Those who don't learn history are doomed to repeat it. Those who object to wearing masks probably look as ignorant as those who rejected seatbelts 30 years ago.
Just over 30 years ago, wearing a seatbelt was not required by the law in Alberta, Canada. However, the government soon introduced a mandate that required everyone to wear a seatbelt (unless they were exempt in a few extreme cases). If drivers chose not to, they were handed a fine of $25. A video from a CBC Edmonton newscast in 1987, when the mandate was first established, has recently gone viral. It's probably because there are a lot of parallels between those who defied seatbelt laws and those who now refuse to wear masks. One individual who was interviewed even states, "I think the law sucks. I think it's a stupid law." To think, these days, we wouldn't even put the car in drive without buckling up beforehand.
The newscast begins with a driver who affirms, "I don't believe that anybody should tell me what the hell I have to do, pardon my grammar. You know, that's dictating, we've got enough of that as it is. I don't need some sucker to tell me how to drive." The driver then confirms he plans to ask his doctor for a medical certificate so he won't have to wear a seatbelt when driving. (Yes, folks, there are some Canadians who are a lot like us Americans.) The video even includes Alberta's transportation minister, who, at first, didn't "believe" in using a seatbelt either. However, after he was confronted with "mounting" evidence that seatbelts can prevent major accidents and even death on the road, he changed his mind.
Does that remind you of anything? Maybe United States President Donald Trump choosing to wear a mask thousands of deaths and several months after similar "mounting" evidence that they work in the fight against the ongoing pandemic? Well, others have definitely drawn the comparison. When the video was posted to Facebook by CBC Edmonton (originally in 2016), users were simply amused. Now, however, they're seeing real-time how this sort of mentality can have deeply problematic impacts on public health. One person commented, "Well, this aged perfectly." "Why are people so scared of using security measures to protect their lives and that of others?" Another user asked. "Sometimes I find the human race very self-centered."
The video has gone viral right after President Trump decided to cancel the Republican National Conference and just days after he weighed a face mask mandate for federal buildings in Washington, DC (including the White House). Earlier this week, he even tweeted a photo of himself wearing a face mask and argued that the act of wearing one was "patriotic." He wrote, "Many people say that it is patriotic to wear a face mask when you can't socially distance." Well, perhaps the saying is correct: those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. If you want to make sure all your friends, family, and community members wear masks, share the CBC Edmonton video with them to show them how reckless they are being at the moment.