A few thoughts on COVID-19, masks and manliness

By Sandy Compton
Reader Columnist

As we approach our national Election Day, polls report that Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by 35 points among women, but only by two points among men. The good news is that the polls have Trump losing, and the gap is getting wider every day. 

Sandy Compton.

As a man, though, it sickens me that a large minority of male voters in the United States of America — supposedly the home of the brave, land of the free, defender of democracy and truth — will consider casting a vote for president for a man who has called United States soldiers suckers and losers, who has ordered children locked in cells away from their parents for no crime beyond being an innocent pawn in the immigration controversy, who has lied about so many things that we have lost count, who demonstrates no respect for those of a different race or gender than his own, and has not the grace to listen to another’s opinion without butting in or ridicule. I have seen him compared to Abraham Lincoln by some supporters, and that is an insult to Lincoln’s legacy as an emancipator. I think Trump would lock up anyone who disagrees with him, given the chance. 

Just the fact that his careless and megalomaniacal need for attention recently led directly to many of his staff and other, more innocent, visitors to presidential and political events — not to mention he and his wife — to contract the coronavirus should be enough to expose him for his true self. He cares nothing for anybody or anything else except for his own agenda and his own image. 

As a man, he fails the tests of protecting family and caring for himself, made obvious by his insistence at leaving the hospital before his disease had run its course. His disdain for and ridicule of those who wear a mask in public to help stop the spread of the pandemic — at the advice of others who know much better than Donald Trump about medical matters — is reprehensible. 

I see many people — particularly male — following his example. I also note that the COVID-19 count in local counties is climbing. More than 600 new cases were reported in the Idaho panhandle between Oct. 18 and Oct. 24 — 138 on the 23rd alone. Montana reported more than 1,000 new cases in that same time period. Nationally, there were more than 74,000 new cases, and 1,000-plus deaths. In the panhandle and in all of Montana, 100% of intensive care units are full. Now is not the time to fool around with a known killer.

Wearing a mask might not seem manly, but if you or someone you know — or don’t — becomes sick — or dead — because you didn’t wear one? That seems to me to be the result of a childish fear — that of not looking “cool.” And that from any adult human, male or female, president or not, is very uncool.

Thankfully, Trump’s actions and attitudes about the pandemic have helped expose his incompetence and lack of leadership more fully and convinced many of his base to reconsider. If we ever have COVID-19 to thank for anything, it will not be the 210,000-plus American dead so far or the incredible financial, spiritual and physical costs. It will be that it ushered our worst president ever out of office. 

If you are not wearing a mask in public spaces, reconsider. If you are not respecting others’ social distancing efforts, reconsider. Those who think they can’t catch COVID-19, believe a mask is an impingement on their personal freedom or think the disease is a hoax that will disappear on Nov. 4 are fooling themselves and endangering themselves and others. Trump is wrong about COVID-19 — as he is about many things — and the numbers are climbing again — all over our country. 

If you haven’t voted, do so. If you are a man considering voting for Trump, you might ask yourself if that’s the manly thing to do.

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