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FROSTMAN COLUMN: Please don't condemn those who choose not to mask up

FROSTMAN COLUMN: Please don't condemn those who choose not to mask up

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Baseball’s Yogi Berra was purported to say “It’s déjà vu all over again.” My intent here this week was to simply ask folks to take a break from the consternation and angst that has gripped our nation since March in the form of the coronavirus, with various incarnations and changes in protocols in reaction.

As the spring season began in earnest at the end of March, and new life sought to emerge from the ravages of winter, I thought I would be able ask folks to take a break from controversy, and simply enjoy the season when Gov. Tony Evers stepped in and decided to try to postpone the April election, after a number of weeks acknowledging he lacked the authority to do so, and I felt obliged to respond.

Amidst the summer season, with my daughter finally able to participate in a feeble attempt at a graduation ceremony, I sought to remind readers to take a few moments or days and seek time of relaxation and enjoyment as you could in these bizarre times. I still feel that way, but had to comment on the latest actions by Evers.

I know folks across the nation are tired of arguing about whether we all should be wearing face masks. If you opt to continually wear a face mask, most will do so without fanfare, or any noticeable public shaming. In general, it seems to be the social norm that if you want to wear a mask, you are welcome to do so, and no one will object.

On the other hand, if you choose to not wear a mask, even if mask wearing is extremely difficult or medically challenging, you are subjugated to ridicule and disdain by the “pro-mask” contingent. You are accused of wanting people to get sick and die, of having blood on your hands, receive scornful and judgmental looks, and more. Attempts to question rationale or challenge statistics not fitting the narrative are scorned upon.

I remembered Berra’s line as I considered another flip-flopping, eye-popping, show-stopping pronouncement from Gov. Evers. On July 30, Evers issued an Executive Order, effective Aug. 1, requiring Wisconsin residents to wear a face mask when inside businesses or public buildings.

On July 29, a WISN-12 story bore the headline, “Wisconsin unlikely to issue statewide face mask mandate,” the subtitle “Gov. Tony Evers office did say the state Supreme Court ruling overturning his stay-home order made it impossible to issue any statewide mask requirements.”

What changed between July 29 and July 30? Evers has continually referred to potential legal challenges coming before the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which rebuffed Evers’ attempted power grabs on two other occasions, the election, and extension of the Safer At Home order. On July 31, a new Supreme Court justice, Jill Karofsky, was sworn in to replace Daniel Kelly. The court replaced a more conservative justice with a more liberal one, and it could not simply be a coincidence that Evers waited until any challenges would be heard by the new justice.

The mask mandate faces other conundrums. Many county and municipal law enforcement agencies stated they will not enforce it. Challenges they faced in the Safer At Home period make them recalcitrant to pursue non-mask wearers.

We have a mask mandate that law enforcement won’t pursue, and recommendation you not contact them when you see a non-mask wearer. Who will the mandate compel to mask up? Is this a harbinger of more power grabs? It’s likely the legislature will be involved at some point.

A big impacted group are the thousands of essential workers who have been showing up for work, dealing with the entire population range closely and distanced to keep the infrastructure of our economy moving along the last several months without masks, and now must mask up. Despite their continuing efforts, it is purportedly dangerous for kids to attend actual classes this fall.

Mask up if you want to, need to, or think you need to send positive vibes. Please don’t condemn non-mask wearers, it is highly unlikely you know their rationale. Hope that you will take some time this summer to relax and let your smile shine brightly in the midst of all this gloom. Give teeth a chance.

Scott Frostman lives in Baraboo, and has roots throughout Wisconsin. He currently serves as the chairman of the Republican Party of Sauk County. Opinions herein are exclusively his own and not those of the Republican parties of Wisconsin or Sauk County. He believes anyone can make a difference and can be reached at scfrostman@gmail.com.

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