Wednesday, July 23, 2014

People Who Wear Masks

People who wear masks while advocating a political point of view have always baffled me. I know that they believe in the causes they claim to support- but I have to question the wisdom of the masks. Here is a photo taken a few years ago showing the Basque Separatists declaring a truce. I never thought of a truce as something to be ashamed of. What is so shameful about advocating for Peace?

Regarding masks in general, it would seem to me that if the cause were a just one, I would want my face to be associated with my point of view. I would take pride in my position. On the other hand, I do recognize that in some countries the mask may be necessary, especially if your views are not in sync with the repressive government with which you may be in contrast. 

But the mask does seem to take away from the perceived legitimacy of the argument. I cannot imagine George Washington or Thomas Jefferson wearing masks to obscure their identities. Because I have been raised in a free society it is hard for me to imagine the necessity of taking such measures. As a child I quickly understood that only the bad guys wore masks, with the possible exception of Zorro.

Once mask wearing begins, it doesn't stop. It snowballs into a mindset of deliberate obscurity, in which no one takes a personal stand for what they believe in. Even the Police and Military, when they don masks, detract from the honor of what they do to protect us. But given the danger of what they are up against, namely other people in masks, well, I understand that this may be necessary, although it does make me somewhat uneasy. Where does the responsibility lie when justice is obscured behind a mask?

Halloween is an appropriate use of masks, as is Mardi Gras. Here is a group of revelers in the Big Easy last year during Fat Tuesday. The masks are rather gruesome, but they are about fun, and not clandestine in nature. In my opinion, Political Views and Law Enforcement should be conducted in an atmosphere of transparency. It is only through a spirit of openness and honor that we will ever be able to face one another, and ourselves. And wouldn't that be something...?

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