The Covid authoritarians’ grip on the mandatory mask narrative is beginning to slip a bit, revealing a much-anticipated reason to smile.
After nearly 22 months of incessant demands to unquestionably slap a cloth or surgical mask on one’s face, and simply suck up that one is no longer allowed to breathe freely, there are the first rumblings of dissent among the rank-and-file corporate ranks. It is exceptionally revealing where this pushback has begun.
Enter a pair of airline CEOS to interject a breath of fresh air into a debate that had long grown stale.
Southwest Airlines CEO on masks:
"Masks don't add much, if anything." pic.twitter.com/WeTkYGlRS3
— The First (@TheFirstonTV) December 16, 2021
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly testified to the Senate that: “I think the case is very strong that masks don’t add much, if anything, in the air cabin environment. It is very safe and very high quality compared to any other indoor setting.”
Doug Parker, the American Airlines CEO, agreed with that assessment.
“I concur,” Parker said. “An aircraft is the safest place you can be. It’s true of all of our aircraft — they all have the same HEPA filters and airflow.”
Of course, no one could expect such an assessment from Delta’s CEO, who has become renown for political decision-making.
“You cannot board a Delta plane unless you have a mask on,” Ed Bastian said. “If you board the plane and you insist on not wearing your mask, we will insist that you don’t fly Delta into the future. We already have over 100 people we’ve put on that list.”
There is perhaps no more central battlefront omnipresent obsession with masking than America’s airports. Ever since the interminable “war on terror” turned air terminals into an East Berlinesque experience of shuffling, fondling, flashing IDs, scanning, undressing, re-dressing, all with as little eye contact as humanly possible, the TSA has bcome the strong arm of the state’s tyranny-conditioning apparatus.
The war on terror — long ago having ended with a whimper as far as the homefront is concerned — was but a dull prelude to the Covid doldrums that have now plagued a populace that is now exhausted with the tedium.
But it’s not just the policy, but the scolding, irascible insistence on masking that has led to confrontations with irate passengers, which in turn has prompted what Delta calls a drive to “steadily and rather aggressively” enforce the mask mandate.
This does not set well with what used to be called in the United States as airline “customers.” Now, they are apparently people to be managed by CEOs, and that extends well beyond the matter of the business at-hand, but issues such as their personal health.
Something’s got to give. And on Thursday, we got the first signs that it will.
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OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.