It feels like déjà vu all over again. There is a COVID virus spreading and hitting the unvaccinated. There is also a debate about mask wearing. The difference is that now we have a vaccine. It is the fault of those who refused to get the vaccine and not wear a mask that we are now in this predicament.
Unfortunately, I predicted this would happen. As I wrote on May 20: “Now they (CDC) say that those who have been vaccinated, with limited exceptions, can go without a mask. The logic is that this is an incentive for unvaccinated people to get a shot. I believe that this approach will fail and instead cause more people to get the virus resulting in a higher hospitalization and deaths than there would have been under the old rules. The fallacy is that the CDC thinks that this new approach will cause those who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated. Instead, these people will put themselves and others in danger by having one less level of protection.”
Among many reasons why it was doomed is because there are people like Tucker Carlson - who has a very popular show on FOX News - who spew ideas that are dangerous to the health of the country. For example, in his monologue on July 29, in addressing the new mask guidelines, Carlson said: “It’s all enough to make you wonder if Democrats might be using COVID for political advantage. Why wouldn’t they? The pandemic has been awfully good to the Democrats so far... Once the virus came here, they rode the panic all the way to the White House and control of Congress, not to mention to a socialized economy. Now they’re betting coronavirus will help them keep power forever. Could that really be what’s happening?”
This reckless nonsense coming from Carlson and others is why there are many people who do not trust the government and will continue to refuse to wear masks or get vaccinated. Some of them will get COVID and suffer the consequences. To Carlson and his ilk, ratings are more important than saving lives. This is also the risk when you look at everything through a political lens. Public health and saving lives should not be political. For some, to get to that understanding is a hill too high to climb.
Now that people have gotten used to not wearing masks, it will be harder to get them to cover up again. The excuse of some who refuse to get the vaccine or abide by the masking recommendations is that the CDC must not know what they are talking about because they keep changing their position. Those individuals don’t understand that a virus is not stationary. The virus mutates and the situation becomes fluid. To give an analogy, it would be like having to drive to Flatbush and checking Google Maps at 6:00 a.m. and it says the quickest way is using the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. An hour later, though, it says that you should take the Belt Parkway because there’s more traffic on the BQE. No reasonable person would say that Google Maps cannot be accurate because earlier it said take the BQE and now it says take the Belt.
Another example that looking at everything through a political lens is ridiculous is the response to the four police officers’ testimony at the select committee on the attack of the Capitol on January 6. These officers put their lives on the line to protect the Capitol from attack. Some of them suffered significant physical injuries and all were traumatized by what occurred. The testimony was compelling and was buttressed by video showing some of them being attacked.
The fact that Carlson and Laura Ingram, who has her own show on FOX News, mocked these officers comes as no surprise because that is the nature of the beast. What was more disappointing was the response by those whose lives were in danger and were protected by these brave officers. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy were just two examples of Republican members of Congress who were too busy to watch any of the hearing. I expect the Republican apologists who write letters to the editor to justify their absence because the committee is a sham. Even if you believe that the committee is one-sided, it does not detract from the police officers’ testimony and the hakaras hatov they deserve.
As bad as that was, at about the same time, four Republican members of the House of Representatives - Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Louie Gohmert, and Paul Gosar - held a news conference in front of the Department of Justice complaining about how those who were arrested and charged in the January 6 insurrection/riot are being treated. Gosar stated that “These are not unruly or dangerous violent criminals. These are political prisoners who are now being persecuted and bearing the pain of unjust suffering.” It is ironic seeing the self-proclaimed “law and order” Party stick up for the criminals and trash the police officers. Just switch the defendants involved and it sounds like tactics out of the far-left “Squad” playbook.
It is frustrating that everything must be looked at through a political lens. Some things are more important than politics. Unfortunately, that message seems to be lost in our country - and we have and will continue to suffer the consequences.