In a persuasive essay that is unified, coherent, and fully supported by research, respond to ONE of the prompts below. Your response must reach a minimum length of 1400 words, not including the Works Cited page. THE PROMPTS (choose just one) A. It’s Halloween Time. Shouldn’t We All Be Wearing Masks? — As I write this, CDC statistics indicate that we’re heading for a third surge of the virus. Argue for or against strict government enforcement of mask-wearing and social distancing in the interest of public health and the collective good. B. A Pandemic of Inequality? — Hispanic, African American, and Native American populations have been hit disproportionately hard by COVID. So have the nation’s poor, as well as many “essential” blue-collar workers whose jobs require personal contact with others, making it impossible to work remotely. Defend or refute the assertion that the pandemic has exposed systemic racial and/or class-based bias in American society. C. We, the Sheeple? — Democracy depends on an informed citizenry. Unfortunately, we’ve become tragically uninformed or even disinformed, our minds shrink-wrapped by groupthink. Factionalism, tribalism, and radicalism (on both the left and the right) seem to be spreading with COVID-like speed. We’re divided as a nation but comfortably united within our separate, cult-like sub-groups. This has been going on for quite a while, of course, but the process seems to have intensified of late. Have politics and the pandemic conspired to transform us from critically-thinking citizens to mindless sheep? If so, who are our sheepherders? Politicians, scientists, conspiracy theorists? The media, the internet? Other sources/factors? Collective COVID brain??? Construct an argument that examines this turn toward partisan thinking and herd mentality, assessing causes and, perhaps, solutions. SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS The ECC English Department requires a 4-5 page essay (not including the Works Cited page, which doesn’t count toward the length requirement). In the essay, do the following: 1. Express a critical viewpoint and develop an original thesis-driven argument. This argumentative essay will be well organized, demonstrate an ability to support a claim using analysis and elements of argumentation, and integrate academically acceptable sources 2. Use at least three sources; avoid over-relying on one source for most of the information; cite multiple sources and synthesize the information found in them. 3. Address issues of bias, credibility, and relevance in the sources you use. Better yet, avoid using biased sources or sources that lack credibility or relevance. 4. Demonstrate, by using at least one of these approaches, an understanding of analytical methods and structural concepts such as inductive and deductive reasoning, and/or cause and effect, and/or ethos, logos, and pathos, and/or the recognition of fallacies in language and thought. (Note: Don’t overthink this English Department requirement; you do NOT have to use all of these methods, and you do NOT have to mention any of them or even use them consciously. If you simply conduct a good argument, you’ll be using a few of them.) 5. Acknowledge and directly address counterarguments, dealing with them by respectful, effective use of concession and/or refutation. 6. Use MLA format for the document as a whole, including in-text citations and Works Cited page. Integrate quotations and paraphrases by “sandwiching” them: Introduce them with a signal phrase (So-and-so says, According to, etc.) and follow them with your analysis or commentary. 7. Sustain the argument, use transitions effectively, and use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.