Bianna Golodryga, Alexander Vindman, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger Tells Anti-Maskers “Screw Your Freedom”

Come with me (and wear a mask) if you want to live.

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The number of Republicans preaching common sense COVID-19 safety measures (vaccines, masking) is horrifically few, especially after Donald Trump and his ilk politicized the pandemic response. But one prominent Republican, former California governor and action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger, has repeatedly advocated for a return to sanity.

The Terminator has modeled and encouraged wearing masks on his social media, and posted a video of himself getting vaccinated. He also called out the rising tide of fascism and totalitarianism in an eloquent and stirring video where he compared the January 6 Capitol riots to Kristallnacht.

Schwarzenegger recently appeared in a YouTube discussion with CNN’s Bianna Golodryga and retired Lt. Col Alexander Vindman to promote Vindman’s new book, Here, Right Matters. Vindman, as you may recall, was a key witness in Trump’s first impeachment proceeding, where his testimony provided evidence that resulted in a charge of abuse of power. During the interview, Schwarzenegger was asked about anti-maskers and COVID-19 misinformation.

Schwarzenegger responded, “There is a virus here — it kills people … and the only way we prevent it is get vaccinated, get masks, do social distancing, washing your hands all the time, and not just to think about ‘Well, my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.’ No, screw your freedom.”

Schwarzenegger continued, “Because with freedom comes obligations and responsibilities … We cannot just say, ‘I have the right to do X, Y and Z.’ When you affect other people, that is when it gets serious.” Schwarzenegger also compared masking to following traffic rules, saying “You cannot say, ‘No one is going to tell me that I’m going to stop here, that I have to stop at this traffic light here. I’m going to go right through it.’ Then you kill someone else, and then it is your doing, this is the same thing with the virus, … You cannot go not put the mask on because when you breathe, you can infect someone else. And you can infect someone that then gets sick and may die.”

The iconic action star elaborated on his point, saying, “Look, I am an expert on how to build a bicep … There’s no one who knows more about a bicep than I do because I studied this issue for 50 years. And the same is also with the virus. There are people out there who are experts that studied this year after year after year … Dr. Fauci has been at this probably for his entire life, why would you not believe someone like that?”

He kept coming back to the issues of individual freedoms vs. the needs of the community. “We have to come together rather than fighting and always just saying, ‘According to my principles this is a free country and I have the freedom to wear no mask.’ Yeah, you have the freedom to wear no mask, but you know something? You’re a schmuck for not wearing a mask. Because you’re supposed to protect your fellow members around you, it’s just that simple.”

The message Schwarzenegger is delivering is simple and effective and true. Why do so many people insist on not understanding that their “freedom” shouldn’t mean the freedom to willfully put others in danger?

(image: screencap)

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Author
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.