Last Friday influential liberal journalist Bari Weiss triggered shrieks of outrage on the left when she told a sympathetic Bill Maher, “I’m done with COVID. I’m done.” For the previous two years, Weiss confessed, she had been as paranoid as any of her progressive friends, but a growing body of evidence convinced her she had been misled.
“This is going to be remembered by the younger generation as a catastrophic moral crime,” said Weiss. “People are killing themselves, they are anxious, they are depressed. … It’s a pandemic of bureaucracy.”
The response on the left was predictable. “800,000 dead Americans disagree with Bari Weiss and Bill Maher,” said one typical commenter. “And we COULD get back to some form of normal if more people were vaccinated, boosted and wore masks.”
The response on the right was more nuanced. Although many welcomed Weiss’ conversion, not everyone did. “This was all known one and a half years ago,” said one skeptical commenter voicing a recurrent theme, “and now their lies are falling apart like a house of cards, [and] they pretend to be on the good side.”
Having watched the brilliant French series “A French Village” during those first two months of lockdown, I anticipated the pushback from the right. There is a parallel here.
As World War II neared its inevitable end in France, timid souls started pouring out of the 1945 equivalent of their mother’s basement, insisting that they too had been a member of the “Resistance” all along.
Real resistance fighters did not take these claims at face value. In fact, reprisals against collaborators, suspected and real, were commonplace, often to the point of incarceration, even death.
In America 2022, I would suggest a more welcoming strategy for people like Bari Weiss and others who have only lately chosen to join the resistance.
I say this from a position of provable authority. I posted my first public protest on Facebook on March 16, 2020. “As of yesterday,” I wrote, “Missouri had 4 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a.k.a. the Corona virus, and ZERO fatalities. And we’re shutting down the economy? Event planners, hold your ground.”
The responses from my normally sympathetic “friends” were not encouraging. “You aren’t going to be able to hold your ground. They are doing a Nationwide shutdown in the next 72 hours,” wrote one. “Government is not trying to control your life – it’s trying to save it!” wrote another. “We’re in the same place Italy was two weeks ago. They did not act fast enough,” wrote a third.
A few days later, I tried to lead a public protest in Kansas City where I live, and it fell flat. I could not get enough takers to make a protest worthwhile. When I pointed out that only four people had died by that point in Missouri and Kansas, one “friend” responded, “I hope you make five.”
To be sure, the bad manners of our liberal friends cry out for some sort of smackdown. Just this past week, a blind friend and I were Karened by a sweet old lady who, upon seeing us maskless in a place where masks weren’t required, sneered, “I hope you rot in hell.”
But Karens aren’t the Gestapo. There is a major difference between what our resisters experienced and what the French did. Their resistance suffered for their cause while the collaborators partied. For the most part, our resistance partied while the collaborators suffered.
The proof came over Memorial Day weekend of 2020 when hundreds of Missourians flocked to a swimming pool party at Lake of the Ozarks, the roguish site of the increasingly unwatchable Netflix series, “Ozark.”
“To put this now famous photo in perspective,” I wrote on Facebook, “only one person under 30 has died of Covid-19 in Missouri. Only 2 people of any age have died in the 10-county Lake of the Ozark area. More will die before the summer’s through in drunken boating accidents. Okay, Karens, your turn.”
The Karens took up my invitation. “Those idiots can’t follow the social distancing rules … what makes you think they aren’t peeing in the pool?” wrote a Karen named John.
Implicit in much of the liberal criticism has been a persistent, if paradoxical, classism. “The swimming pool is probably crawling with urine and Jack Daniels,” said one such critic. “Looks like a couple of mullets in the pool as well.”
Inspired by our redneck allies, from Memorial Day on my friends and I never stopped partying. We lived our lives like free citizens of a free country while our leftists “friends” willed themselves into tiny, glum, self-righteous gulags.
We are their liberators. Let’s pass out the candy bars and the silk stockings. Except for those who had to give up their jobs, we have not suffered enough to deny the sheep mercy.
Jack Cashill’s newest book, “Barack Obama’s Promised Land: Deplorables Need Not Apply,” is now available wherever you buy books.
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