I know what you did last summer (and fall)
You tried to take away my rights and segregate me. And no, you don't get to pretend you didn't.
We’ve all blocked the malign forces that started to swirl around this time last year, haven’t we? The jabbed and the purebloods too, we’ve all just decided to pretend it never happened.
Let me remind you.
Because it’s important that we never forget.
(A since-deleted tweet from Matthew Yglesias, founder of Vox, Bloomberg columnist, firm believer in the current thing):
July 2021 offered the first proof the mRNA Covid vaccines were failing - far more quickly than the public health authorities had expected. Israel, the first country to mass vaccinate, went from 10 Covid infections a day in early June to over 2,000 by late July. Deaths followed.
This failure came at a bad time for the Biden Administration and public health bureaucrats. They’d counted on the vaccines to show us yet again that they were our betters - that they could end Covid and lead us all into a glorious sickness- and carbon-free future. (Aside from the private jets, natch? All animals are equal…)
At the time I imagined the fact that the mRNA shots were failing so fast would lead the White House and public health authorities to reconsider their plans to press them on the world. And maybe start to investigate what was going wrong with this rushed and barely tested biotechnology.
Instead, the vaccinators went the other way. They doubled down, pressing a two-prong strategy.
Prong one was medical: boosters. The push for a third shot ran contrary to the most basic principle of medicine, first do no harm. The vaccines had been tested on a two-dose regimen, and trials of a third dose were in their infancy.
Everyone knew boosters would briefly raise anti-spike protein antibody levels, but we had every reason to expect that those antibodies would quickly wane within months - meaning still another jab would soon be required. (As has happened.) Nor did we know what the side effects of more shots might be. (And we still don’t, not really.)
Further, despite what the vaccinators have insisted ad infinitum since last summer, it is unclear that the mRNA shots prevent severe disease and death once their ability to stop infection wanes. They certainly do not prevent it completely; vaccinated people account for nearly all Covid deaths in countries like Australia and Britain.
So the press for a third shot was at best a delaying action. Nonetheless, it was born of decent motives - the desire to do something, to reverse the failure of the vaccines.
The same cannot be said of prong two, which was not medical but political and cultural.
Governments and media outlets dropped their efforts to persuade unvaccinated people to take the shots voluntarily. Instead they began a coordinated worldwide effort to demonize the unvaccinated and press or flat-out force them to take the shots.
Public health authorities, reporters, and politicians worked together on these efforts, which took many forms:
Mandates requiring Covid vaccination for employment - even for people who worked from home.
Travel restrictions or bans, including border restrictions and the use of local public transportation.
Bans on shopping, going to restaurants or bars, watching live sporting events or movies or other recreation.
Requiring vaccination as a condition of college attendance - again, even for students who were only online.
Forcing unvaccinated people to pay more for their health insurance.
Health “ethicists” even seriously debated whether people who had chosen not to be vaccinated should be denied routine medical care or even sent to the back of the line for emergency treatment.
I believe those were the major lines of discrimination. If I have forgotten any, please let me know.
The hatred - no other word will do, really - that underlay this effort cannot be ignored.
Nor can its importance.
Last year’s efforts at vaccine coercion were the most serious effort to discriminate legally in the United States since the end of legal racial segregation in the South, and it marked a stunning reversal of two generations of efforts to expand civil rights in the United States and Europe.
Alongside the legal strictures came pronounced cultural and media efforts to frighten and demonize unvaccinated people. On September 16, Frank Bruni - a longtime writer for the Times - praised a pizzeria near his house that had barred the unvaccinated:
What if the willfully, proudly, stubbornly unvaccinated… were ever more frustrated as they sought their pleasures and ever more inconvenienced as they ran their errands? Would that wear down the resistance of at least a few of them? Isn’t it worth trying?
Two months later, Charles M. Blow, another Times columnist, went further:
Remember how it felt to have to decide between quitting your job and taking a vaccine that you didn’t want?
Or to wonder if you would ever go to another country again? Or get on a plane at all, if you were in Canada.
Or choose between letting your son go to college or take a vaccine that was not merely unnecessary for him but potentially dangerous?
Or have your voice taken from you as the world’s largest outlet for journalism suspended your access to it?
As a reader wrote me a couple of days ago: Things were very scary in July/August 2021. I thought I was going to lose my job and other rights because the pressure to get vaccinated was so intense.
And this says nothing of the even more personal consequences, the friendships lost and family relationships destroyed.
Those fights were rarely started by those of us who had not been vaccinated, we merely wanted to live our lives. It was the jabbed who insisted on vilifying us, and who could blame them when everyone from Joe Biden on down was doing the same.
The pressure peaked last fall, as the work vaccine mandate deadlines neared and the holidays and another winter of Covid approached.
We will never know how many adults felt compelled to take these mRNA jabs against their strong wishes, though the number is surely in the millions, perhaps the tens of millions. We will never how many more people who were jabbed willingly regret doing so, now that the failure of the vaccines is so obvious not even the most ideologically blinkered media outlets can ignore them.
What we do know is that the mandate have failed as badly as the vaccines themselves, aside - unfortunately - from the military, the only place where the fools in the White House who committed themselves to this course last year retain complete control.
I understand the impetus to forget what happened, forget those ugly seasons. The vaccine fanatics want to whitewash what they did, and many who resisted would now simply rather move on.
But we can’t.
The stakes are too high.
Because there will be another virus.
And we must remember the mistakes we made, the profound ethical and medical failures of our policies, so we never repeat them.