ACHTUNG: This is not a “fair and balanced” article. It is an editorial by the editor.
“Who was that masked man?
“I don’t know, but I wanted to thank him.”
— A late 1960s commercial for Pizza Rolls, featuring Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels, who asks, “Have a pizza roll, Kemosabe?”
Perhaps the most worthless sign in 2020-21 United State States of America is the one that tells visitors “No mask, no entry.” The warning is about as toothless as an old man who desperately needs dentures.
I’ve seen plenty of these signs posted at the entrances of businesses and public places such as school buildings and township and city government. I suppose some mean what they say, but too often I’ve seen them as nothing more than Paper Tigers.
“You paper tigers are all alike. Your roar is much worse than your bite.” — Susie Thompson, 1965
Signs telling visitors and customers to mask up began appearing on the public landscape about a year ago. One of the first controversies I can remember was at Family Farm & Home, in which a complaint was made, but police defended the offender by suggesting he or she could have some underlying medical condition.
Not long afterward I noticed that Harding’s Market declared a mask was necessary for entry, yet I still have a photo of State Rep. Steve Johnson in the checkout lane with no face covering whatsoever. I asked if Johnson had made a maskless appearance since and was told his physical presence in the grocery has not been noted.
Johnson and Dorr Township Trustee John Tuinstra remain as two people I have never seen wearing a mask during the pandemic. And Johnson very publicly supported a Holland restaurateur who defiantly allowed maskless patrons.
But businesses need not feel so lonely.
Leighton, Martin, Watson and Dorr Township Halls are graced with the mask warning signs, but enforcement is virtually nonexistent. A majority of the members of the Martin and Leighton board refuses to wear a mask during proceedings in a closed environment. Dorr has been about half and half, and its planning commission had only Dan Weber dutifully observing the facial precautions.
Not a single Watson Township official wore a mask at its most recent meeting.
The special Wayland Board of Education meeting Friday afternoon yielded everybody in the small quarters of the administration building donning the masks, but in walked an unknown citizen bare faced with no intention of following the instructions of the sign at the front door. After the meeting, I protested, and was told his presence and “crime” went unnoticed.
Board President Dan Cassini indicated it’s not his job to tell the man to put on a mask, yet it is his job to tell those from the public the rules about how long they can speak and warn them against making inappropriate comments.
What this all boils down to once again is that we privileged Americans will use the U.S. Constitution to do whatever we wish and disregard the rules necessitated by the interests of public health. Our “paper tiger” government doesn’t want to enforce these rules. And once again, too many people, most notably our state representative, has taken a health issue and turned it into a political issue.
Few people argue with a public official declaring martial law during a public safety crisis, yet they insist on breaking the rules when it suits them during a pandemic.
And we wonder why the United States is No. 1 in the world in Covid deaths and cases?
It’s not just yours truly beating the drum on this problem. Submitted for your approval or disapproval from “friends” on Facebook:
“When I went into D&W and was waiting to get something from the deli and a woman walked up beside me with no mask and the sign coming in says ‘Masks Required’ or something like that… Seems to be their thinking, think of themselves over others.”
“It is a problem at the Auction House Café, with people trying to come in without a mask then (getting) mad when told they need to wear one… Their right to not wear a mask ‘Trumps’ your right to be safe.”