I’m Torn About the Mask Removal Mandate in NY

I don’t know about anyone else, but I am so tired of Covid-19. I want to take off the mask, throw open the doors, and live life to the fullest.

With Omicron numbers declining, a number of local and federal officials across the United States have announced that mask mandates will either be downgraded or removed completely. In New York State, the mask or vaccinate requirement for indoor businesses will expire on Thursday, February 17th.

For now, the masks must be worn while in schools, child care programs, medical facilities (nursing homes included), and while riding on public transportation. The removal of masks while attending class is pending the numbers after the upcoming winter break. In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams announced that individual business owners can decide for themselves if masks are still needed to enter the premises.

I have mixed feelings about this. To be perfectly honest, this piece of cloth that is supposed to keep us alive is a pain in the behind. We have to make sure that we have one on us when we leave the house, we have to make sure it fits properly, etc. As someone with glasses, I stopped counting the number of times that the lenses have fogged up.

But, at the same time, we know enough about this virus to understand that it is not done with us. It may be just a matter of time before we get hit by the next wave or variant. I think the best way to describe this moment is to be cautiously optimistic. For now, we can take a breath. But the question I feel we have to ask is how long will that breath last?

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P.S.: Randy Rainbow’s new video, THE TANGO: VACCINE – A Randy Rainbow Song Parody is right on target as usual. Based on the song Tango Maureen from the musical Rent, it’s the release we all need right now.

Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy

The Alanis Morissette song, Ironic, has the following lyric:

Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you/When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right…

At the end of 2020, Congressman Jamie Raskin went through what no parent should ever go through. His son, Tommy took his life. Less than a week later, his world again turned upside down when the Capitol building was invaded on January 6th. His new memoir, Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy, was published in January. The narrative is twofold: processing the untimely loss of his son and the Herculean task of impeaching you know who for starting the riot.

Told with raw emotional honesty and a will of iron that many in his position might not have had, this book shines a light on both mental illness and how close this nation came to losing it everything we hold dear. As both a father and a politician, Raskin leaves nothing out. His love for his family and his passion for upholding the values that built the United States radiates from the page.

I loved this book. It’s not an easy read, by any stretch of the imagination. Losing his son was an emotional trauma that by itself is a monster to deal with. Adding on the pressure of saving the American democracy is a burden that might have broken someone else. But Raskin was somehow able to have the strength, courage, and the ability to move forward through difficult times.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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