New Orleans As the omicron virus rages and peaks from place to place, if we don’t need to follow its path on a daily basis, we can still occupy lots of time, if we’re so inclined, by following the wild and crazy news about the various ways the vaccinated and unvaccinated are personally and collectively making the pandemic a chaotic global mishmash. There seems to be no escaping that news.
In the US with the federal mandate on private businesses now held up in court, it’s “do your own thing” on steroids. Businesses of all stripes and sizes are having to make up their own rules, as are individual and state jurisdictions of government. In New Orleans, we’re on a mask-mandate again with vaccination checks for gyms, restaurants, stadiums, and so forth, but at least, with the shots, we can go out. Our friends and members in Texas, our neighboring state, are in a different situation entirely. They can go out, but at their own peril. Individual establishments can require vaccinations to enter, but the Texas legislature had made it illegal for them to actually ask for proof of vaccination and has made creating a “vaccine pass” a no-no as well. In Louisiana, we have something that everyone is using called LA Wallet that records your status on a mobile phone app as well as your drivers’ license. I was surprised to find out that it was a private business, not a government application, which was disturbing, but, hey, we’re not in Texas. Or, Florida, where reports also indicate that you’re pretty much on your own as far as this goes.
Who are we to complain, you might say? We’re not NBA or NFL stars or world champion tennis players. We might want to take a chance on dinner, but we’re not losing millions because we drank some bizarre media Kool-Aid and are now going to ride the shark all the way down.
We’re also not Italians, where everyone unvaccinated over 50 years of age is being turned into the tax authorities to start paying fines. That’s serious business. Nor are we French where the president has cordoned off the unvaccinated, and is glad to make them suffer or words to that effect. Nor are we British and having to read about the escapades of the Prime Minister and his government partying like its 1999, while they had the whole country on lockdown and unable even to visit dying relatives.
We’re Americans, by damn, which turns out to mean we’re also not Australians where more than 90% supported the government’s barring of unvaccinated tennis players who were unwilling to put the community’s interest above their own personal peccadilloes. We’re Americans who are willing to argue among ourselves and juxtapose some weird argument about personal liberty, even if it means endangering our neighbors and potentially leading them to an early death. We’re Americans, land of the free, home of the public health cowards and crazies.