Hello, Pat! First off, thanks so much for leaving such a detailed and thoughtful comment, and for reading the piece!
So I definitely understand your frustration. It’s hard to cut through the disinformation that’s getting passed around. But there is a bright side to all of this. I’ve seen a couple recent polls (and maybe you have too?) showing that majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are all just fine with wearing masks out in public. I don’t think most people view this as a partisan issue at this point. The minority of people who think the mask issue is just a hoax, or that it’s an attempt to make people more submissive and accepting of government control, aren’t really representative of any particular demographic. They’re outliers, but of course that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to change their minds if they’re willing to hear us out! The more people who wear masks in public spaces, the better, so I think it’s worth trying to convince them to reconsider their position on this.
As for the bots, yeah, they’re a problem. And they seem to be a problem that won’t go away anytime soon. One would hope that social media sites will eventually figure out a consistently effective way to distinguish them from real, actual people, though my tech friends tell me that’s easier said than done.