They don’t want to be told what to do, yet they hold public office to pass laws to let their people do just about whatever they want to do. 

We want to carry guns out in the open, they say. Get the slowpokes out of the left lane on the interstate. We ain’t going to wear masks because we don’t believe in them, regardless of what your science says. We know better than you and we’ve got the power, so you can go to hell.

These are South Carolina’s Red Snowflakes, a politicized cadre of people loyal to former President Donald Trump. They often claim to be religious, but seem to forget most of the New Testament — the part about “love thy neighbor as yourself.” Instead, they’re seemingly tickled to be able to get to the “eye for an eye” part of the Old Testament by now allowing firing squads as a way to execute those on death row.

The leader of the whiny Red Snowflakes seems to be Gov. Henry McMaster, who like his idol Trump, has poo-pooed mask mandates throughout the pandemic and downplayed medical science. Why? To keep almighty business humming throughout the worst global pandemic in a century.  

Yet almost 10,000 South Carolinians died so far. You’ve got to wonder how many wouldn’t have succumbed to coronavirus if South Carolinians, led by leaders with safety in their hearts, would have been more cautious.   

Earlier this week — before the Centers for Disease Control relaxed mask recommendations for vaccinated people — McMaster issued an executive order to end mask mandates statewide, a move that sent school boards and local governments into a tizzy to figure out how to react.  

The governor’s order, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said, rippled chaos throughout South Carolina as officials didn’t have time to prepare. But what’s worse is because most kids in schools aren’t vaccinated, they’re now more at risk during the last month before school ends. 

So what you see is McMaster, immensely sensitive to the mask-haters, trying to score political points in the ongoing culture wars in an unbridled attempt to appease his GOP base. Oh, did we mention a governor’s race is coming up — and McMaster is expected to be challenged from the right?

“McMaster is running in 2022 and wants to run on a humming economy since the pandemic started,” one observer told us. “He wants to offer himself as a smart executive weathering the pandemic and maintaining the economy that is flat out untrue. But the truth is irrelevant in politics. A humming economy campaign needs to have just the ‘crazies’ wearing masks. McMaster’s intent is to get rid of face masks using craven confusion.”

South Carolina is taking a pandemic victory lap too soon. Sure, businesses need business. But they need to remain careful so that the virus doesn’t spread.

Only 31% of South Carolinians are fully vaccinated, as of May 13. Only 38.3% have had one of two shots. That leaves six in 10 South Carolinians unvaccinated, including virtually all children under age 16.

“When the history of the pandemic in America is written,” one critic wrote us, “there will be a big chapter on the politicians like McMaster, who dithered and denied while people sickened and died from the virus — the vast majority who would have been spared if ‘leaders’ like Henry McMaster weren’t so … stubborn. Sure hope the voters remember this at the ballot box.”

Unfortunately, many won’t because they’re still falling for the Big Lie that the election was stolen from Trump and all of the little lies about the pandemic.

Keep safe. You can continue to mask up in crowded places — stores, schools and churches. And keep the masks handy because you’ll still be required to wear them on planes, trains and buses. 

Andy Brack is publisher of the Charleston City Paper. Have a comment? Send to: