On Thursday night’s episode of The Daily Show With Trevor Noah, roving correspondent Jordan Klepper filed a cringe-inducing report from Johnston County, North Carolina—just about 40 miles southeast of Raleigh—where he marched with a group of anti-maskers to what he described as “America’s new Thunderdome”: a school board meeting.
As Klepper explained:
“North Carolina parents are desperate to get their kids back into schools. But with packed ICUs and COVID cases in children four times what they were last year, new studies and the CDC are recommending masks as a way to keep in-person learning. But packed school board meetings and new stars of the right are upset. Because putting on a piece of cloth is just too much!”
Klepper spoke with a handful of these concerned citizens (at least one of whom admitted she doesn’t even vote), who cited everything from acne to carbon monoxide (?) to “breathing” (??) among the reasons masks were harmful to children. One woman, who didn’t even want to think about how surgeons are able to wear masks for long stretches of time, also didn’t seem to want to bring science into the equation at all. As she sees it, the problem with masks is, “You’re breathing in the toxins that your body is trying to get rid of.” When Klepper told her about recent studies, including by the CDC and nearby Duke University, that have concluded the importance of wearing masks indoors and when in close proximity to others—you know, like in a school—she wasn’t buying it. (The same woman also compared masks to a form of slavery and thinks that social distancing rules are the same rules that Satanists abide by.)
“I challenge anyone to put a mask on and, five minutes later, smell that funk and think it’s good for them,” she posited. We’re not sure exactly what her diet or oral hygiene routine consists of, but that’s another story. When Klepper pointed out that science and smell test seemed to be on opposing sides, and wanted to confirm that she was “going with the smell test,” her answer was a definitive “Yes!”
While the parents Klepper spoke with don’t seem too concerned with their kids ending up in an ICU, they are concerned with their children being taught about racism in the classroom. So these multitaskers used their mask issues to protest that, too.
The real catchphrase of the day, according to Klepper, was “I don’t co-parent with the government.” When he responded to one mom’s declaration of this mantra, he suggested not getting pregnant in Texas. (She didn’t seem to get the joke.) And when Klepper dared to suggest that sending her kids to public school was, in fact, “co-parenting with the government,” she was defiant: “No, it isn’t. Because you know why? We have a board of education, we also elect who our officials are; we get to have a voice.” Klepper’s response: “Right, so you work with the government. In parenting decisions.” She agreed.
You can watch the full clip above.