Thousands of people in Jackson, Mississippi, were without water for weeks following winter storms that also wreaked havoc in Texas and revealed huge infrastructure failures. Thankfully, both Texas and Mississippi have responded with the only thing that makes sense: ending mask mandates statewide.
“The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said.
Now you’re probably thinking, “Wait, isn’t COVID-19 still, like, a thing?” To which I answer, yes. It is a thing very much indeed. Even in Texas and Mississippi.
So why scrap the mask mandate now? Because masks are for people who live in fear, just like motorcycle helmets! Oh, wait. Mississippi law requires the wearing of helmets “for all motorcycle drivers and riders,” according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety website. It even says, “Helmets Save Lives!” Huh.
But helmets are totally different from masks. Helmets are for badasses on motorcycles, while masks are just for people who breathe, which just about any lame-o can do.
In a recent interview with Jake Tapper on CNN, Tapper pointed out to Gov. Reeves, a Republican, obviously, that lifting the mask mandate will likely cause people to die.
But Gov. Reeves insisted Mississippi was fine because they had fewer cases now than they did at their peak, a drop caused in part by statewide mask-wearing.
Reeves then claimed, “I actually trust Mississippians to make good decisions.”
But when Tapper asked if people in Mississippi should still wear masks, Reeves said yeah, that was a good idea.
“If you have not received the vaccination and you’re going into a large crowd or if you’re going out to dinner, I strongly encourage Mississippians and people across the country to wear a mask because I believe that it does, in fact, reduce the ability of individuals to spread the virus. No question about that,” Reeves said.
OK, let me see if I understand this: Masks work and because they work no one needs the government to tell them to wear one anymore, but you should still wear one.
A very strong stand for a state that believes that government has no business in its citizens’ lives (except that whole helmet thing. Safety first!).
So, I am sure it will shock you to know that Mississippi lawmakers have somehow found time to address far more pressing problems like transgender athletes competing in girl’s or women’s sports.
According to ABC News, Mississippi is on track to be the first state to put restrictions on transgender athletes. The Republican-controlled legislature has passed the trans athlete ban and Reeves said he will definitely sign it because “the governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do.”
“It’s crazy we have to address it,” Reeves Tweeted, claiming that President Biden “forced the issue.” On Jan. 20 President Biden signed an executive order banning discrimination based on gender identity, which includes school sports.
Reeves continued, “The push for kids to adopt transgenderism is just wrong.”
I agree! It is wrong, in that it is not a thing that is happening. There is no push to “make” kids transgender. There is a push, however, for treating transgender kids with compassion, understanding and appropriate health care. It’s pretty horrifying that people like Reeves can’t tell the difference.
There is also no evidence that transgender athletes are taking over Mississippi sports teams. According to ABC News, “Republican legislators who pushed the bill gave no evidence of any transgender athletes competing in Mississippi schools or universities.”
Then whatever could be the purpose of such legislation?
Jarvis Dortch, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi, said, “The purpose of SB2536 is not to protect women athletes,” Dortch said. “It’s to tell transgender kids that they do not belong, that they’re not welcome.”
It’s another made-up culture wars issue, just like the right-wing conservative claim that men dress up like women so they can sneak into women’s restrooms and locker rooms for nefarious purposes, something lawmakers needed to “protect” women and girls from.
Isn’t it interesting how these lawmakers who claim they want to protect women never seem to be as vocally passionate about, say, the Violence Against Women Act or passing “red flag” firearm legislation that takes guns away from abusers and is known to save women’s lives, or passing the Equal Rights Amendment?
And, go figure, but these same lawmakers who say that government shouldn’t tell people what to do are perfectly okay telling people what to do when it comes to things like sexual orientation, gender identity and pregnancy.
But, hey, at least you don’t have to live under the heavy hand of the government trying to protect your health. In fact, you very well might die.
D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.