Don Rogers: The real battleground states |

Don Rogers: The real battleground states

Don Rogers

Trump Country gleams bright red on the COVID map.

Seems like a good time to punch my monthly checklist to implore mask wearing. The price for being a moron about this shows like an angry wound in two broad brush strokes: one across the South, and the other right up the Midwest.

This may well cost the president his re-election. I’m not saying he will lose. Sure, the polls look even worse for him this time around. But there are polls, and then there are the polls.

Republicans may be less inclined to wear their face coverings, but they do turn out with their vote. They’re responsible in one way if reckless in another.

It’s a reckless sort of freedom anti-maskers advocate, risking the lives of elders, leading to longer lockdowns, lengthening the grip of the disease on those larger freedoms.

Indeed, their reckless side seems to have become a point of pride. The rallies, the close crowds. The president got away with it. Herman Cain did not. He’s not the only one.

Cost of hubris

Old goats and young turks who were under the Trump tent — or spell — are staying there, along with the biblically righteous. Increasingly, though, suburban women are parting company. At least that’s what the polling indicates.

The Republicans are in danger of losing what they had viewed as their iron grip on the Senate as well as the presidency. Even Georgia and Texas are said to be in play now.

If so, and that’s a big if, they’d best count their Supreme Court gains while they can because this president risks being remembered as providing the biggest boost to the Progressive movement of perhaps anyone, ironic as that sounds. And he’ll have done it through pure recklessness.

The behavior fits a pattern. With facts, about the Russians, over the levers of government, the limits of adoration.

But if anything, his response to the pandemic will be what undoes him. People do get sick and some die, including supporters being reckless themselves, fools to take his lead.

The beginning of this end, should it come to pass, was the president in February acknowledging privately he had a far deadlier disease on his hands than any swine flu. He had another choice with the news of what had reached our shores: The responsible one.

What freedom?

By now the evidence is clear. A mask will help in congested spaces outside as well as indoors. We’ve long worked through the WHO, the CDC and experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci at first discouraging mask wearing in an earnest, if damaging, effort to make sure health practitioners had enough. No one should be confused about this now. We’ve known better for months.

We also know face-coverings aren’t perfect, which makes social distancing and frequent hand washing crucial for limiting spread, too. Turns out, masks are better at protecting others from our spray than as protection from people around us. So wearing one is an act of neighborliness, of caring enough to look out for others. I wear mine for you, and you wear yours for me.

It’s a reckless sort of freedom anti-maskers advocate, risking the lives of elders, leading to longer lockdowns, lengthening the grip of the disease on those larger freedoms. Selfish.

Maybe it’s only fitting, then, that just as voting reaches peak, the pandemic has painted Trump Country COVID red. Blame recklessness for these battleground states that break blue, that show they’ve finally had enough.

Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at or 530-477-4299.

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