I’ve known James Akers since 2008. He’s a great guy, one of those “pillars” of our town. He’s always willing to help out on worthy projects and active with his kids and community. All four of his children are products of DSISD schools. Two of his four children have graduated college and gone on to be teachers. One is currently in college, and the fourth is still being educated in DSISD. His wife is also a great community-minded person.
What he did at the DSISD School Board meeting on Aug. 23 was satire, and it’s too bad that was lost on some of the people who most needed to understand it.
James talked about- and showed- society’s “norms”- things we do as a society, not necessarily because of laws, but because it’s what we do to live in the community.
He removed clothing to make a point- we certainly don’t expect someone to show up at a School Board meeting in their Speedo jammer swimsuits (which, by the way, covered FAR more than most of the Olympic “uniforms” we saw in recent weeks on our TVs.)
It was in no way inappropriate unless you consider a dark swimsuit that covers from waist to knees “lewd.” It WAS surprising, and that IS the point of satire. You make a point by holding up to public view absurdities.
Did James really run those stop signs, speed, and park in a handicapped space- knowing him, I deeply doubt it, but he was making a point. EX: Even when there’s no one parked in the handicapped space, we don’t park there, because we know someone who may be less able-bodied than we may need it.
When you go into many stores and restaurants, they still have signs “no shirts, no shoes, no service.” There’s nothing unhealthy about not wearing a shirt into a restaurant, but it may be unappetizing for some to see hairy or sweaty bodies.
I don’t even see a reason why shoes are considered more “sanitary” than feet, but I’ll slip on a pair of flip flops, which are barely “shoes”, in order to go in.
These are considered health norms, though, not sure you can prove that there is any health improvement by wearing shirts and shoes inside. But we do it, they are society’s norms. Without societal norms, we would basically have anarchy- every person for him or herself.
In this ensuing week, James has been interviewed a few times. He talks about how he was taught to be considerate, to care for others, to live in a community, and be responsible. That is what masking is about.
Over and over, I hear the anti-maskers say “if you want to wear a mask, wear one.” Yet, some anti-maskers have verbally and physically attacked those who do wear masks.
Masks aren’t “virtue signaling”, as one of the speakers at the DSISD meeting said. Masks are to protect each other. We keep hearing about how someone who “always wore a mask got Covid, so they must not work.”
But masking is about keeping YOUR germs in YOUR face, and not letting them get out to someone else. I wear a mask to keep you safe, and I HOPE you will show me the same courtesy.
Do a simple demonstration yourself. Standing about 4 feet from a dry outside wall, take a big sip of water, and then sneeze hard or breath out very hard, not wearing a mask.
Notice how wet the wall gets. Now, stand in front of a different area of wall that’s dry, take the same size sip of water, slip on a mask, and sneeze. You’ll notice the water stays INSIDE your mask, or at most, soaks through to the outside.
It does not end up on the wall. That is what masks do, they protect others from what we’ve got, whether it is Covid, a cold, or flu.
For years, I’ve seen pics of people in Japan wearing masks during flu season. I always assumed it was to avoid catching flu from others, but when I asked about it, I was told that when someone is sick, THEY wear a mask to keep from spreading it.
They care about their community, and because they need to go out and go to work or school or whatever, they wear the mask to keep others safe. This was long before Covid.
Why can’t we just care for our community?
We shouldn’t need laws or mandates. When the health departments say that we need to wear masks to stop the spread, it’s about stopping the spread of a dangerous virus, nothing else. It’s the same “ask”, no matter your politics, because viruses don’t ask our political beliefs, they just attack anyone that is handy and easy.
What it IS asking you to do is to be a decent human and help protect your community. With Covid, you can have it and not know it, and you can spread the virus before you start feeling bad. If we’d all wear masks for about 6 weeks, we could at a minimum seriously slow the spread, and likely end the growth of this virus.
As long as there are unvaccinated people who refuse to wear masks to protect their community, the virus will continue to use them as “petri dishes” and will continue to mutate to ever more dangerous variants.
I know that even a masking mandate won’t get everyone to wear one, because there are those who just don’t care about other people, it’s all about “personal liberty” to them. Everyone has the right to personal liberty, but you have no right to be a petri dish that infects people.
What we ask is for you to care about your community enough to wear a mask. IF we’d done that over the summer, we could have a normal school year, instead, we hear of schools or classrooms closing all over the state.
If we want our students to have a close to normal year, all we have to do is wear a piece of fabric over our faces to keep our germs to ourselves.
There are numerous studies about the efficacy of masks in stopping the spread, here’s just one: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/masking-science-sars-cov2.html
The best ways we can stop the spread is to wear a mask, social distance, and wash our hands frequently, especially after we’ve been around others. In our schools, social distancing is simply not possible.
Even washing hands is difficult, so I suggest that you send your child to school with a good hand sanitizer. If you’re concerned about your child’s mask getting dirty during the day, send several masks, so that they can change them out.
Have them put dirty ones in baggie they can close up, and then wash them out each night. Teach them how to put on and take off a mask properly (hold by the earpieces, not the mask.)
Please, let’s work together. If you don’t believe that masks work, how about an experiment. Try them for 6 weeks, and get all your friends to try them.
If you’re only around people who are masked, none of your family or you should get sick. For those of you who are anti-vaxxers, wearing a mask should be your best friend.
Remember, too, if we’re wrong, all you’ve done is wear a piece of cloth over your face for 6 weeks when you’re in public. If you’re wrong, and people don’t mask up, more people will get sick and some may die.
I say “BRAVO” to James Akers, for showing us that when we live in a society, we expect certain things at certain places because that’s how we live in society. Was it surprising? Yes, because we don’t expect someone to take off any clothing at a School Board Meeting.
But he made the point that needed to be made. We live in a society based on norms, and those norms include caring for each other, and not just doing “what the hell” we want to do all the time.
For those who fault the School Board- James NEVER broke the law, but they did cut off his mic before his time was up, so yes, they did something. I think the majority of them “got” the satire, too. Just wish the anti-maskers had understood it.
20 year DSISD area resident