Sometimes, during a long drive or while suffering on my elliptical machine, I like to daydream. When I was younger, these daydreams often involved being fearsomely wealthy, much better looking than I really am, or in close quarters with a Titanic-era Kate Winslet. In my senescence, however, I am permitting myself to daydream bigger. As an example, I like to wonder,
“What would have the media of 1950, or even 1970, made of the COVID-19 pandemic?”
Talk about a fantasy, right? I’d like to think that the serious men who ran newspapers back then would have handled it as a non-partisan issue, as many things were handled back then. (Alright, K-Graham would have no doubt blamed it on Nixon somehow, but still.) I want to believe that the reporters would have viewed Fauci and his ping-pong policy with an appropriate amount of skepticism, because in those days newspapers considered it their duty to “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable”.
The endless partisan propaganda about “frontline workers” and all the people whom the media selects for its most cherished accolade, “exhausted“, would be mostly notable by its absence. They would have held Trump to account for an effective response to the pandemic, rather than playing an endless game of “gotcha”, and they would have held Biden to account on his pandemic policies, rather than penning Dear-Leader-style panegyric to a man who, by all accounts, is alternately confused by, and terrified of, the world around him. I doubt that the cigar-chomping desk chiefs of the era would have spent ten seconds listening to the “wet market” theory, a repugnant fabrication that haunts both the Left and the Right to this day.
Oh, and the “transitory” lie regarding our Carter-era inflation never would have dared to rear its loathsome head.
Surely they would have ferreted out the truth about the number of people, particularly older people, who die with COVID rather than from it, something that is just now being admitted by the health bureaucracies in many countries. I believe that the media would have been vigilant regarding the removal of personal freedoms, and leonine in their efforts for the restoration of same as soon as the situation permitted. Last but not least, I’d like to think that we wouldn’t seen the current utter politicization of COVID beliefs, in which lefties wear meaningless masks while driving solo and carpet-bomb social media with exhaustion porn while righties froth at the mouth regarding even the most harmless of policy responses thanks to random and often just plain false information from fly-by-night news sites.
Oh well. It’s just a fantasy, and no more likely to come true than the one where Christian Horner calls me to explain that next year’s RB18 will fit a 225-pound driver and that they know just the guy, and it’s me, and also Geri “Ginger Spice” Horner would like me to come over for dinner. And it hardly matters, because unlike the practitioners of Ingsoc, the media-governmental complex in this country does not quite have absolute control of the Narrative. How do I know? Well, just look around!
And how ironic that it’s the fictional home of Ingsoc, the United Kingdom, that is breaking ranks. The putative reason — that two-thirds of British subjects have reached the always-moving target of “fully vaccinated” via a booster shot — is obviously meaningless. The only people who really want boosters are the elderly… and the COVID hobbyists who have chosen to structure their previously meaningless lives around Being The Best At Following All The Rules And Making Sure Others Do Too. Everyone else has given up on injecting yet more mRNA garbage into their bodies just for the pleasure of publicly indulging in a conformity fetish.
Outside the cities where COVID serves in place of church or religion, everyone has given up on wearing masks, compulsive handwashing, elbow-bumps, and all the other dystopian paraphernalia of compliance. The “Omicron wave” that was preparing to make frontline workers even more exhausted has proven to be almost meaningless; stories about overwhelmed and exhausted hospitals, when examined in detail, almost universally resolve to, “We fired everyone who wouldn’t get triple-jabbed and let some of the rest go because there was no elective surgery happening, so now we are understaffed.” This isn’t a side effect of the disease; it’s a side effect of incompetent policy.
As are the “supply chain issues” that have led to empty store shelves across the country. Everybody is out of everything; getting a new car or any other big-ticket item is starting to have a very Soviet feel. Whom do you know? Your humble author cashed in a marker to get his new truck built — more on that in a few weeks — but I’d also like to order a new Maverick hybrid. Nothing doing. They’re sold out for the 2022 model year. In January of 2022. The same is true for everything from sportbikes to bespoke sportcoats. The only stuff that’s available is Chinese-made, because China managed the pandemic as a non-partisan issue where the primary priority was going to work. They didn’t force-feed four trillion dollars of junk money into their economy. So right now is a great time to buy an LCD monitor or Apple product, but if you want anything decent made in the West you need to wish in one hand and… you know the rest.
And wait until people actually get around to reading the tax provisions of the recent Biden bills. They will go nuts. The payment providers like Paypal and Venmo have already agreed to share data with the IRS… but even Facebook Marketplace is now warning people they’ll need to provide an SSN in order to sell on the site. Even though Facebook doesn’t handle transaction payments. Guess where that data will go? Everyone’s real-world taxes are about to skyrocket.
This country is convulsing. People won’t go to work. Not because of welfare or “COVID bucks” — despite what your wealthy uncle says, there aren’t a lot of “COVID bucks” out there for anyone except the hospitals. Rather, people are giving up on work because they have lost hope. The media has convinced them that a 1-in-1,000 killer disease is the authentic Apocalypse, and they’d rather spend the days before the end of the world smoking weed in front of Netflix. Can you blame them? Imagine you lived in a city where you couldn’t be evicted and you could gig-work your way into eating a few meals. Why would you work a square job? Everything you’d want to do with that money is locked down, restricted, unavailable, sold out, no longer available.
A massive lie has been inflicted on the American people. We have been told that COVID-19 will forever change our lives. It won’t. It will kill some of us, in lower percentages than any pandemic in recorded history, and the rest of us will go on as before. Except we won’t, because we keep running into structural changes being made in this country and this economy in the name of COVID-19. Yes, I know some of you have lost family and friends, as have my brother and I. But we lost family and friends in the years before, too, and in no greater numbers.
If what I’m seeing in the streets and reading in the samizdat is reliable, we are about to wake up from that lie and its consequences. We are going to demand a return to normal life. We are going to return to work, pick up where we left off, get on airplanes, see our family… in short, do everything that your humble author never stopped doing. I keep reading on Instagram about people who are seeing their family for the first time in two years. Imagine abandoning the people who love and need you because it makes you feel pleasantly compliant. I kept moving, kept flying, kept driving. My son and I drove across the country multiple times in the past two years. Nobody died or even got sick. We rejected the reality of CNN and HuffPo, substituting our own. And we were right.
There is an election coming in ten months. We have a stark choice. Not between the mostly imaginary policy positions that purport to divide Democrat and Republican, but between compliance and freedom. Let that be foremost in your mind, and choose accordingly. If Ms. Ocasio-Cortez decides that she’d like to return the country to reality, the same way she vacationed in reality when she went to Florida for a maskless, no-restriction holiday recently, then she’ll get my vote. If the most pro-“freedom”, pro-3/4-ton-truck Republican out there thinks that we need to lockdown “just to be sure” then he can be kidnapped by an angry ostrich for all I care.
In other words, let’s live in reality. The way we would have done in 1950. Scratch that. The way I’d like to think we would have done in 1950. That’s my fantasy: that we could have lived in reality. Does that make any sense? It makes as much sense as masking-up in a car, anyway.