Gov. Ron DeSantis Closes the Curtain on COVID-19 Theater

“You do not have to wear those masks,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke Wednesday to a group of high-school students at the University of South Florida. “Please take them off.”

“Honestly, it’s not doing anything,” the Republican governor said. “We’ve got to stop with this COVID theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”

Another ginned-up cycle of media hyperventilation over DeSantis’ remarks ensued, as it does. Many of the same pundits that supported state mandates requiring prepubescent girls to wear unusable masks were horrified at the sight.

“If Florida is so ‘free,’” asked MSNBC’s Joy Reid, “why does DeSantis think he has the right to bully and give orders to other peoples’ kids?”

“Incredible predictable how conservative ideology goes from ‘hey it should be my choice; dont tell me what to do!’ to ‘we are *abolutely* [sic] gonna tell you what to do once we have the power to do it,’” tweeted MSNBC’s Chris Hayes to his 2.4 million followers.

Setting aside the fact that neither Hayes nor Reid seem to understand what the words “if you wanna wear it, fine” mean, there is an extraordinary concession in all these hysterics.

Progressives believe that it’s bullying to ask kids not to wear masks, but it’s not bullying for the state to coerce them to do it. Either they can’t comprehend the distinction between compelling someone and offering them an option—which would explain a lot about their political philosophy—or they dishonestly conflate the two.

Watch the video of the DeSantis event and you’ll see that some of the students kept their masks on and others were smiling as they took them off. Of course, if a governor’s office had forced students to mask up, as college administrators have been doing for two years now, that wouldn’t have bothered progressives at all.

Fact is, I can’t think of a single conservative legislator who has proposed forcing anyone not to wear a mask or not to get vaccinated. Almost exclusively, Democrats are able to impose coercive COVID-19 policies.

And the same politicians and pundits that spent two years trying desperately to exile and denigrate anyone who opposes their mandates are now deeply troubled by gentle prodding.

Hayes repeatedly accused mask critics of belonging to a “death cult” when it was politically convenient. His MSNBC colleague Mika Brzezinski referred to COVID-19 as “the DeSantis variant,” in part because the Florida governor opposed mask mandates.

Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist, was advocating that plane passengers who refuse to wear masks be treated as terrorists only last month. I could give many more examples.

One of the most eye-roll-inducing lines from President Joe Biden—who once threatened DeSantis with government action because his “patience is wearing thin”—was his contention the other night during the State of the Union address that we should “stop looking at COVID-19 as a partisan dividing line and see it for what it is: a God-awful disease.”

Then, of course, there’s the small issue of DeSantis being objectively and morally correct about mask wearing. In January, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, issued an executive directive that allowed parents to choose whether their children wore masks. The entire left-wing punditsphere accused him for infanticide.

The White House’s favorite columnist, Jennifer Rubin, remarked that Youngkin had “brought DeSantis anti-mask nuttery to VA.” Within a couple of months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its super-scientific mask guidelines just in time for Biden to announce them in the State of the Union speech.

By this time, nearly every state had followed Youngkin’s lead. No explanation yet from Rubin, or any other Democrat, on why Biden has engaged in this “nuttery” as well.

We still don’t know the full extent of the damage COVID theater has had on children. The state restrictions, interventions, and mandates implemented in the second half of 2020—when we already knew better—were never grounded in rigorous science. It was more a rite of leftist COVID-19 religion.

DeSantis simply told some children to stop living in fear. That’s a healthy, patriotic, and scientifically sound thing to do.


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