We Need to Do a Better Job of Selling Masks

Kevin Warn/ZUMA

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The picture above, from my neighboring city of Huntington Beach, shows a typical protest against COVID-19 lockdowns. As you can see, nobody is wearing masks. Of course not! Live free or die!

Some of these people are just nuts and there’s nothing we can do about them. But I wonder if some of them are just misinformed? Hear me out on this. Your typical tea partier feels like the government should leave them alone: if they want to risk getting sick, then that’s their right. But that’s not what masks are for. They’re to keep you from getting other people sick—which can happen even if you’re feeling fine and don’t think you’re infected with the coronavirus. I think it’s possible that knowing this would actually motivate them to be good citizens more effectively.

I know this sounds kind of weird, and maybe I’m totally off base. But in general—and especially for libertarian-inflected tea party activists—I think people are more likely to do the right thing if they believe it helps other people. Conversely, if it only helps themselves, they figure it should be solely up to them since it doesn’t hurt anyone else if they go maskless.¹

We shouldn’t underestimate how difficult it is to get everyone into masks. They’re uncomfortable. They feel kind of stupid. President Trump is pretty unenthusiastic about them. But they’re also cheap and probably fairly effective. We really need to do a better job of selling them.

¹This isn’t right, but it’s probably too complicated to explain to most people. KISS.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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