With luck, this will be the last time I write about COVID-19.
You see, some experts believe we may finally be nearing the end of this wretched, soul-crushing, nation-defiling pandemic. That means no more news stories about thousands of Americans dying daily, no more anti-maskers punching people out, and no more Facebook posts about robots in your bloodstream… OK, that last one will probably stick around.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the virus will magically go away, like it was supposed to do 18 months ago.
No, scientists believe the coronavirus will never be eradicated, but we will learn to live with it—sort of how we accept the lethality of flu season. The reasons for this watered-down, fragile optimism are because infection rates are declining, new treatment options are being discovered, and a kids’ version of the vaccine may soon be available.
Furthermore, vaccination rates are still climbing. This is the result of all those mandates that are supposedly un-American, but which are overwhelmingly popular with actual Americans.
Republicans told us that mandates were going to crush the economy, but economists “are not seeing any widespread disruptive effect” from them. And all those patriotic conservatives who would never cave under pressure to get the shot? They totally did, and “the number of people who ultimately refused the vaccine is smaller than the number who first said they would,” due in large part to people “not really willing to lose their jobs.”
But aside from pointing out the empty talk and grotesque hypocrisy of so many right-wingers, how else can we sum up this global semi-Armageddon; this national catastrophe that was so thoroughly horrifying, future generations will laugh and cry simultaneously while reading history books about the Trumpian clusterfuck that marks our era?
Well, we can point out that this “has been an unnecessarily terrible pandemic,” in that of “the more than 700,000 Americans who have died from it, nearly 200,000 probably could have been saved if they had chosen to take a vaccine.”
Yes, that’s 200,000 people who did their own research.
In addition, we can also point out that conservatives have made it clear that they must be coerced into doing the bare minimum for society, and that even though they like to talk about American values and the Founding Fathers, they don’t really understand their country or know their history.
For example, it should be common knowledge that the “United States owes its existence as a nation partly to an immunization mandate.” During the American Revolution, George Washington ordered immunizations against smallpox for all his troops. The decision “was as important as any military measure Washington adopted during the war.”
One would also think the law-and-order types would know that the constitutionality of vaccine mandates was settled over 100 years ago, with the Supreme Court declaring that “real liberty for all could not exist” if people acted “regardless of the injury that may be done to others.”
But no, they must’ve skipped that day in history class.
In truth, conservatives had several reasons for refusing to get vaccinated, all of them bad, some of them truly insane. Here then, for posterity’s sake and in their own voices…
The Top Ten Reasons Why Right-Wingers Declined the Vaccine:
- “I sincerely believe the coronavirus is no worse than the flu.”
- “I sincerely believe the vaccine is a government plot and has octopus things in it.”
- “I don’t believe either of those things but I’ve been saying it for months now because I can’t admit that I was wrong and/or have been lying all this time.”
- “Freedom means I get to do whatever I want, so fuck you.”
- “My family and friends will mock me if I get the shot, and I am exceptionally weak.”
- “Nothing is a problem unless it affects me personally.”
- “I won’t catch it because I run this damn country and I am oh so very special.”
- “God listens to my prayers, not yours, so I will never be sick.”
- “I am willing to die just to own the libs.”
- “If I do catch the virus, I’ll make a heartfelt video so that everybody will feel bad for me.”
It’s an impressive list, chockablock as it is with fear, ignorance, arrogance, delusion, and paranoia. And I’m sure those rationales will look even more admirable in future decades. Yup.
In any case, nearing the end (hopefully) of this nationwide calamity, what have we really learned? Well, among other things, we’ve discovered that Americans are not and have never been united, that the Republican Party is willing to kill its supporters if it offers even a short-term political advantage, and that nobody is willing to get a shot in exchange for a free donut.
That is indeed hard-earned wisdom.
Featured image by GovernmentZA/CC BY-ND 2.0