Every so often, a photo comes along that encapsulates a specific moment in history far better than words alone could ever do. Unfortunately for us, we’re living through a time that seems likely to be remembered for people’s selfishness and refusal to make good choices, and the pictures that may one day reflect the experience of 2020 are not particularly kind.
A picture taken on an airplane in the midst of the pandemic is a spot on example of exactly this sort of time capsule.
“I don’t think anything I’ve seen so perfectly captures why there’s no way the US is going to be getting on top of [the] COVID-19 pandemic anytime soon,” wrote Brynn Tannehill.
Every piece of this photo is perfect, and terrible in its perfection — the “Make America Great” hat, the mask that should protect others from this man instead being used to keep him quite literally in the dark, and even the mask-wearing kids behind him side-eying the camera.
The image sparked an immediate response from folks online, drawn in by the horror of it all.
But while in the future this may be a historical artifact, right now, it’s something that could be changed if people would just step up and decide to start doing what’s necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The photo was originally taken by Jessica Hazeltine, a councilwoman in Medina, Ohio.
She confirmed that it was taken recently on a U.S. flight, and that the man wore his mask like this for the entirety of the flight.
It truly is an absurd reflection of our time.
It’s because of people like this that we can’t truly begin reopening the country, because not enough people took the required precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 to begin with. But they keep themselves blind and deaf to this reality, and to the pleas of others to be minorly inconvenienced, just for a little while, because freedom.
Are we great yet, America?