NEW YORK (TNS) — Just when you thought we were finally finding our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Joe Biden tries to pull us back in.

Biden on Friday said that wearing your COVID-19 mask was a matter of patriotism, even if you’re vaccinated.

”It’s a small precaution to take that has a profound impact,” Biden told NBC News. “It’s a patriotic responsibility, for God’s sake.”

I thought wearing a facial covering was a matter of science, not patriotism.

Biden’s admonitions is just what the nation needs right now: Another way for Americans to be divided from one another. Another way for us to judge one another. To eye each other suspiciously.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which Biden runs, last week said that vaccinated people no longer had to wear masks outside, unless they were in large groups.

Biden told NBC News that the chances of the president going outside and not being around other people were slim, so Biden said he would continue to wear his mask outside.

Good for him. Even though Biden should have no problem keeping crowds at bay with all his Secret Service protection, if he wants to keep wearing his mask, more power to him.

And that goes for everybody else out there. If you want to keep wearing your mask when you’re walking alone in the park, even if you’re vaccinated, that’s your decision.

But you can’t foist it on me. Not anymore.

I’ve been vaccinated. I’m a COVID-19 survivor. According to the guidance from federal scientists, I’m at very low risk of getting the virus or passing it on. That was the whole point of getting vaccinated in the first place, no?

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said that I don’t have to wear a mask outside. So I’m not wearing a mask outside.

That’s following science. And I thought that following science, and not politics, was what we were supposed to be doing throughout all this.

But Biden is saying that if I was patriotic, I’d keep wearing my mask.

So is wearing a mask based on science or is it based on politics? Are we doing what’s right for the public health or are we merely looking to be socially courteous and to model good behavior for children?

Is it only about virtue-signaling after all?

I consider myself an American patriot. I believe the words of the Pledge of Allegiance. I stand for the National Anthem.

I believe that while American democracy isn’t perfect, it’s better than most other government systems out there, including the dark, discredited, fascistic, socialist world that some Democrats want to drag us toward.

If that’s not good enough for Biden, if I have to play a role in American mask theater just to show my patriotism, then that’s the president’s problem, not mine.

This is a perfect illustration of why so many Americans have gotten fed up with COVID-19 pandemic regulations. The guidance has been all over the lot.

We were told that the virus presented little risk. Then we learned differently.

We were told that we didn’t have to wear masks at all, never mind everywhere we went. That changed too.

And remember when we were told that there was no human-to-human transmission of COVID-19? Or that we were at great risk of getting the virus from surfaces?

Even the 6-foot social distancing guidance has taken a hit recently, with a study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology casting doubt on how safe that distance really keeps us.

The study has gotten some fierce blowback, but the CDC had long before reduced the recommended social distance in school from 6 feet to 3.

Now a facial covering is suddenly a sign of how patriotic I am.

Not in the country that I live in.

(Tom Wrobleski is a columnist for the Staten Island Advance.)

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