What an incredibly stupid time to be alive. Every day Republicans and their network, Fox, are telling people NOT to get vaccinated. That COVID-19 is either a hoax or just not a big deal. That being required to wear a mask is akin to living in Nazi Germany. That being unvaccinated is patriotic.
But it’s not. It’s idiotic. People! Are! Still! Dying! From! This! Virus! And the vast majority of deaths at this point are among unvaccinated people.
There are plenty of people who can’t get vaccinated, including kids under 12 and people with compromised immune systems or serious health conditions. Which is why the willfully unvaccinated people are especially awful. A living example of selfishness and stupidity.
Honestly, it’s a strange strategy to tell your base to NOT save themselves from a deadly virus. Then again, Republicans believe that dead people vote, don’t they? Oh, wait. Dead people only vote for Democrats.
Being sick sucks. Even a mild cold can ruin an entire week, let alone COVID-19. Look, I’ve had cancer. Twice. And if I could get a shot that would help protect me from getting it again, I would do that. But it’s not an option. But I can, and did, get a shot to protect me and everybody else from COVID-19.
People are scared of cancer. They believe it’s real. Well, most people do. There are always going to be people on the fringe who believe that every health problem is a conspiracy by Big Pharma to make money. It would certainly help if Big Pharma didn’t legitimately have skeletons in its Big closet.
But when I was diagnosed, everything happened so fast. I got a referral for a surgeon, had surgery on my birthday, and was promptly sent to a medical oncologist where my body was pumped with really horrifying medication, frankly (one of the medicines I got was a very bright red, like I was getting an infusion of Faygo Red Pop). I lost all of my hair. Then I was sent to a radiation oncologist where I was microwaved like a bag of popcorn.
To make a long story short, it was not fun. But also through it all there wasn’t a sizable population of Americans claiming that cancer was a hoax and that everybody being treated for it was a dupe. Cancer hasn’t been politicized like COVID-19 — not on a national level with one of two major political parties egging on their followers to die to own the libs.
It bums me the fuck out, frankly. And it’s scary.
I mean, the folks who are the loudest and most adamantly anti-vaccine because they say it’s government overreach and mind control and against our freedom are the same people who say that the people who stormed the capitol were just tourists. Which is to say, the very people who are crying fascism are also cheering on fascism.
Instead of fighting the virus, we’re fighting each other. And each side is not armed with the same arsenal. On one side, you’ve got people who are like, “Okay, I’m going to defer to the scientists and medical experts on this whole COVID-19 thing” and then you have people who will beat the shit out of a grocery store clerk (or worse) who asks them to wear a mask. There is no middle to meet in here.
We’ve all lost a lot in the past 18 months. Hundreds of thousands of Americans lost people they love, and yet somehow that’s not a motivation to the anti-vax creeps. They would rather scream maskless about shutdowns than do anything to alleviate the cause of the shutdowns. But instead of coming together in order to achieve a common goal during a time of crisis, we’re coming apart at the seams. And one side believes seams exist, and the other doesn’t.
I’m getting on a plane for the first time in well over a year. I am not excited about it with the Delta variant and all, even though I’m vaccinated. And I am hopeful that there is no one on my flight who throws a fit over the federal transportation mask mandate. But if there is, I’ll do my best to film it, adding to the archive so that our children’s children will one day be able to relive this very, very stupid and selfish time.
If you’re not vaccinated, then get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, then encourage people who aren’t vaccinated to get the shot. It’s the patriotic thing to do, if you’re into that. It’s the moral thing to do. It’s the only real way out of this.
The Republican response to COVID-19 is eerily similar to their response to HIV/AIDS in the early 80s. They ignored it, made jokes about it, and didn’t care about the people who were dying. That they are doing the same thing during another health crisis should disqualify them from holding public office.
Vote them out.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.