A Systems View is Not a Mask Mandate
Derek Cabrera, PhD
Derek Cabrera (PhD, Cornell) is an internationally known systems scientist and serves on the faculty of Cornell University where he teaches systems thinking, systems leadership, and systems mapping and is Program Director for the Graduate Certification Program in Systems Thinking, Modeling, and Leadership (STML). He is a senior scientist at Cabrera Research Lab. He’s authored 8 books including, Systems Thinking Made Simple and Flock Not Clock.
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When I was a child, my mother would tell me a story of her own childhood. She spoke of how the children would collect tin foil wrappers from gum and cigarette packs and make a foil ball that could be turned in to help the war effort. This was all part of a scrap drive that children and citizens participated in willingly that included gathering grease fat containing glycerine that was used for bombs and metals of all kinds used in bombers (made by an increasingly female workforce that “manned” the factories where B-52 bombers were being made). Everyone pitched in because “our boys” were “over there” fighting.
There is no doubt that those brave men who stormed the beaches of Normandy and fought in the trenches against the Nazis and the Japanese in the Pacific Rim were heroes, but they were backed by a nation at war. One nation, at war, where everybody pitched in and did whatever they could no matter how small.
Today, when asked to wear a mask or curtail one’s social engagements to win a war against a virus that is killing in numbers that exceed wartime death tolls , we are met with indignance. Who are YOU to tell me to wear a mask? Even when wearing more masks and socially distancing more would make opening the economy more possible and cause less folks to join the burgeoning food and unemployment lines?
We don’t need a mask mandate. Kurt Hahn, founder of Outward Bound said, “There are three ways of trying to win the young. There is persuasion, there is compulsion, and there is attraction. You can preach at them: that is a hook without a worm. You can say, You must volunteer, and that is of the devil. You can tell them, You are needed. That appeal hardly ever fails.”
We do not need a mask mandate. We need to let people know we need them to wear masks. Our country needs you to wear a mask. Our country needs you. As we fight this war on COVID— a war against a virus and against disinformation—we need to remember it is not about forcing people to do things against their will but asking them to do things to help the cause.
: 407,316 Military Servicemen were killed in the 7 years of WWII. The current US COVID death toll is 256,000 and the estimate by January 2021 (first year) is 410,000.