Letter to the editor: Commissioner’s approach to non-existent mask mandate rings hollow 


This is in response to the article published Sept. 13 regarding a Lewis County commissioner's meeting on mask mandates, and to address the quotes of the most vocal opponent of masks, Commissioner Sean Swope.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but there's a 500-word limit here. The picture in the article was taken December 2021, well after the N95 shortage at the start of the pandemic (more on that later).

From the article: “What I’m saying is that we will not do a mask mandate. That is what this is saying,” Swope said. “I will not vote in favor of any type of mask mandate. That’s exactly what I’m saying.” Swope said the resolution will "allow people to make their own decisions regarding their health and safety.” A draft of the proposal provided by Swope says that “Lewis County hereby affirms the right of its employees to make personal choices regarding the use of masks and face coverings, without a mandate imposed.” “We’re always talking about trust the science, trust the science, trust the science,” Swope said. “And then they did this extensive study that shows there was nothing when it came to stopping the spread, preventing the spread.” Swope said during the meeting that masking mandates were “more of a political move.” “It didn't stop the spread, it didn’t stop COVID,” Swope said. “People still got COVID.”

Rub No. 1: Good stewards of public office should provide consistent, accurate information to "allow people to make the best decisions regarding their health and safety.”

Rub No. 2: "They" did what study on what masks? Everyone in the developed world should know N95 masks work and how and why they work. That's why all my medical professional friends asked me for extra N95s during the mask shortage, because apparently, they "don't work." 

One person pictured, despite apparently knowing cloth masks do not work, chose to wear a cloth mask even though masks that do work were readily available.

In online comments, Commissioner Swope spoke of being "proactive" and "setting an example." Proactive about a non-existent mask mandate? Setting an example by choosing to wear a mask that doesn't work, then (falsely) claiming none of them work? 

It's backwards reactive pandering politics about a virus that's never cared about politics. Try setting an example by telling the truth. Way more people might have chosen to wear N95s instead of throwing tantrums at Walmart for being made to wear them if they had consistent, accurate information. Hate it until the cows come home, but truth sounds like hate to people who hate the truth.

We have sayings in the Navy, like "we don't need a NAVADMIN to fight a war" and "even a bad example is a good example of what not to do." 

Bravo Zulu, good luck with re-election. Judging by online reactions, you're in as much danger of losing as Bob Ferguson, and a well-reasoned argument can be made that neither is a good thing. For the rest of us who still won't vote for you, try to do better than just winning re-election unopposed.


Brent Ames