Your right to free speech ends six feet from where my nose begins.


“Everyone should just wear a damn mask.” –Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)


There is overwhelming evidence that wearing masks mitigates the spread of COVID-19. That is why Governor Evers issued the mask mandate. As cases continue to rise across the state, the decision to pass a mandate is reasonable. But some people refuse to be reasonable, such as State Senator Patrick Testin.


Testin has called the mask mandate a “heavy-handed approach” and said that it should be up to individuals to decide whether or not to wear a mask. That would be fine if face masks only protected the person wearing them.


However, face coverings work by catching droplets from the person wearing them, protecting the people surrounding them. To ensure the safety of people working together, everyone must wear a mask. Testin knows this, but he chooses to spread misinformation, a plague that is every bit as deadly as COVID-19.


The argument about constitutionality is ridiculous. If requiring that masks be worn in public places is unconstitutional, then so is requiring that clothing be worn and requiring that people use safety belts when riding in a vehicle.


To address face masks as an issue with opposing opinions is missing the point.


On the one side, you have people armed with facts. On the other side, you have insecure people who are armed. Journalists are tasked with finding and reporting the truth. Too often what we get in place of actual journalism is crossfire.


For that reason, some of the news deserves to be called fake. Real news presents an objective reality, but that is now relegated to the opinion page.


When I worked for a Gannett publication, the managing editor decided to run a recurring column by a local man on his encounters with UFOs. Granted, it was assigned to the opinion page, but this was allowed space in a newspaper with an ever-shrinking news hole. There were other columns written by logical thinkers that could have run.


Things have only gotten worse. The Internet has put a seemingly endless amount of information and misinformation at everyone’s fingertips. Social media outlets, by providing platforms that would appear to have arbiters, only make it more difficult for people to discern fact from fiction.


This is why wearing face masks, a no-brainer to curtail a pandemic and keep Americans working, becomes a point of contention.


It is this two-sides-to-every truth fallacy that make it possible for an unhinged man to hijack an entire political party and threaten our democracy in a way that seemed unthinkable not so long ago.


Wearing face masks is not a freedom of speech issue. It is a public safety issue. When will publishers make the decision to look at the spectacle of a staged protest and say “there is no story here.” Toddlers will cry when something is wrong, but sometimes they just cry for attention.


For more information on how face masks prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit