Ever since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance on May 13 of this year that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer need to wear masks in most indoor settings, while unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks, a magical thing has happened in this country, and that is the huge increase in vaccination rates everywhere, as evidenced by how few people are still wearing masks indoors in any setting. Before May 13, the fully vaccinated percentage of the population stood at about 35 percent; after May 13, it appears that percentage leapt to upwards of 70 percent. Incredible! Herd immunity achieved overnight!
A sign regarding mask policy at a Walmart in Chantilly, Virginia, on May 20, 2021, shortly after the CDC issued new guidelines. Note how the wording does not require unvaccinated customers to wear a mask as a condition of entering the store. Photo by Famartin.
It’s heartening to look around at fellow citizens in shops, grocery stores, and restaurants and assess by an eyeball estimate that even more than 70 percent of adults appear to be fully vaccinated. In some places around the country, the number of fully vaccinated adults could even be as high as 90 percent, based on visual estimates. What’s holding the vaccination numbers back for the total population is the lack of a vaccine suitable for children under 12. In some shops, young children are almost the only ones wearing masks.
The CDC has statistics putting the nationwide percentage of fully vaccinated people at about 50 percent as of late July. Fake news! Anyone can waltz into their local big box store, where signs at the entrance clearly advise unvaccinated customers to don masks before entering, and see with their own eyes that the CDC’s numbers don’t tell the whole story. The CDC must be gathering data from people outside of stores, or even from ones who never set foot indoors at a public venue. Since the CDC is obviously part of the Deep State, their numbers are not to be trusted by honest Americans.
It’s the honor system in operation, see, and since Americans are honorable people, they would never falsely represent their vaccination status in order to satisfy their own selfish whims and perverse ideas, not when behaving that way could endanger their fellow Americans, among them the honestly unvaccinated, such as young children and those who are immunocompromised. No, when it comes to weighing the evidence of one’s eyes and belief in the honorability of fellow Americans against the statistical mumbo jumbo disseminated by a cabal of Deep State scientists at the CDC, the scales definitely tilt toward siding with all the American patriots cruising maskless down the aisles of Walmart and Costco.
Supermarket social distancing signs in Ireland in August 2020. Follow the blue sign floor tiles! Photo by Ear-phone.
According to the CDC, as of July 25, 2021 the percentage of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 was 49.1 percent. That’s an increase of only about 14 percent since May 13, 2021. Herd immunity won’t be reached until the percentage of fully vaccinated is over 70 percent. Considering how vaccination rates have been slowing, it’s unlikely Americans will achieve herd immunity before the onset of cold weather forces more activities back indoors for the winter.
Judy Garland as Dorothy in the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming. In Kansas, the state Dorothy called home, the COVID-19 vaccination rate is 44.9 percent, 4.2 percentage points below the national average. In a land of alternative facts somewhere over the rainbow, the vaccination rate is much higher – away above the chimney tops, in fact.
Absent widespread vaccine mandates, it could be that a vaccination rate of about 65 percent will be a limit past which we cannot move due to the political and cultural divisions in the country, as honorable American snowflakes dig in their heels like recalcitrant children and refuse to become socialist tools by doing the right thing for others, even passing up bribes from state and local governments. They may kill themselves for the puerile satisfaction of owning the libs, and so be it, but in the meantime they will serve as incubators for new, possibly more dangerous coronavirus variants, and they will spread their affliction to everyone else, even within the magical realm past shop doors.
Lee-Jackson Day is not a holiday that is generally recognized throughout the United States, and even in Virginia, where the holiday originated, most people are unaware of it. Yet it persists, tied to the Friday before the third Monday in January, which happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day. For nearly 20 years at the end of the twentieth century, the two holidays were bundled together in Virginia on the same day, making it an even more peculiar observance. Since the separation of Lee-Jackson day to the Friday preceding Martin Luther King Jr. Day, some of the minority of people who regularly note its passing are the state workers who get Friday off, and therefore a very long weekend on account of the national holiday the following Monday.
Giving some state workers an extra day off is a poor excuse for continuing a holiday that most people have little enthusiasm for observing. There are small groups of Southern history enthusiasts who gather in Lexington, Virginia, every year on the long weekend (long, but not very long, because it includes Friday, but generally not Monday), where both Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are buried. Washington and Lee University, a private institution in Lexington, and the place where General Lee was president from shortly after the Civil War until his death in 1870, only recently started distancing itself from the Confederate memorializing controversy by refusing to lend its facilities to these Southern history groups and by canceling classes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The Southern history enshrined by observances like Lee-Jackson Day and by monuments to the Confederacy is a peculiarly blinkered history, however, and for enthusiasts of that narrow vision to act perplexed when some other folks object is either daftly naive or disingenuous, more likely the latter. In the Jim Crow days of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when many of the Confederate memorializing was first officially sanctioned as a means of reminding everyone who was still really in charge in the South, fans of the Confederacy could be quite open about their views and not be concerned over anyone’s objections. It was easier then to point out such people for what they were, even if it was harder to do anything about it.
Arlington House, former home of Robert E. Lee and his wife, Mary Anna Randolph Custis, with Section 32 of Arlington National Cemetery in the foreground. Photo by Protoant.
Martin Luther King Jr. was the civil rights leader most instrumental in changing all that in the middle of the twentieth century, and for his accomplishments he has been nationally recognized with a holiday on the third Monday in January. Discrimination against black people was certainly nor restricted to the South, but since it was there where it was most culturally and institutionally ingrained, that was where Dr. King held his rallies, boycotts, and marches.
The regional holiday of Lee-Jackson Day is a holdover from the Jim Crow era, and for the people of that time, who could be open about their white supremacist views, the holiday certainly represented something less innocuous than the claims today’s Southern history enthusiasts make for it. Some of those Confederacy fans understand that, but they also understand that these days it behooves them to be less open about their views, in great part due to the legacy of Dr. King. Nowadays they are often as not passive-aggressive in defiance of others’ objections to their glorification of white supremacy, saying “Oh, does this [Confederate statue, battle flag, etc.] bother you? I’m so sorry to bruise your delicate feelings, Snowflake.”
Such people may be ignorant of the view of their hero, General Lee, who did not approve of memorializing the Confederacy because it would prevent wounds opened by the war from healing. It could be, however, that since they are not the ones who suffered any wounds, they lack the imagination or the empathy to understand Lee’s sentiment. Then there those who recognize the wounds in others and seek to keep them open, even salting them occasionally, because it gives them power or satisfies their spitefulness. Those are the ones who held rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, in July and August of last year. Everyone should consider honestly then whose interests are served by propping up outdated and outmoded Confederate memorializing, whatever form it takes, and by relating a history of stars and bars while glossing over shackles and whips.
Wednesday evening, February 1st, University of California-Berkeley administrators canceled a scheduled appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor for the right-wing Breitbart News website, after violent protests made the situation unsafe for attendees and Mr. Yiannopoulos. Whatever might have been the content of the speech given by Mr. Yiannopoulos is immaterial to the discussion of free speech here. Indeed the more unpopular and distasteful his views might be to the majority, the more important it is that his right to express himself be protected. The College Republicans invited Mr. Yiannopoulos to speak on a campus famous for giving birth to the Free Speech Movement in 1964, and it makes no difference in the exercise of free speech that their political beliefs are polar opposites to those expressed by the founders of the movement 53 years ago.
“Flibberty Jib” from Ken Nordine’s Word Jazz album of 1957. The freedom to listen to unorthodox views.
There were approximately 1,500 people gathered in peaceful protest of Mr. Yiannopoulos’s appearance when about 150 Black Bloc agitators showed up and started throwing Molotov cocktails and smashing windows. Black Bloc has been hijacking peaceful protests for thirty years now, and it is they the media give the most attention to, discrediting by their wanton violence the objectives of the peaceful protesters. Many media outlets have mistakenly or lazily lumped the Black Bloc agitators in with the peaceful protesters and chosen to make the narrative about student “snowflakes” too upset about the possibility of an alternative view being expressed on their campus to allow it to happen, and therefore throwing a tantrum violent enough to prompt university authorities to cancel the event. Ironically, and with a touch of surreality considering his own inability to accept criticism or countenance alternative views, Supreme Leader, the Snowflake-in-Chief, had to chime in with a tweet bending the reality of the situation to suit his own pre-conceived notions. How he can hold the UC-Berkeley administration to account for the actions of the loose cannon Black Bloc is anyone’s guess.
The ending of the 1978 remake of the 1950s original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The original movie made a statement on McCarthyism, and the remake could equally be viewed as a statement on calling out and exposing the unorthodox among us.
Political correctness has certainly gone too far in its own way on the left as McCarthyism did on the right in the 1950s. If you’re having to walk on eggshells around people with regard to what you say it makes little difference whether the easily offended parties are on the left or the right of the political spectrum. Insensitivity and hate speech are problems certainly, but to try to legislate that behavior into oblivion cannot and should not be done. If your own ideas are strong and their ideas are built on lies and ignorance, then open and public argument will eventually – not overnight – shed light on both sides. “The arc of the moral universe is long,” said Martin Luther King, Jr., “but it bends toward justice.” You have to have faith, and not a little patience. ― Vita