Anyone who’s been following the mass face masking movement knows one of the biggest back-talks from those who wear against those who don’t goes like this: What’s the difference between “no shirt, no shoes, no service” and “no face mask, no service?” The snarky passive-aggressive accusation is that those who willingly wear shirts and shoes, but not face masks, are somehow illogical, and oh-so-selfishly so.
But the better question is this: Why should face masks even be put in same category as shirts and shoes?
The first way suggests government knows best; the second, that citizens maintain the power to self-govern, and that citizens have the right to challenge the public servant classes and hold them accountable. Besides, dig deeper and the truth is even shirts and shoes don’t rightly, legally speaking, belong in the “no service” class that’s been created for them.
The unofficial history of “shirt and shoes required” signs in business windows is that it began in the 1960s as a means of keeping the hippie undesirables from mixing with higher society — that’s to say, the more culturally accepted society. The society members who cut their hair, who wore clean clothes, who bathed.
Others who’ve studied the trend say it existed at least a decade earlier, particularly in coastal communities where restaurant owners trying to maintain certain levels of decorum were plagued by barefooted beach bums. Still others argue that the “no shoes” caveat especially was aimed at furthering segregation at a time when a) shoes were more expensive and minorities were the poorer people, but b) the Civil Rights Act was in effect, and racist business owners needed a go-around. Voila. “No shirt, no shoes, no service” gave racists the perfect cover.
Interesting theories, yes?
Anyhow, some business owners serious about shirts and shoes and the need for their customers to wear both have even gone so far as to tack on the ominous-sounding “by order of the Board of Health” addendum to their service signs — despite the fact boards of health did not, and have not, issued such orders.
And that’s a key factoid to note: “Being barefoot is still perfectly legal and not in violation of health codes in any state in the USA,” wrote the Society for Barefoot Living, which tracks the matter.
“In fact, no U.S, state has a law requiring restaurant patrons wear shoes,” How Stuff Works wrote, in a 2017 post.
As for localities, Barefoot Living found a few, all in Massachusetts, that have passed footwear-related mandates. But it’s largely “a myth,” an “outright lie,” for businesses to pretend Health Department codes require footwear, Barefoot Living wrote.
Circle now to the coronavirus pandemic.
In May, CNN ran a pro-masking opinion with the headline, “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.” In early July, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order that included the phrase, “No shirts, no shoes, no mask — no service,” putting the onus on private businesses to police its customers. And all along, the fearful COVID-19 sheep have been bleating similarly: “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service.”
It’s absurd because the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” line has been perpetrated as a lie upon the American public — as a health code, when it’s not.
And it’s doubly absurd because now that lie is being recycled into a new lie, a freshly packaged lie, one that pretends as if face masking were as natural a health practice as donning shirts to shop and shoes to enter establishments — one that requires citizens to believe that shirts and shoes are duly passed laws of the land, and by logical extension, so then, too, should be face masks. Be quiet — bleat — don’t ask — bleat — do as you’re told — bleat — obey — bleat.
It’s all lies.
Snotty arguments drawing moral and scientific equivalencies between shirts and shoes and face masks should be immediately shot down with this: Show me the shirts’ and shoes’ laws. Show me the science of face masks. Show me the constitutional authority.
The fight isn’t with shoes and shirts.
The fight is against the lie, and for the right of free citizens to make their own decisions. The fight is against overreaching government, and for the Constitution. The fight is against fearful sheep who would trade a feeling of security, false as it is, for freedom — and demand an entire nation of people do the same.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.