I agree with the sentiments expressed in this column, but I do wonder about the messages one might be sending by wearing a mask 20 feet away from people when outside.
If that's what someone wants to do, I am all for it. But if someone would rather enjoy the outdoors mask-free when the closest person is 20 or more feet away, then I would hope said individual would be allowed to enjoy those maskless moments without any push back.
Of course, every circumstance is different. Someone who has tested positive for COVID and is not yet free of the virus, for example, and people who have been near someone who tested positive and are "self-isolating," may feel more obliged to wear their mask even when outside and 20, 30 or 40 feet away from others.
As to your larger point, I think you nailed it with "their purpose is to get us riled up and pissed off ..."
Boy howdy, and how! It can be frustrating, and it can be tempting to hit back with one's own verbal assaults, but that's letting their tactics control the tenor of the debate. On the other hand, one can't come across as a pushover. Case in point -- the first Trump-Biden debate.
I think Biden had to match Trump's aggressiveness or be seen as weak-kneed. It was an ugly debate to watch all the way around, but Biden did have to respond forcefully the first time out so the tone would be more level-headed the next time out. He got the job done.