Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing serial existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

A counter-protestor holds a sign during the Michigan Conservative Coalition-organized "Operation Haircut" outside the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan on May 20, 2020. (Photo: Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

'A Misbegotten, Warped Freedom Obsession Is Killing Us': Video of Trumpian Anti-Mask Jerks Goes Viral

"Freedom is wasted on people who think coughing on people is freedom."

Julia Conley

Author Anand Giridharadas on Friday shared on social media what he called an "end-of-empire" video featuring a compilation of Americans refusing to wear face masks in public places, purposefully coughing on others, and claiming their "freedom" is being trampled by public health guidance urging social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"A misbegotten, warped freedom obsession is killing us," Giridharadas tweeted. 

In the video, one woman curses at and tries to hit a store employee after being refused entry for not wearing a face mask; another screams at workers and reaches over a plastic barricade to assault them; a man tells a Costco employee he doesn't have to wear a mask because he "woke up in a free country," and one woman tells a grocery store manager that she can't wear a mask due to a medical condition and that she can't use a delivery service because she wants to buy "private" items.

Several people also cough on and spit at essential employees. 

"Freedom is wasted on people who think coughing on people is freedom," Giridharadas said.

The video follows a number of small but well-publicized demonstrations by people calling on state officials to fully reopen the economy and end all guidance urging social distancing and mask-wearing to prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

Many of the anti-quarantine protests are organized and promoted by conservative groups with ties to Trump administration officials, including the Convention of States, whose past supporters include immigration official Ken Cuccinelli and HUD Secretary Ben Carson; and the Michigan Freedom Fund, which Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has donated to regularly. 

Contrary to the message pushed by the demonstrations and the people in the video, the vast majority of Americans support safety measures to stop the spread of Covid-19. 

A HuffPost/YouGov survey published this week showed 62% of respondents said wearing a face mask is a matter of public health, not personal preference. More than half of those surveyed said they are currently wearing a mask whenever they are in a public place where they might come into contact with others.

Large majorities of respondents from across the political spectrum reported that they view mask-wearing as "respectful," not a sign of "weakness" or unnecessary fear of the virus. 

If President Donald Trump and other right-wing politicians demanding an end to public safety measures have their way, Giridharadas tweeted, images of the vocal minority shown in the video will illustrate the downfall of U.S. society in its current state. 

"If we somehow save ourselves and come back, they will be forgotten eventually," he wrote. "But if we continue to decay and fall, these will be studied in history classes in some society saner than ours."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on 'Outright Bigotry and Hate'

"Instead of apologizing for her Islamophobic comments and fabricated lies, Rep. Boebert refused to publicly acknowledge her hurtful and dangerous comments."

Jessica Corbett ·


Win for Alabama Workers as NLRB Orders New Union Vote After Amazon's Alleged Misconduct

A union leader said the decision confirmed that "Amazon's intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace."

Jessica Corbett ·


'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

"It's time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal," said one advocate.

Julia Conley ·


'That's for Them to Decide': UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won't Be 'Helpful' to Global Poor

One U.K. lawmaker asked when the government would "start putting the need to end this pandemic in front of the financial interests of Big Pharma?"

Andrea Germanos ·


Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

"We cannot allow climate criminals, like Shell, to plunder in the name of greed," said Greenpeace.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo