Pete Ricketts is not one of them.
The Nebraska Republican governor has repeatedly resisted calls for mandatory mask-wearing in his state — most recently at a press conference on Tuesday.
Let’s remember what we know about mask-wearing: That is is our single best tool at the moment to slow the spread of a virus that has killed more than 250,000 Americans.
Ricketts’ argument appears to be that mandating mask-wearing would mean that people wouldn’t comply. (“They create resistance.”) But the whole reason we are in this mess of a third surge of the virus is BECAUSE people don’t wear masks when they should. That’s the whole point!
So is Ricketts arguing that if he issues a mask mandate even more people would not wear masks? That seems, uh, unlikely? Since, after all, if you were already wearing a mask when appropriate, it seems weird that you would suddenly stop doing it because Ricketts issues a mask mandate? And if you weren’t wearing a mask before, maybe you wouldn’t put one on after a mandate? But some people assuredly would — for fear of being penalized for not doing so, right?
In short: The “resistance” is already there when it comes to mask-wearing. (That fact is at least partly attributable to President Donald Trump turning mask-wearing into a political issue rather than solely a public health necessity.) The idea that more people would not wear a mask if Ricketts (or any other governor) said they had to is simply not borne out by facts (or logic.)
And more broadly, Ricketts’ logic as to why he is resistant to a mask mandate is entirely illogical. At a moment of crisis like this one, politics (and the desire to be consistent with past positions) needs to go out the window. This is, quite literally, about life and death. Politicians like Ricketts need to get that.
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