With the first ‘live in council chambers’ meeting in years, a considerable amount of echo hindered the process. While there were actual legal discussions at the city council meeting on April 11, the business at hand struggled against an audience that was remarkably hostile, not just to the council or the problems being discussed, but to civility itself. It seemed disturbingly familiar.
The standard for resuming live meetings included the rule that those attending must wear masks – proof of vaccination was not required – but plenty of naked faces were seen in the audience, and lots of noses as well.
The agreement for the standard on the meeting was on the consent calendar; that part of the agenda that contains matters of ‘housekeeping’ or issues that have already been discussed and agreed upon. But that item was pulled for discussion, and I noticed I had heard all of this before.
I recognized the echo – The reasons that people don’t think they should wear a mask sound an awful lot like the reasons men don’t want to wear a condom. The bottom line is that they feel their convenience and comfort is more important than the risk to your health, possibly even your life.
Check that out; they feel that their convenience is more important than your life.
During the last pandemic (for those of you not old enough to remember when AIDS hit the population) I had a number of friends who had never had any reason to use birth control. Unwanted pregnancy is not a problem for gay men, but suddenly fatal illness was – I answered questions from some very shy guys who didn’t want to die, or stop living.
Masks, like condoms, are not at all complicated.
I was raised in a belief system that sex was part of life, and health was part of sex that you needed to pay attention to, both for your own sake and your partner. But while dating – both before and after marriage – I’ve heard the most absurd and ridiculous excuses used at to why someone would not be willing to protect my health. (That’s a huge red flag on who not to partner with, so sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise. Adios! Good luck!)
While the council members last night offered different interpretation of the current statistics – cases of COVID are increasing or cases of COVID are decreasing – the fact remains that all you need to do to protect other people’s health is care enough to wear a mask. Most particularly in situations where it is legally stated that you must do so.
One council member pointed out that children under 5 are still entirely unvaccinated, and many people with health issues have additional risk. Another member on the dais offered that they were personally immune- challenged.
But the bickering continued. It’s not just about contempt for the council members, or contempt for the rules agreed upon for the meeting. This is contempt for civilization.
I just learned last night about the death of some one I went to high school with, suddenly and unexpectedly – from COVID. He was in a car with friends, felt short of breath and asked if someone could hand him his inhaler (he had asthma) and by the time they pulled the car over and got the device out of his bag, he was gone. CPR, paramedics, all for naught – it was over, he died. Yes, he was vaccinated. He still died. In Los Angeles County. Just days ago. From COVID. That he did not know that he had.
In America, there is a phenomenon known as ‘red covid’ – where conservative states have so many unvaccinated people – the death rate is 3 or 4 times higher than a liberal area. Not the infection rate, the death rate. In 27 states, coronavirus infections have increased over the past 14 days, according to data collected by The New York Times.
And yes, as one council member pointed out, we have a very, very high rate of vaccination among Culver City residents. But most of the people we interact with on a daily basis are Los Angeles residents, and their numbers are not as high as ours.
There are many factors involved in transmission, in infection, in symptoms, in fatalities.
There is one factor involved in participating in a civil society. Treating other people with respect – even the ones you disagree with politically – is foundational.