By SUSAN K. SMITH
Crazy Faith Ministries
I am finding it really hard to understand what is really going on.
People who are refusing to be vaccinated and who are vehemently anti-mask are saying that they are protesting being told what to do by the government, and yet, they are silent as some state and local governments are issuing orders prohibiting institutions and schools from issuing mask and/or vaccination mandates. Government is telling people not only what they can or cannot do but what they will not be permitted to do.
They say it’s about freedom – but it seems that they believe that only their rights matter. They certainly have the right to refuse to be vaccinated but fighting the wearing of masks in the interest of public health and safety is beyond my capacity to understand.
They call themselves patriots – protesting in the name of America and its constitution, but they seem more like pariahs – willing to die for their beliefs and willing to take others who do not believe as they do with them.
They call themselves Christian, but the bigotry they espouse and the violence they practice in the name of holding onto power and getting rid of people with whom they do not agree is far from being anything Jesus the Christ would condone.
It is all part and parcel of the Big Lie; this fight against masks and vaccinations seem to be tied at the hip to the former president. Even though they know the president and his entire family were vaccinated, they are still against it. The former president, who has encouraged people to stay away from being vaccinated, may have created a monster nobody can create; “the base” booed him at the rally he held in Cullman, Alabama, when he said that people should consider the vaccine, according to The Guardian.
I thought that there would be a lessening of their stand against getting vaccinated once their children became ill and some of them die from contracting the virus.
But not even the suffering and deaths of children has mattered to them.
The vast majority of those protesting against the vaccine appear to be White Trump followers. They are bold and violent in both their speech and their actions. A doctor who spoke at a school board meeting explaining why masks were necessary to stem this disease was verbally attacked by angry parents – anti-mask – after the board meeting was over, CNN reported.
Parents are physically attacking teachers who require masks in their classrooms, as seen on broadcasts such as NBC News and Houston’s KPCR News. One parent actually snatched a mask off the face of a McDonald’s staff person, as viewed on News Week.
As I’m watching this violent behavior – with it seems, little being done to hold the violent anti-COVID crowd, I find myself questioning what this country really represents? Alexis DeTocqueville observed America’s democracy and though he had some praise about this government, he said he doubted America would ever get past its immersion in white supremacist beliefs and practices.
This democracy has always been predicated on the survival of white supremacy, a belief in the “survival of the fittest” which many believe are only White people. White Americans have grown up wrapped in the comforter of their ethnicity. They have benefitted from perks of democracy that other groups have not, and have grown spoiled and self-serving.’
That so many are acting like spoiled brats around the advice to wear masks to protect themselves, yes, but also to protect others points to the result of them having been pampered and protected in and by this government for far too long.
I honestly do not care that some people will not wear masks or get vaccinated – that surely is their choice (ironically that they, opponents of abortion rights for women, are now chanting “my body, my choice), but what they do not have the right to do is threaten the lives of other people who are working to protect themselves and others. If they want their children to go to school, they should form their own private schools and get big money to fund them so that they can stay away from people who are trying to stay well and alive.
American exceptionalism is a term that many have used in the past, referring to their belief in our government and our people, but what this pandemic has uncovered is the ugly, pus-filled sore caused by America’s cancerous white supremacist foundation. It is said that one’s theology (how one sees God) informs one’s anthropology (how one sees people), which finally informs one’s sociology (how one sees society.)
Truly, we are seeing that hypothesis being lived out.
I am only angry that so many people who have tried to follow the rules will suffer and are suffering because of the selfishness of those who choose not to. I am angry because the health care and capacity of people sick with other illnesses – including cancer and heart disease among others – has been compromised because the beds they would use are being occupied by people who decided to risk getting sick from a virus that a vaccine can undermine.
American exceptionalism is as much a fantasy as is the belief that America is a democracy.
Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. And she is an award-winning author for her latest book, “With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America,” available through all booksellers. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.