Who Are We Protecting? Or, Oops, Is It Whom?
Friday night, we invited friends over for pizza. I had put an extra leaf in the table and after everyone was properly distanced and had removed their face covers the conversation turned to masks. Should they be mandatory and who, or is it whom, were we protecting anyway?
We sat and talked, two males and two females married to each other. Oops, that is not quite right. The girls were married to the guys and the guys were married to the girls. Well, you get the picture, two old white married couples. Oops, I did not mean to imply only white straight people stay married.
So, forget about gender, race, age, or sexual orientation. Four adults sat around the table talking.
“I wear a face mask to protect me.”
“Really? Doesn’t my wearing the mask protect you?”
“They should be mandatory. People in the grocery store aren’t wearing masks. I got yelled at the other day.”
“You weren’t wearing a mask? You came to our front door wearing one.”
“No, I was yelled at for wearing a mask. What about my First Amendment Rights?”
“Well, it’s hard to believe a piece of fabric really protects us. What about gargling with Listerine?”
“My mask prevents molecules from the transmission into the environment. I’m protecting you.”
“But you don’t have the virus.”
“I don’t have the virus yet.”
“Right. Your mask protects you.”
“We wash our hands. Why not wash out our mouths. We should be gargling.”
“Would public gargling be considered a First Amendment Right?”
“Why isn’t the media reporting on gargling?”
The discussion was interrupted by television coverage that a statue of Calvin Griffith, a former owner of the Minnesota Twins, was removed for racial comments he made in 1976. Other incidents of statues being taken down flashed across the screen. Many of them not peaceful. In Seattle police questioned who, or is it whom, to protect when activists injured and killed two fellow protestors. Police across the country faced similar challenges. Who to protect?
The conversation resumed.
“So, who, or is it whom, are the police protecting?”
“They were protecting them.”
“No. The police were protecting US.”
“Shouldn’t they protect everyone?”
One of the men put his head in his hands and like the grandfather in the movie Moon Struck lamented, “I’m so confused,” and then ask, “why can’t we watch baseball?”
“It’s not on.”
So, is it who or whom?
Who is the subject of the verb and whom is the object.
In the sentence, who/whom are we protecting? The subject is we. Are is the verb. Therefore, the answer is; whom are we protecting? Oops, that is right unless it is wrong.
. . . just saying
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