My Very Simple Offense
It happened on a cold morning, the ground was covered with snow, I had parked the car for my family, and thus proceeded to walk into the building. I entered without wearing a mask, immediately I heard an inquiry from an employee of the establishment. She was stationed at the front entrance. The area for customers to return items was about 15-feet behind her. The lady working at the store asked me if I would like to wear a mask? I very politely asked her if it was required for entrance to the establishment? If it was required, then I could either leave or wear the mask since it is their property. Whether or not I agree with their policies, they own the building and I need to respect that fact and make my own choices. The employee nicely informed me that it was their preference for me to wear the mask, but it was not required for me to do so. I smiled and thanked her for the information while moving into the store without a mask.
Evidently, some of the individuals behind her had overheard our conversation. One of them literally yelled out, “it is a state mandate for you to wear the mask.” That statement is actually false since many police departments and officials in my state have said they will not enforce the mask policy of the governor and our governor has said he will defer to the judgment of local individuals on that matter. I simply walked forward into the store because I knew I had peacefully settled the situation with the employee. Taking on multiple irate individuals by choice would simply ruin any good I had done in this particular instance and likely serve no benefit. The middle of a busy store was not the time nor the place for an intense debate.
An Irresponsible Dangerous Individual
One of my family members was actually in the return line when the whole situation happened. I had left to go to a different part of the store, all I heard the mob say was their claim that I was violating a state mandate. Apparently, they kept on in the conversation and continued to express their assumptions about me. Because I entered the store without a mask, they determined I must be an irresponsible person who was acting dangerously and that I also must have voted for President Trump. Amazing, they gained all of that information simply because of the fact that I walked into a store without a mask and had a polite conversation with an employee regarding the rules of the business. If you ever wanted to see an example of drawing hasty conclusions, I suppose this is it. I am now labeled as an irresponsible, dangerous person simply because I did not wear the mask.
The Heart of The Problem
My goal in this article is not to debate the mask vs. no-mask conversation. I want to highlight something else, I want to dig into what the mob did in this instance. They automatically judged everything about me because they disagreed with my opinion by watching me have a very peaceful 15-second interaction with an employee. They presumptuously took aim at my character, motivations, and political opinions simply because I walked into a building without a mask. They did not discern based on rational arguments or by asking me my thoughts, but instead, they judged on the basis of their emotions. This irrational, hasty, and volatile judgment demonstrates one of the main problems in our society. Far too many individuals don’t care to have a civil conversation any longer. If you don’t wear a mask, then you must be a grave danger to society. You are not considered a person who can be talked to and reasoned with intelligently. No, you are a terror to health and safety. According to these people, if you don’t wear that mask, then you apparently just don’t care about the health of others.
Now, I in no way want to insinuate that every person who wears a mask would hold the above opinions about those who choose not to wear one. If I did that, then I would be making the same mistake as the mob. I personally know people who do wear masks, and while I disagree with them, we have been able to have perfectly civilized conversations on the subject. You see, I think the problem also falls on the flip-side of the coin as well. Some individuals could be prone to believe that if you do wear the mask, then you are automatically an unintelligent tyrant who doesn’t care about liberty or freedom. I don’t believe that is the case.
Do I think there are people who wear masks who want to see freedom taken away? Yes, I do. Do I believe several political individuals have used the whole area of mask mandates for political power? Most certainly! Do I believe every person who wears a mask is out to try to rob me of freedom? No, that would be ridiculous. That’s the pivotal difference, in my mind I understand different people have different motivations for taking the same action. Some wear masks because they think they will help in terms of their health. Others choose to do so because the mainstream voices say they should. Different individuals may choose to wear it simply because they want to avoid being shouted at like I was earlier. I have different opinions on all of these areas from people who choose to wear masks. However, I am going to have to have a conversation with the person to know their motivations and reasons for taking that action. I am actually going to need to sit down with them and visit. They share their thoughts, I share mine, and we either end up agreeing or we disagree, but we should walk away as human beings, and not labeling each other as “irresponsible” and “dangerous” merely because we have a difference of opinion.
Learning To Talk Again
I want to urge you, dear reader, don’t just label people because of a slight glance at them. Do not think they are a murderer because you disagree with a viewpoint which they hold. Instead, learn to communicate effectively, use logic well, and have a conversation with them. In fact, I want to challenge you to engage those with whom you disagree in a respectful conversation. Ask good questions, make clear points, engage them in a loving way that does not waver from the truth, but do engage them. Our society needs to learn to converse again and not just hatefully label each other. We need civil discourse to show back up again, it is unhealthy for it not to reappear.
Lastly, if by chance a member of the mob from the store happens to read this post, I have a quick word for you. If you happen to see me again, let me know. Come up to me, introduce yourself, let’s have a conversation. I would love to buy your lunch sometime or maybe even invite you out to my honey bee apiary or garden and show you around. Let’s have a conversation about our disagreements. I actually think we would both benefit from interacting with each other instead of labeling one another. If you see me, let me know, I would love to have a friendly conversation. Who knows, we might both learn something in the process, and we sure would exhibit a responsible attitude for the next generation of Americans to admire. Let’s leave them a legacy of having the ability to peacefully talk about our disagreements and not the legacy of the mob!