Thursday, January 20, 2022



A Published Op/Ed


Summer Lane

It is a warm spring day. I stand in the parking lot with my daughter watching a surreal scene. Two women wearing cloth face masks are taking a walk on the public trail. Each of them is walking a dog. Amazing, I think, to see humans muzzled instead of dogs. And yet this is the sad reality of the world we live in; a world where the unique individuality of human beings is being traded for a collective, faceless badge of communism that is worn over the mouth and nose…and for what? A placebic sense of safety? A lofty attitude of doing your part to stop a virus that has a 99.9 percent survival rate? For this, we muzzle our children like animals and send them off to socially-distanced desks in failing, government-funded schools? For this, we acquiesce our children’s sense of security in the world and subject them to unnecessary anxiety and depression, feeding their yet undeveloped brains with paranoia about things like breathing air, and shaking hands and sneezing?

And yet, here we are. A society hellbent on victimizing the most vulnerable population in the world: our youth. With our keening, dogmatic devotion to “following the science” of the political imagination, we have taught our children to live in fear. To live inside. To stand six feet apart from their neighbors. To hide their faces in restaurants. To panic with every runny nose and cough. We have, as a society, taught our children to live as compliant, well-behaved little communists who trust fully in the all-powerful state who will surely save us from this never-ending drama; this fifteen-day pandemic that has lasted for two years.

 Imagine this. You stand in a crowded grocery store, waiting your turn in the check-out line, when you see it: a toddler wearing a cloth face mask. The mask is too big, covering more than half of his face and hanging loosely around his cheeks, obscuring all but his bright, curious eyes. Your gaze meets his, and as a smile touches your lips, his hidden face remains obfuscated behind the cloth mask. This interaction signals a cataclysmic break in what communications professors would call the transactional model – that is, the cycle of communication that occurs between two individuals, a process of encoding, sending, and decoding. Only, without nonverbal communication – in this case, facial expression, which is often more telling than words – true communication cannot and will not occur. And even if the message is indeed received and understood, the emotional intent will never be fully translated.

The psychological damage inflicted on a child who is being masked is hefty. According to an article written for the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, Neeraj Sood, PhD., and Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD., assert that masking is not only a psychological stressor for a child, but it reduces the ability of a teacher and a pupil to communicate in the classroom. This, of course, should come as a shock to no one. How many times have you had to ask a cashier or a secretary to repeat something they said to you simply because you couldn’t gauge their message thanks to the mask they were wearing?

Sood also says that masking the face eradicates all vestiges of positive emotions such as smiling and laughing, while simultaneously amplifying negative ones. Additionally, masking increases the chances of a child developing anxiety and depression. Honestly, is anyone surprised by this? Does anyone, in any sane universe, believe that muzzling a child like a circus animal will actually do anything positive for his or her psyche?

We live in a time of false stress. The television tells you to be afraid, and so you are. Your social media friends echo in robotic unison, “Mask up! It’s what nice, caring people do!” So, you do. The sign outside of the clothing store says to wear a mask…so you put one on. Get in line. Put on your badge of communism. Keep your head down. Do what you’re told. And don’t forget to put a mask on your two-year-old. That, of course, is absolutely essential.

I present to you an alternative path. A path of quiet but effective rebellion against the tyranny of our times. In my opinion, there is far too much acquiescing to the iron-fisted rule of fear that is being pressed down upon us. There is no reason – none – to mask a child. Not for a minute, not for an hour. Not ever. Masking up for Disneyland? Ask yourself if it’s worth it. Is it worth it, parent, to teach your innocent child’s still-developing brain that wearing a face mask in public is even relatively normal? Acceptable? Commonplace? A child’s view of the world begins forming immediately from birth, and you are tasked with protecting your child from the abuse and chaos of our corrupt and sodden culture.

Will you stand against the tide, a pebble in a stream, and give your child a sane, normal childhood? Or will you go with the flow and hope, with time, that it will all just “get better,” all the while halfheartedly “wishing” that your school district will allow your child to show his or her face in public? Parents, speak up for your children. They are the hope and future of tomorrow, and if you do not protect them, absolutely no one else will. Like it or not, it all comes down to you. Do not fail them.



Sood, Nareej and Bhattacharya, Jay. (2021) USC Schaeffer. Mandatory Masking of School Children is a Bad Idea.

 All opinions are my own. All images shared on this website are royalty-free, license-free images. 





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