By Peter Dorfman
This blog came into existence as a protest against the Hamilton Administration, aided and abetted by a thin (and, I hope, temporary) majority on the City Council, buying into a fad theory about housing density and foisting it on a town that widely rejects it.
It became “The Dissident Democrat” because its founders couldn’t conceive of associating themselves with what the Republican Party has become, but see a critical need to rethink some of what Democrats in Monroe County have become too.
It has to be recognized, though, that our observations and policy prescriptions have found a receptive audience among some Republicans here. That’s fine; we can find common ground with Republicans who reject aggressive growth at any cost policies and YIMBY housing prescriptions in particular.
This despite the fact that there is some regrettable overlap between what we propose and what some on the political Right have espoused (mostly with the intention of discrediting progressive Democrats). That can’t be helped, and no, it does NOT mean we are Right Wing reactionaries with respect to housing. It means the whole Right/Left dichotomy is a useless oversimplification if you focus on housing or any other specific issue.
Unfortunately, our audience also overlaps to a degree with the constituency that opposes COVID vaccination and masking (including some folks who put on a pretty offensive show at a recent school board meeting).
So let’s be clear: No matter what any individual might say or do, Bloomington Dissident Democrats is 200% in support of wearing masks in public places and getting vaccinated. No exceptions. Get the damn shots. Wear the damn masks.
One thought on “It’s Not Partisan”
Here is my ruminations about masks that will be published in the Crimson Post (see CrimsonPostIu.com)
Title: Science Matters
Scientific studies are often maddening. They often don’t give anyone clarity on what actions to take. Scientists will often speak in terms that seem like they don’t know what they are talking about– sometimes they fully admit they don’t know what the answer is to some question. The question “do masks work?” can be deceptive. Most of us think the definition of “work” is “prevent the spread of the Delta variant of Covid 19”. In many studies that is the definition but in others it is more specific such as “How much of a virus of a certain size (e.g .1 microns) and density will penetrate a K95 mask commonly used in hospitals?” If you read that “conclusions vary” it may be because the question being asked varied.
The best evidence is always from randomized control studies but there are few such studies of masks because of ethical concerns. The next best evidence is from what are labeled “observational” studies which examine the effect of mask wearing statistically. Often these are studies of data that are collected for another purpose. Like most studies in economics, these are always subject to the criticism that there are omitted variables causing the results.
My opinion as an outsider to the field (but often not the methods) is that the observational studies mostly point to masks being an effective tool in slowing the spread of the virus. Of course, there are some studies that show no effect or are inconclusive. These tend to get a lot of press but taken as a whole it appears that masks have some benefit.
And it is my careful observation that I look much better in a mask than without one. So mask on!
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