As we’re all encouraged to wear face masks to protect ourselves and others from the spread of the novel coronavirus, some are using their face masks to make a statement. In the case of Michigan Republican state senator Dale Zorn, the statement he’d like to make is apparently a declaration of support for the Confederacy.
On Friday, Zorn wore a mask that sure looked like the Confederate flag on the floor of Michigan’s state senate. As he explained in an interview with WLNS-TV, the mask was made by his wife, who certainly made a choice to go with this specific pattern and not, say, an old pillowcase, and urged him to wear it in public. But according to Zorn, the mask was not a Confederate flag, it was just fabric that looked suspiciously similar to the Confederate flag, okay? “She wanted me to wear it today, so I did. I told my wife it probably will raise some eyebrows, but it was not a Confederate flag,” Zorn said. Nothing to see here!
According to Zorn, the mask he wore is “more similar to the Kentucky or Tennessee flag.” Aside from the befuddling question of why he would be wearing a face mask representing a state that he does not live in or represent, here’s what the Kentucky state flag looks like:
And here’s Tennessee:
Zorn continued to shoot himself in the foot by adding that while his mask was most definitely not the Confederate flag, all students should be learning more about the Confederacy. “Even if it was a Confederate flag, you know, we should be talking about teaching our national history in schools and that’s part of our national history,” he told WLNS-TV, adding that we should be teaching the history of the Confederacy to ensure that we don’t repeat the “atrocities that happened during that time,” though he, unfortunately, didn’t spell out what exactly he’s referring to. “Our kids should know what that flag stands for,” Zorn said. When he was asked by the WLNS-TV reporter what he believes the Confederate flag stands for, his answer was to the point: “The Confederacy.”
Over the weekend, Zorn issued a weak, “I’m sorry you were offended” apology that also seemed to belatedly acknowledge that it was, in fact, a Confederate flag draped on the lower half of his face. “I”m sorry for my choice of pattern on the face mask I wore yesterday on the Senate floor,” he wrote. “I did not intend to offend anyone; however, I realize that I did, and for that I am sorry. Those who know me best know that I do not support the things this pattern represents.” He added, “My actions were an error in judgment for which there are no excuses and I will learn from this episode.”
There sure seem to be a lot of Confederate flags in Michigan these days. Wonder what that’s about!