Pro-maskers and anti-maskers have been involved in fierce debate and drawn-out fights.

Mask display at WSU's The Signpost. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)
Mask display at WSU’s The Signpost. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

There is a broad range of reasons some people refuse to wear a mask. Anti-maskers believe the government doesn’t have the constitutional right to tell people what to do or what to wear. They feel their freedom is violated, which makes them angry and defensive. They also often doubt the effectiveness of wearing a mask.

Pro-maskers feel that it is people’s duty to protect others, especially the immunocompromised and elderly. Public health officials have recommended the wearing of masks when in public to curb the virus outbreak.

Regardless of whether or not it is effective, people have forgotten to express their opinion in a polite and kind manner. It is becoming eminent that the need to speak our own minds, despite sounding rude and disrespectful, is more important.

Pro-maskers blame anti-maskers for the increasing number of cases, which pro-maskers claim is why the economy is going downhill. Anti-maskers, on the other hand, believe pro-maskers are accountable for the shrinking of the economy.

The fights between the two groups are getting out of hand and becoming ridiculous. People are unfriending friends and family over their personal views of masks.

Anti-maskers are calling pro-maskers sheep and claiming they are incapable of thinking for themselves. They believe that by wearing a mask, people are giving more power to the government, and in the long run, it will bite us.

Pro-maskers call those not wearing a mask selfish, capable of only thinking of themselves and caring little about other’s health.

Shaming people for wearing or not wearing a mask leads to confrontation. No one likes getting humiliated, let alone in public. The same happens for ridiculing people for wearing masks.

The fight over masks is causing emotional stress and taking a mental toll on citizens. Stress and anxiety are rising even among children and teens.

Some cannot wear a mask for physical or mental reasons; I am one of them. People stare at me angrily, and I can see their struggle to stop themselves from shouting at me. I suffer from asthma and masks make my breathing difficult. When I am in places where masks are required, it’s agony during the time I am there.

On one occasion, I was about to run out of the bank to gasp for air. I did not dare to uncover my face for a few seconds to breathe easier for fear of being shamed.

Others may get anxiety attacks when having their faces covered, just like some people get scared riding an elevator.

Those who have different views shouldn’t have to explain themselves to others. We should go back to the “Live and Let Live.” If wearing a mask was so effective, then those wearing masks shouldn’t be worried; they are protected.

I believe people should wear masks where required. My argument is that we need to take a step back and be respectful to one another regardless of our beliefs. The reality is no one has the right to tell another person what to do. People need to come to their senses to avoid more divisiveness. Going through a pandemic is hard enough. We should all cooperate to make the hardship a little lighter.

Every day, angry anti-mask and pro-mask statements are posted on social media. The country is being divided between those who comply with the order and those who fight against it.

Some customers have gotten infuriated when store employees have denied them entrance. Cases such as customer spitting on employees or hitting them are becoming commonplace.

People are confronting physically and verbally with each other in public. Families have stopped talking to each other. Peaceful neighborhoods are now in dispute. Mask advocates have gone to the extent to demand fines imposed on those not wearing a mask, while anti-maskers shout insults.

In the last month, I have talked to people, paid more attention to social media posts and listened to the conversations of people in public spaces.

Fear seems to fuel pro-masker’s anger. They have been glued to the media, which only reports the worst scenarios and does not mention the recovery rate. Fear of dying is natural, and people have been responding with personal attacks and lashing out.

On the other hand, anti-maskers have expressed that they would rather die from COVID-19 than stop living life. They state fear won’t stop them from moving forward and recovering the economy.

Government and health officials are, in part, to blame for chaos since they have been giving contradictory statements.

The fights over masks have escalated since authorities say children need to wear a mask during school. Parents are confronting each other on social media, and rallies are taking place around the country.

Even some pro-maskers don’t feel comfortable with their kids wearing masks for eight hours, so they vote for online learning.

Anti-maskers want their children to attend school and not to wear a mask. They are concerned about the safety of their kids and comfort. One mom posted on a Facebook group that her daughter passed out during PE because she was forced to wear a mask. She claims that the heat and low oxygen caused her child to faint.

The post received more than 200 comments, some of which made fun of the mom and called her a Trump supporter. Other moms were more compassionate and showed concern for the child’s well being.

No matter where you stand on the mask debate, shoving personal and political agendas down people’s throats is wrong. Shaming and dragging people on social media is immature and hurtful.

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