Choose life. Wear masks.
My wife and I decided to choose life and have been wearing masks even after the CDC prematurely, and foolishly, told the fully-vaccinated they could stop wearing them back in May. While many of you might complain about the annoyance of wearing a mask at grocery stores or at the gym, we have to constantly worry about the survival of our immuno-suppressed daughter, Nusayba. Her health is always at stake, and much more so due to the reckless ignorance and arrogant entitlement of my fellow Americans who still mistake selfishness for freedom and have decided to embrace the virus over masks, vaccines, and other life-saving measures.
While millions in this nation are choosing death, Nusayba is a Stage 4 cancer survivor and a liver transplant recipient who had to fight to celebrate her recent 5th birthday. She is just one of millions of Americans with a compromised immune system, thus making them fatally susceptible to COVID-19. As I wrote in May before the latest surge, it remains to be seen if fully vaccinated individuals with immuno-compromised systems will produce enough antibodies to ward off the virus, which is why whenever you choose to wear a mask indoors, you’re choosing to protect not only yourself but also vulnerable people like my daughter.
As such, I didn’t need the CDC’s recent recommendation, a reversal of its earlier position, to tell me and other fully vaccinated people to mask indoors in “substantial” or “high spread'' places to curb the rise of Delta Variant infections. My family readjusted our lives over the past two years just to give Nusayba the best chance of surviving. We have to protect her, and her two siblings, from a virus that is now sending more kids to the hospital.
Like many parents, we are currently debating whether we should send Nusayba and our 6-year-old son Ibrahim to school next month, where they could finally interact with kids their own age. Ibrahim spent his entire kindergarten at home through virtual learning. As parents of three kids under the age of 7, trust me when I say we’d love to send our kids to school to regain our daytime hours to work, do chores, pay bills, stare at the wall, or maybe, inshallah, sleep. Like most caretakers, we are overwhelmed and exasperated, and now sitting on a mountain of Legos that stab our feet every night. Yet how can we send our kids back to school when there are still no vaccines for children, and there are no vaccine mandates for educators?
The CDC’s recent recommendations for schools do provide a glimmer of hope. They recommend indoor masking for everyone, including visitors, who step inside a K-12 setting, regardless of their vaccination status. Although this is certainly comforting, we know it’s impossible for kids to sit still and wear their masks throughout the day. Also, we have to prepare for anti-mask activists gearing up to protest schools that require mandates. (I’m sure they’ll multi-task between this and trying to ban CRT across the nation.)
Meanwhile, the Delta Variant threatens to kill nearly 1,000 people per day by October. As a result, President Joe Biden is finally doing something that he should have been doing in the Spring, and will reportedly implement a new policy, possibly by Thursday, under which all federal employees have to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or required to wear masks at all times at work and be tested regularly. A recent Kaiser Family Fund survey revealed one of the three major reasons why vaccine-hesitant individuals finally got vaccinated is when they learned that not being vaccinated will prevent them from doing certain things. I’d say going to work and earning a living is a big “thing,” and as such a big incentive to get vaccinated. At the very least, these unvaccinated federal employees will be forced to be fully masked, and regularly tested.
That’s literally the least that Biden could do while leading this absurd country where Republicans have swapped out being supposedly “pro life” for being literally “pro plague." House Minority “Leader” Kevin McCarthy tweeted this week, “Make no mistake - The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state.” He’s absolutely correct about one thing: we who wear masks definitely “want to continue to live.”
Earlier this year, conservatives planned “mask burning” parties while Tucker Carlson, the same hypocrite who recently whined about being confronted at a Montana Fishing shop and called “the worst human being alive,” asked the right-wing base to confront and harass mask-wearing strangers.
I was a first-hand recipient of that immense outpouring of love and affection after I tweeted last month that “I see packed restaurants and people inside stores and malls and their kids aren't wearing masks. I feel I'm in a horror movie.” The right-wing media ecosystem, led by Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire site, picked up the tweet, weaponized it to fuel their culture war, and used it as Pavlovian bait for their conditioned base that sent me the most hateful, racist, and unhinged barrage of emails I’ve received in a while. Why? All because I was concerned that this Delta variant was going to explode in America and kill unvaccinated people in a country where people mock the life-saving vaccines and masks we have more than enough of as others around the world pray every day to receive these medical supplies to save their families.
Many members of America’s death cult are simply following in the self-immolating footsteps of their infantile god-king, Donald Trump. Despite surviving COVID-19 thanks to the best doctors and medicine in the world, Trump responded to the CDC’s new mask-wearing guidance with an angry call: “Don’t surrender to COVID. Don’t go back!” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, whose state now leads the nation in COVID-19 cases, decided to follow suit by pushing back against the CDC’s suggestion to mask in schools. Instead of promoting vaccines, he’s selling “Don’t Fauci My Florida” merchandise.
The people buying this stuff will rage against vaccines and masks, with many of them getting sick or dying. They will infect their loved ones and friends. They will serve as laboratories and incubators for the virus, allowing it to live, mutate, and thrive, growing more strong and resilient to vaccines. The infected will continue to strain our already burdened and inefficient health care system. They will force other countries to close their borders to U.S. travelers. They will force businesses to shut down, which will in turn harm the economy and people’s livelihoods.
Sadly, my kids are more mature, thoughtful, and responsible than this. They didn’t burn their masks, throw tantrums, kick random strangers, or participate in a violent insurrection. They understood the situation and decided to adapt, wear masks, and invest their time and attention in activities that give them joy without recklessly compromising their health or others.
But the final sobering truth is that we can’t write these people off and wish them “Bon Voyage” as they race towards the Grim Reaper while wearing MAGA hats. We need them vaccinated, or at the very least masked, so the rest of us can attempt to move on and still live this beautiful thing called life. And the truth is, I want people to live and thrive, even those who wish only cruelty and suffering upon me and my family and tell me to “go back to where you came from.” I guess you can say I’m pro-life.
And I’m selfish. I am a father who has to protect my family and my immuno-suppressed daughter. If the prospect of sickness and death isn’t enough to inspire you to wear a mask and get a vaccine, perhaps keeping people like my daughter safe and healthy might inspire you to change your mind.
Let’s hope you choose life.