Dear America, a mask ain’t no big deal!

Jennifer Smith
3 min readJul 18, 2020
Our family collection of Disney face masks.

Dear America,

I live in one of the most conservative counties in Maryland. In past years, it’s not unheard of for me to see multiple trucks flying giant confederate flags on the back of the truck bed. Gun racks are fastened in the cabs of pick-up trucks. Random wackadoodle conservative bumper stickers like-”My dog is a Republican” are common. I recently had a man thank me for teaching history because these “young people” just did not understand history with all of the monuments they were destroying.

And yet, despite being a suburb of the large city of Baltimore and a feeder suburb of D.C., our virus rate as of this writing is only 1.73%. I am able to go grocery shopping, visit restaurants, and connect with friends without much fear of the virus. I can spend the day at my outdoor pool, and I no longer even have to sign up for an assigned time slot. My county schools are likely to begin the school year with in-person learning without too much concern.

And why, why do you think this is? Why has my conservative county been so successful in lowering our virus rate over the past few months? Of course, some will argue that the smaller population is why our rates are so low. And, it is true, we are less populated than other counties, and we have more farmland and rolling hills. However, my county is not isolated. Residents here commute to large cities of Baltimore and D.C. on a daily basis.

Tests here are plentiful. Thanks to Governor Hogan’s efforts, Maryland is not lacking any tests. And for most of the summer, results returned quickly. I decided to get the antibody test just because I wanted to. I am a teacher, and many kids were very sick in March. So without even having to contact my doctor for a prescription, I scheduled an appointment at a clinic and got the antibody blood test within 30 minutes. My results came back in two days — no antibodies. My graduating high school senior decided to attend “senior week” in Ocean City, Maryland, against my strong protests, and only on the condition that he relegate himself to the basement for 2 weeks following the trip. Instead, he stopped at a clinic on his drive home to get the virus test. Within 3 days, he received the negative result and was happily leaving his stuff all over my house again.

And what else? Everyone here wears a mask. Everyone. Everywhere. We wear masks. Home Depot, Walmart, grocery stores, restaurants, to the local snowball stand, and the local farm where I purchase my produce. Even in the common spaces at my outdoor pool. I have yet to see a person not wearing a mask while I’ve been out. Not one. Governor Hogan’s efforts to manage the virus were taken seriously, and his mask mandate has been effective.

Life is returning to normal here.

If my conservative county can get it together, what’s wrong with the rest of you?

Jennifer Smith

Dreamer, thinker, and writer. Author of Substack’s Voice and on Twitter: @Jennifer_Smith5