I’m writing in response to the cartoon featured in the opinion section on December 20, 2020, with the caption: “One way to decrease anti-mask rhetoric.” The cartoon suggested that the solution would be to encourage ‘anti-maskers’ to tie a bag over their head and suffocate.
I have no problem complying with the mask mandate, and am quite sympathetic to the difficulties facing policy makers around personal liberty and public health.
As a pastor, I’ve attempted to help my church navigate through this difficult time, we are complying as an institution while striving to facilitate dialogue in a community with very different perspectives.
To that end, I have navigated through conversations with people with deep concerns that policymakers are taking steps that are reminiscent of those in Nazi Germany.
Advocating for a different perspective is made much more difficult when your newspaper prints a cartoon suggesting that the best way to “decrease anti-mask rhetoric” would be if all those people could just suffocate.
In a culture that is so taught with anxiety, this cartoon is worse than troubling — it’s dangerous. Somehow, despite polarizing disagreements, we need to affirm that persons holding perspectives other than our own still have the dignity of being humans.
We need to practice this difficult work of dialogue which is challenging, constructive, and honest.