's going to have the face mask. But it became very clear to me after we put out the order that everyone in retail who walked into a store as a customer would have to do that, it became clear to me that that was just a bridge too far that people were not going to accept the government telling them what to do. And so we put out dozens and dozens of orders, that was one that it just went too far.
Well, if they are so offended, then maybe these snowflakes should just stay in their unsafe spaces, huh? Like their own houses, where they can hang out totally mask-free without infecting others. The government, for the most part, won't tell them what to do there.
DeWine then suggested that if he made Republicans wear masks against their will, they wouldn't listen to him about other coronavirus-related issues.
So my ability to communicate to the people of Ohio, frankly, I thought was going to be really impeded and we would get hung up on the mandatory masks for someone going in as a customer and it just wasn't going to work. And so you got to know what you can do and what you can't do.
Oh, that's nice. So employees have to think of the safety of customers, but not the other way around? It just wouldn't work? Really? They can't be asked to make that kind of sacrifice for their country?
DeWine also opined that Republicans in general were just really not into the government telling them what to do, which is super weird given that just last year, he signed a bill banning abortions after six weeks. So clearly, they don't actually mind all that much when the government tells other people what to do. They mind having to do anything that suggests caring about the welfare of others, because that kind of thing is for liberal sissies.
This mask thing should not be a thing, but it is a thing, mostly because some crazy ass rightwingers have decided that not wearing a mask is a now a political statement that lets others know which side of the culture war you are on ... instead of a way to not transmit germs in case one is an asymptomatic carrier of COVID-19. That is the one and only reason why mandating the masks is "too far" for some people. Because they've decided that not wearing one is a political statement.
It's really stupid, of course, but so is pretty much every other hill they literally or figuratively die on.
Perhaps someone should remind these people that they also can't go into the grocery store naked, or order a burger while not wearing a shirt or shoes. Or murder anyone! Or do any embezzling! There are lots of things that people can't do because the government tells them they can’t or because of safety regulations. They simply need to figure out a way to live with that.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. In addition to her work at Wonkette, she also has a biweekly column at Dame. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse