Telling students about masks is DeSantis’ Karen moment

OPINION AND COMMENT

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Ron DeSantis had a Karen moment.

The governor on Wednesday was supposed to make a banal announcement at the University of South Florida on state investments in training the cybersecurity workforce. A group of high school students stood in the back wearing masks.

The governor was tripped.

As he made his way to the podium, DeSantis stopped, faced the students – and declaimed.

“You don’t have to wear these masks,” the Florida chief said, pointing at them in the face. “Please take them off. Honestly, it doesn’t matter. We have to stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but it’s ridiculous.

He did everything except demand to “talk to the manager”.

How dare these young people ruin the Governor’s photo shoot by wearing pieces of cloth or surgical fabric over their noses and mouths? After DeSantis’ outburst, some students agreed and removed their masks with embarrassed smiles.

Others kept their masks on. After all, it’s their choice, isn’t it, Governor? You said “if you want to wear it, fine” – even though your attitude said the exact opposite, as you stood there in your official capacity as governor. And how you have used these young people to advance your agenda.

The video, posted on social networkshas drawn scathing comments, and rightly so.

DeSantis’ attitude was classic Karen — slang for self-absorbed, authoritative white women who berate service workers and call 911 on black people. During the pandemic, a new breed of Karens emerged, those triggered by other people wearing masks.

DeSantis likes to brag that Florida is “the freest state in the United States”, especially when it comes to personal choice on masks. Local governments and schools have been prohibited from requiring them. But it seems freedom doesn’t apply to those who, despite the CDC’s relaxed mask advice, are still concerned about COVID.

Unlike anti-masks, masks do not endanger the health of others. So let them be, Governor. Save your anti-mask and anti-vaccine rants for FOX News. The only one who looks ridiculous is you.

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This story was originally published March 2, 2022 4:22 p.m.

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