End the duopoly

How did wearing masks to combat coronavirus become such a political football?

Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump in June. (Photos by The Associated Press) Of all the polarizing issues dividing Americans during the overlapping crises of a worldwide pandemic and nationwide civil unrest over police brutality, the facial mask has become an odd symbol of partisan passions. But there it is, sparking discord far and wide.

While most other nations have quietly required face coverings to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, in this nation the ubiquitous pieces of paper and cloth have triggered an enduring debate over government authority versus personal freedoms.

In Southern California alone, the evidence of conflict over masks is everywhere: viral videos of public tantrums and confrontations, partisan bickering and shaming on social meeting, political tirades at public meetings — even death threats.

Last month, Orange County Health Officer Dr. Nichole Quick resigned after she started getting death threats and protesters began showing up outside her home in reaction to the agency’s countywide mask mandate. The county health agency’s director who took over her job, Dr. Clayton Chau, said he has been threatened as well. Political hot potato

Fallout stemming from the mask mandate has surfaced all around Southern California: At […]

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