To Mask Or Not To Mask?

With all due respect to the musings of Shakespeare, it appears that wearing a face mask (or not) during a global pandemic has become the moral and political question of our time.

And I’ll admit that I’m not thrilled about wearing a face mask whenever I leave the relative safety of home. Yet I’m also not enthusiastic about the prospect of getting ill with a virus that has killed more than 120,000 Americans and counting.

Yet the face mask dilemma pretty much illustrates the administration’s fatally flawed response to this crisis.

Clearly, months ago the medical experts — including the good doctor Fauci and his cohorts at the CDC — didn’t understand the seriousness of the virus or how it spread or even to whom. So we entered the fray with an abundance of messages that as it turns out didn’t move the ball forward even an inch: masks don’t do any good, only the old and seriously ill could get the virus and so on.

Now the messages have changed, and everyone is being urged (in some cases required) to wear a face mask and we are told younger people are just as likely to get the virus as their elderly parents or grandparents.

I worked in communication related jobs for nearly 40 years, and I can say from personal experience that there is nothing worse than giving your audience a mixed message. Once someone grabs hold of information that supports their own beliefs, changing that message and getting them to believe something else is almost impossible.

And then add into the mix POTUS, someone who defines the Peter Principle and is so inept that he can’t find his ass with both hands in the dark. But at some level you have to give him credit. He managed to turn wearing a face mask into a political issue, and if you a caught wearing one in public you are a wuss while the true patriots are out there bare faced and protecting their constitutional rights and personal freedoms.

Good grief. If we took that approach during WWII, we would all be speaking German or Japanese today. I digress.




Okay. I get it. As Patrick Henry said: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Still, I’m not convinced that these modern day patriots have given this all the thought or study that they should. Again, some mixed messages.


So I guess I’ll take the advice of the medical experts. And realistically, I don’t know if wearing a face mask does any good or not. But if nothing else, wearing one seems to say that I care enough not to want to contract the virus myself or pass it along to someone else.

That seems to be a rather straightforward message.

To mask or not to mask?

That is the question.


Published by

Rob Jewell

I’m Rob Jewell and I live and write in Woodland Park, Colorado, the City Above the Clouds. I've been fortunate. I worked for 29 years at BFGoodrich in Akron, Ohio. I started editing employee publications and ended as vice president of corporate communications. Then I started a public relations consulting company before becoming a full-time faculty member in the School of Journalism at Kent State University. I taught courses in writing, public relations and mass communication ethics. And I supervised a student-run public relations firm, called Flash Communications. During my tenure at Kent State I was honored to receive the university’s Outstanding Teaching Award. During most of this time I've been a dedicated runner. OK, jogger, if you take speed into consideration. But while my times are not much to write about, I was and am committed. For almost 30 years I ran at least 1,000 miles each year. (Except for one year when I tore my calf muscle playing tennis. So much for tennis.) Being on the road most mornings at 5 a.m. gave me some time to think. It also led to some amazing friendships that now span more than three decades. And my longtime love affair with running helped me shape my first novel, Then We Ran, which is available wherever electronic books are sold. And just so you don't think that all I did was work and run, I have other interests as well, many centering on family. My wife, Mary, was a successful and highly regarded career teacher in the Akron public schools. She now devotes her time and energy to a host of social and athletic activities in Woodland Park. My son, Brian, teaches at Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs where he is also the head soccer coach. And my daughter, Jessica, has completed her doctorate at Kent State University where she is also an administrator with the Wick Poetry Center. I've done a lot of writing during my career -- but Jessica is the real writer in the family. I'll try not to make too many errors in this blog. I'm sure she'll be watching.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.