San Francisco has endured mask mandate after mask mandate. In January the citizens had enough and started revolting. A protest began, with the formation of an anti-mask movement. Physicians, civil libertarians, and many distinguished citizens joined this revolution, including one member of the Board of Supervisors. Ugh! Such revolting people!
They held their first meeting on January 25th, and to the astonishment of many, 4,500 fed-up citizens swarmed to this rally. A huge debate emerged at this meeting, as to what to do about San Francisco’s hated ordinance requiring everyone to wear masks in public. Some favored a petition, while others pushed for recalling the city’s public health officer. And some issued angry calls for the mayor of San Francisco to resign.
Many argued that the mask mandate did not follow science, while others appealed to civil liberties, in the case they made against masks.
Two days later, on January 27th, the anti-maskers presented a petition to the city, demanding “speedy relief from the burdensome provisions” of the mask order.
But the mayor held firm. The mayor would only agree to end the law “when the doctors, the Board of Health, and common sense permit.” The mayor defended mask wearing by appealing to patriotic duty, and also claimed that 99.5% of all doctors supported mask wearing.
So the leaders of the movement planned another big, anti-mask rally for February 1st. Today is February 1st, and guess what? On February 1st, the city of San Francisco backed down. The mask mandate was repealed. It was repealed on February 1st, 1919.
That’s right, 1919, exactly 103 years ago, today.
It’s hard to imagine such a rebellious event happening in the super-liberal, and super-compliant San Francisco city of modern times. I guess back then their citizens were a lot more anti-authoritarian and independent-minded. They quickly figured out that the mask mandate was bullshit.
And the strange thing is, their mask mandates didn’t last nearly as long as the mandates of today. The first mandate, requiring all citizens to wear masks, was issued on October 25th, 1918, and rescinded a month later, on November 21st. It had been the first of it’s kind in the world. Europe never had any mask mandates, to speak of. And in cities across America, except San Francisco, only barbers, police officers, and a few other professionals were required to wear masks. Masks were recommended and strongly encouraged for everyone else, but only in Frisco did an actual order extend to all citizens.
The mask mandate was in response to the Spanish Flu, which first entered the Golden Gate in September, 1918. By mid-October, case numbers in the city had risen to 2,000. The city’s Board of Health responded by banning gatherings, closing schools and theaters, and requiring any professional who served the public to wear a mask.
But then, on October 25th, they took the unprecedented step of requiring everyone to mask up. That made news across the world, because no other city in America or the world had ever done that before. Although afterward, some cities decided to emulate San Francisco.
Initially, most people complied. But as with any law, there’s always that contingent of rebels who dig in their heels. And so the city added teeth to the rule, and started issuing fines and jail time to violators of the mask order.
Soon the war between anti-maskers and the Board of Health heated up, and matters became highly contentious. In one crazy incident, a zealous special officer for the Board of Health took a shot at a man who refused to wear a mask, and his bullet struck two bystanders.
Then a picture appeared in the newspaper that stunned both the city and the world. It was a photo of a boxing match that was attended by the mayor, a few members of the Board of Supervisors, an admiral, a judge, and even the city’s health officer. And none of them were wearing masks.
A hue and cry was heard across the globe, concerning this unforgivable hypocrisy. In order to smooth over public relations, the health officer paid a $5.00 fine, and the mayor paid a $50.00 fine. But the damage had been done, and on November 21st, 1918, the mask ordinance was annulled. Thus, this first mask mandate of its kind lasted just 27 days.
Flu cases subsided, but in January 1919, a new surge of the flu pandemic hit the bay city. And it seems the city’s leaders forgot all the lessons from just two months prior. On January 17th, 1919, they issued a new mask mandate for the general public.
San Franciscans felt outraged and rose up en masse. An Anti-Mask League was formed, and held their initial meeting on January 25th, just one week after the new mask mandate went into effect. 4,500 pissed-off citizens attended. A petition was issued. Calls rang out for the mayor to resign. And by February 1st, 1919, just 15 days after the mandate went into effect, the city caved under the political pressure. The mask mandate was rescinded.
Thus, during the Spanish Flu pandemic, the citizens of San Francisco endured only 42 cumulative days of mask mandates. But these days, citizens all over our country, and all over the world, have endured far longer periods of mask mandates.
Just like in San Francisco 103 years ago, the leaders who order us to mask up, don’t mask up themselves. California governor Gavin Newsom has issued a mask mandate for all indoor public places, and for large outdoor events, such as sporting events. Yet just two days ago, Governor Newsom, San Francisco mayor London Breed, and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, were photographed maskless at the Rams/49ers NFC Championship game in Inglewood, California.
Newsom wasn’t just posing maskless for a quick photo, as he’s claimed. He was also unknowingly caught on the stadium’s FanCam, watching the game without a mask. But this isn’t his first offense. There was also the French Laundry incident that led to a recall election, and who knows how many other times where he hasn’t been caught? And Breed and Garcetti are also repeat offenders.
Where is the outrage in America over this kind of hypocrisy? Why don’t we take a cue from Canada’s Freedom Convoy, and have mass rallies against Covid restrictions, and against our leaders who order us to do what they, themselves, are not willing to do?
What has changed? Why are people so much more compliant these days than they were a hundred years ago? Are we afraid of being labeled as anti-maskers? If so, then it’s important to understand that we have nothing to fear. It appears the very leaders who order us to wear masks, are secret anti-maskers.
Apparently, they have the same doubts as so many of us, concerning the effectiveness of masks. The difference is, they preach mask wearing, while secretly harboring their doubts. They are part of the anti-mask revolution, even though they don’t want us to know it.
But these kinds of anti-maskers are hypocrites. These so-called “leaders” are actually pushing us from behind. They tell us to do things they’re not willing to do themselves.
I admire the courage of those brave San Franciscans a hundred years ago, who joined the anti-mask revolution. But it is the cowardly, anti-mask politicians who order us to mask up, then fail to do so themselves, that I find truly revolting.