Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Krista Kafer's "Pro-Mask" Column actually makes things worse

In Sunday's Denver Post Krista Kafer, a Republican columnist for the paper and former talk show host, offered her advice on masks and COVID19: "Want to Convince Me to Wear a Mask?" Beyond the obvious that no one should have to convince anyone of the practice, as the CDC and basically the entire medical community, as well as many business leaders, have already made the case pretty clear, Kafer's premise held promise but ultimately falls flat. Kafer, a part-time rhetoric teacher at Colorado Christian College, offers advice on the art of persuasion, as she criticizes the apparently "not nice enough" approach of pro-mask voices and advocates like Democratic governor Jared Polis.
Kafer appears to offer reasoned criticism of the wrong way to persuade reluctant mask wearers, and in her view she is using a sarcastic and ironic tone to present what she mistakenly believes to be a positive pro-mask piece of commentary. Sadly, the professor and former radio host actually downplays the seriousness of the pandemic and rising COVID19 rates, subversively validates the irresponsible behavior of mask resisters, and justifies risky and aloof thinking that put us all at risk. In doing so, she basically ensures the pandemic and related economic disaster will persist and worsen.

Everyone wants this crisis to end, and while uncertainty remains, there are some areas where we can find common ground and help our communities. We can all agree the key to re-opening schools, restoring jobs, and reviving the economy is controlling or ending the pandemic. The key to managing the pandemic is slowing the spread of Covid19. And the key to slowing the spread is consistent mask wearing, regular social distancing, and choosing to be Safer At Home when possible.

While Kafer’s criticisms of Governor Polis and others who chastise, shame, or scare people may be valid, she unfortunately fails to solve the problem or assist efforts to reduce infection. Since many people won't listen to him, we actually need her and GOP leaders like Cory Gardner and Patrick Neville to help. If the President asked, his supporters would do it. If he'd lead, they'd follow. Why can't Ms. Kafer and the GOP get this? She could have used her platform to encourage people to do better – instead she justified their decision to make things worse.

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