The perennial American struggle between government and the veneration of individual liberty is boiling to a head again: Some citizens are balking at expert guidance for them to cover their faces, in order to check the spread of the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump is hardly helping, with his message that masking up is intrinsically weak, liberal and un-American. Last week, he mused that Americans who wore face coverings were trying to hurt him politically.
The lesson of history is clear: Tell insubordinate Americans to wear a mask if you must. But if the government tells them to strap one on, there’ll be trouble.
‘PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES’
The catch: Trump’s primary allegation — that voting by mail leads to “massive fraud” — is just completely untrue. Contrary to the President’s claims, there are many more cases of eligible voters who didn’t receive their mail ballots on time, and therefore potentially were disenfranchised, than there are examples of people fraudulently casting multiple ballots, according to a CNN review of data from a half-dozen recent primaries. Officials are trying to resolve these issues before November.
It would be a “waste of paper” for foreign countries to print fraudulent ballots, according to Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida who runs the United States Elections Project and is a leading authority on voting data and statistics. “The legally valid (ballots) printed by election officials have many safeguards to protect against fraudulent voting,” he tweeted.
Postcard from Phase Two, NYC-style
Though hailed in theory and badly needed for many small businesses, these openings may not have a huge impact on the daily life of the city. Of the office workers who still have jobs, many are opting to work from home instead of trekking into Manhattan. And al fresco dining has already been the norm for weeks in Brooklyn, where sidewalks bustle with block-long barbecues, and dinner parties are seated bleacher-style on brownstone stoops. (The novelty of getting your hair done after more than 100 days of lockdown, however, is still a big deal.)
Oddly, it’s the parts of the city that have been anointed as lawfully open that still often feel the most shut down, in part due to social distancing requirements. Subway stations are suspiciously silent, with none of the mass shuffling and murmuring of the pre-coronavirus commuting rush. Narrow storefronts feel cavernous, as signs admonish customers to queue outside. In contrast, the forbidden waters of Rockaway Beach were full of splashing kids and adults on a recent weekend.
While large swathes of the city still remain painfully stalled, there’s evidence on every street corner that many New Yorkers aren’t waiting for any official all-clear.
‘She’s not allowed to write a book’
In case new books about first lady Melania Trump and by former national security adviser John Bolton aren’t enough, there’s another potential paperback bombshell on the way this summer: Mary Trump, the President’s niece, has penned a book described as a “revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him.” The book is set to be released on July 28, according to the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster.