controversial stop sign

If you drove a car today, you probably wore a seatbelt.  It’s a simple (but powerful) piece of equipment designed to keep you and your passengers safe in case there is a car accident.  You might not have.  But if you don’t, and you are pulled over by law enforcement, they can write you a ticket if you don’t.

During that trip, regardless how short, you most likely came to a stop sign.  Did you keep going or did you stop?  Most of us stopped, or at least slowed way down to check for oncoming traffic.  If you don’t, you can get a ticket or cause an accident (where that seatbelt will come in handy).

And as the trip went on, you probably encountered speed limit signs, flashing lights, and even drove on the right side of the road (in the U.S.).  You did this because those are the rules of the road.  These rules, that we all understand (most of us anyway) are there to keep us safe.  If you break any of them, you might get a ticket, or worse, create an accident.

Technically these are rules from “the government.”

And it’s funny, I never hear anyone talking about their rights being violated.    I am not saying no one says it.  But no one I talk to on a regular basis.  Mainly because, you know, they are not.  These rules are set in place in order to allow us freedom…not to take it away.

Have you heard of the “controversial stop sign?”  Me neither.

That is why I struggle to understand the complete anger and vitriol surrounding the “Mask Debate.”   This is a video and campaign we have created in Coshocton County by local leaders to encourage people to put on their masks to keep people safe.  I am proud of it…so I was surprised when I started to get attacked for the idea.  I was called a Nazi, uneducated, weak minded, and more.  To me, it was just so over the top.

So…I thought I would do my best to address the most common arguments I see and hear when people are asked to “Step Up and Mask Up.”  I will do my best to do this without emotion, name-calling, or frustration.

Masks Don’t Work

Let’s just get rid of that myth.  Study after study will tell us they do.  What most experts would agree on is that different masks work differently.  Obviously the KN95 masks used in healthcare facilities work better than the ones made in homes.  But nearly all of them provide a level of protection.  While I am not a medical professional, most studies will tell you that wearing a mask will help you from spreading germs to others.  They do a better job of protecting others from you…and you from others.  But if we both wear a mask it helps us both.  That is why it says in the video “it’s not a weakness…it’s a kindness.”  You wear a mask to help protect others.

One important clarification…masks are not foolproof.

They are not the only thing we need to do.  They are just one tool in the tool box.  If you wear a mask, you can still get sick.  That is why we are told to wear a mask AND wash our hands AND keep our distance.  We should still take our vitamins and get plenty of sleep!  Masks are just one part of the solution.

Masks Are Weakening Our Immune System

This is one that I find funny…mainly because it is often made in conjunction with the first argument.  But how can that be?  If the masks don’t work at keeping out the virus, how could they affect our immune system?  If it’s letting all of those germs in, then our immune system would be fine.  You can’t have it both ways.

It’s A Government Conspiracy to Control Us

In the interest of transparency, I am not a conspiracy theory guy.  They all seem over the top to me.  I don’t know any group that can keep a secret for any period of time, let alone a HUGE group of people.  I just don’t buy it.  And if this is a huge game to control the United States…to what end?  What is the goal?  What are they trying to get us to do?  Dress up like Mummies?  I just don’t see it…at all.

Masks Will Kill Small Business

This is one that frustrates me the most, because that is the exact opposite of what I see.  The goal of this campaign is to create a framework to keep businesses open…safely.  If we don’t slow the spread of the virus, THAT will kill small business.  It will shut them down, get their owners and customers sick, and ultimately kill the businesses we say we want to save.  It goes back to the traffic discussion above.  I see this as a (temporary) rule in order to allow us to continue with our freedom….not to take it away.

“A Doctor I Know” Says They Aren’t Necessary

I am sure that is true.  There are always outliers.  This is not to denigrate those people. That is another reason why I like the traffic analogy above.  I am sure there are certain law enforcement officers that don’t think the speed limit is a big deal.  And while their experience is important and valuable, we don’t change the law.

I Don’t Like To Wear Masks

No one likes wearing masks.  I haven’t met a single person that does.  When the need to wear masks is over, no one I know will still wear them as a fashion statement.  We will all stop.

This is not an exhaustive list.  Who has that kind of time?  But I wanted to address just a few of these.  My sincere hope is that we can all work together to help keep each other safe.  There is good news on the vaccine side of things, but that will take time.  So in the meantime, I choose to do what I can do to help.  I hope you choose to do the same.

Step up…and Mask up.

Oh…and really proud that Ohio Governor Mike DeWine jumped in to lend his support as well.  Very cool.

Kirby Hasseman is the CEO of Hasseman Marketing, a full service marketing agency located in Ohio.  Learn more about Hasseman Marketing here.  And if you are interested in have him speak at your next event, you can learn more here.

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