Troubled by the infringement of civil liberties imposed in the name of curbing the spread of COVID-19, Americans seeking to speak truth to power have been hindered by the presence of their State-mandated face masks.
“There's been an unprecedented abridgment of our fundamental freedoms, and yet hardly anyone is even asking any questions!" a man standing outside Tompkins Square Park in New York City’s East Village attempted to shout through the bandana covering his mouth and nose. "Do you even want to be free?" he asked a handful of similarly-masked passers-by, who gave him a wide berth on the sidewalk, well beyond the compulsory six feet.
The only response he received was from a woman who said, "I just want to get my groceries and go home and disinfect the bottoms of my shoes.”
Another masked man, reprimanded by a police officer to move along when he paused for a moment on the nearly empty sidewalk to bask in the morning sunlight, also tried to speak truth, not to people, but to power - likewise without much success. “Do inalienable rights – like pursuit of happiness – mean anything to you?" he attempted to demand of the officer, his words muffled by his face mask. "Didn’t you take a vow to uphold and protect the Constitution?”
“You're babbling incoherently and posing a risk to public safety,” the officer warned. “If you say anything else, I’ll have to arrest you. I can inform you that the handcuffs have been sanitized since their last use.”
Hundreds of miles away, in the United States Congress, one outspoken legislator tried to raise concerns about First Amendment rights with President Donald Trump, noting the allegorical significance of the fact that, as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, the large majority of Americans remained either confined to their homes under stay at home orders or, if in public, were wearing State-mandated face masks covering their mouths and impeding their ability to express themselves.
“Allegory, what’s an allegory?” said Trump “This has nothing to do with freedom of expression. It's purely administrative. And the Democrats are okay with it, too, so I’m not sure what you’re complaining about.”
Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Senator Joe Biden, instrumental in leading the United States into war with Iraq in 2003, chimed in, “Keep in mind, no one will be free if we don’t win this war against the virus. And in any war, there are going to be some casualties. It may as well be a few rights no one was using much, anyway."
"See, told you the Democrats were cool with this," said Trump. "Now let's get back to talking about this wall."