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My family spent this past Christmas at a resort in the red part of a blue state. There was much fuss about masking and vaccination status at check-in, and many signs mandating masks indoors for the vaccinated and masks everywhere for the un-. But in actual practice, nobody cared. Some folks were masked, some were not, and I witnessed no conflicts between the two.
It seemed like a joyful sign that yes, we can all get along, and everything was going to be all right. Then one afternoon, we attended a magic show in the main auditorium, and things got grinchy.
At one point, the magician called maybe ten young children up onto the stage. These kiddos were 100 percent masked, which caused a problem for the magician, whose act depended on banter. He’d put a microphone in a kid’s masked face, the kid would say something muffled, he’d tell the kid to pull the mask down, the kid reluctantly would, and then after speaking, the kid would quickly pull the mask back up.
Every kid. Every time.
You’d think the excitement of being on vacation, being onstage, being in the presence of a magician, being part of his act, would make kids eager to drop the masks. But nope. They were well-trained. Indoctrinated, even.
It was the most joyless magic show I’ve ever seen.
I have a friend who works in an elementary school, and she’s been telling me how they do lunch these days. The kids sit across from each other at cafeteria tables, just like old times. But one side of the table stays masked while the other side eats. The eaters have ten minutes to finish their food, then it’s their turn to mask up and silently watch their classmates chow down.
That’s horrifying, right? What adult would tolerate that? Honestly?
We hear a lot about kids being resilient, but that’s not really what’s at play here. What makes all this possible is that kids are adaptable and will learn to live with even abusive conditions if the adults who create their reality demand it.
This would be depressing enough with just the masks. But add in all the social reordering that educators seem determined to make happen by making it our children’s reality, and the masks start to look like quaint accessories.
Wish we could find a magician to stuff all this crap back in a hat and wand it away. Not sure how else it disappears.Published in