My friend Tim Wilund emails:

You should do an article on all the whiners and bitchers that can’t take the masks and quarantine and remind them of the sacrifices their parents and grandparents had to endure during WWII and the Great Depression. The stories my mom, dad, aunts, and uncles told DOES make them the Greatest Generation.

Tim’s right, but the big difference then was that, during World War II, the federal government took the lead in convincing everyone what the right thing was to do, and the country was united in supporting the war effort. The Pentagon had a whole public relations campaign to convince Americans to make do with less of everyday items, from gas to sugar to toothpaste. The public was even told to wear more layers of clothes in the winter in order to use less oil because it was needed for military purposes — and they did.

Compare that to today, when the White House has never given us a clear mandate on mask-wearing, leaving it to governors, mayors, and county executives to implement their own orders, creating a patchwork of different policies depending on where you live and which party’s in charge. You’d think that, like a world war, a pandemic would be a time for both the leadership and the citizenry to be willing to make sacrifices that would bring the battle to an end sooner — but you’d be wrong.

Even when the science is repeatedly shown to work — for instance, a report from South Carolina this weekend saying the parts of the state that have implemented mask mandates have seen COVID-19 cases drop 46% — there’s still reluctance, arrogance, and ignorance by those who think that only what they want matters.

I’ll admit that, for me, there’s quite a bit of selfishness involved in my scorn for the mask-refusers. After retiring a couple of years ago, Martha and I hoped we’d be able to spend much of the next decade traveling around the globe, visiting places that have been on our go-to list for a long time. But because of the refuseniks, most of the world is closed to Americans, and doesn’t look like it’ll be open again soon.

It seems like we can’t go more than a few days without seeing footage of yet another group of covidiots in a large gathering with no concern about the infectious virus that has impacted more than 5.4 million Americans. It’s time for the TV networks to treat those videos the same way they treat the shirtless nincompoops who run out of the stands and onto the fields during sporting events. It has long been their policy to cut away from such incidents in the belief that showing them merely promotes copycat activity. The same rule should be applied to images of the maskless morons at the supermarket, or a concert, or (especially) the Lake Of The Ozarks.

Instead, news outlets could serve up daily reminders that the vast majority of Americans are wearing masks, and social distancing, and doing their parts (as I write this, 35 states already have mask-wearing orders, covering nearly 75% of the American population) because they understand that, like our ancestors, we’re fighting a global war that requires us to make sacrifices.

Even if the enemy can only be seen through a microscope.