"Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot..." (Perspective)
Struggling with the idea to “forgive” and “forget” in the coming New Year.
I would honestly say that the past few weeks have been a constant ebb and flow of emotions. One day it will feel like things are getting better and people are starting to see all the craziness for what it is, and other days I become disheartened and feel as if we are no better than how we were in prior months.
This month in particular has felt very trying, but leading up to the Christmas weekend I felt a renewed sense of optimism. At that point it really did feel as if people are waking up to the fact that the constant lockdowns, all of the mandates, and the sacrifice of normalcy for children were beginning to push everyone over the edge.
However, the past week proved differently, and I suddenly fell into a greater state of melancholy and anger that I thought I would.
Just to point out a few things that happened this week:
Mask mandates brought back in many counties. Even though most of the evidence so far suggests mild illness with Omicron, and that the focus on public health policy should be based more on hospitalizations and death, many places are still resorting to case numbers to drive lockdown and mandate policies.
Incoherent masking behavior. I hung out with some friends this week and went out to grab lunch. It was a great time, if not for the fact I witnessed so many “strange” masking behaviors, including putting a mask on in between bites or waiting until the food arrived to eat. Apparently COVID is courteous enough to not disrupt you while eating, and certainly not while chewing! At a time when things should be getting better it seems as if people are doubling down on their masking behavior even if it doesn’t make any sense.
Family members gushing over images of masked kids. I honestly did not expect this to happen, but I got into an argument with family members who somehow thought that children need to be kept masked for safety, talking about how cute the kids looked in masks. It was all honestly very disgusting, especially considering that the science does not suggest masking kids, and the US is one of the only nations in the world to mandate such a horrendous policy.
Everyone is going to get Omicron, and everyone is going to die. You would think that after massive vaccinations, with reports that Omicron may be mild, and with several outpatient therapeutics now being granted EUA, I continue to hear of so many people in my inner circle absolutely scared of getting COVID, with many of these people believing that they are going to die. I would have hoped that we would be nearing the end of this pandemic soon, but it seems more like people are doubling down into delusions of paranoia that they will somehow be the one to die from this.
A friend making a comment that she may not want to have kids because of climate change, COVID, or the political climate. If I haven’t made it clear, I’m a millennial yet more and more I feel like I cannot relate to my fellow peers, and this is one of the reasons why. It’s more of a separate argument, but it goes along with the idea that so many are living their lives in fear. In this case, my generation has become one of the most paranoid, believing that they have no future, that everything is bleak and there’s nothing they can do about it. It’s the combination of paranoia and learned helplessness that has pervaded so much of the current political climate, as well as in regards to COVID.
I’ve learned that I’ve become a lot more disagreeable and argumentative in my daily life, and I have argued with many family members about everything related to COVID.
But last Wednesday night, after an argument with family members, and seeing that comment made by Dr. Walensky I felt as if I had snapped a bit.
I’m starting to realize now that my patience is wearing thin.
I’m losing patience with people who get all of their information on COVID from the news. I’m losing patience with people who can’t take in and incorporate information. I’m losing patience with all of the fear mongering, the doubling down of the notion that we’re all going to die, and with everyone who have made arguments solely relying on talking points from the media.
All of this coming at a time where we are entering into a New Year. Usually around this time people reflect on the past year, and think about what has happened and what next year will bring. Usually it’s a time of remembrance, a time of letting bygones be bygones, and letting things stay as a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, what I have seen this past week has left me very disheartened, because as I reflect on the past year, and really the past two years under COVID, I am reminded of how little anyone has learned and how much has already been memory-holed. For me, this doesn’t feel like a tranquil time to reflect on everything that has happened, but instead a time to lament on the fact that so much of our lives have changed for the worst. Now that it seems as if things may not return to normal anytime soon, I can’t help but ponder on all of the misinformation, all of the gaslighting, and all of the destroyed relationships.
How Easily we fall into the Memory Hole
I’ve been thinking of making a post similar to this for several months. There’s a lot to be said about how much has been memory holed and forgotten about.
A recent example of this was when an Israeli study on aspirin and COVID began to make its rounds online. The study suggested that people who took aspirin had reduces rates of positive PCR tests compared to those who didn’t. This led people to respond with snarky comments suggesting that aspirin would go the way of “horse dewormer” Ivermectin. It also didn’t help that posts began to emerge suggesting that people should not take aspirin to reduce their risk of having a heart attack.
The response bothered me, and not because of the remarks, but because aspirin was already demonized when the pandemic first emerged. Early health policies suggested that people do not take NSAIDs including aspirin, leading many people to be told to take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for their fevers instead. Not only that, but corticosteroids were actually discouraged in those with severe disease for several months. Dr. Pierre Kory even gave a senate hearing in May where he described the usefulness of corticosteroids, only to be met with castigation. Here’s an interview where he discusses the staunch criticism:
The same sentiments on the usefulness of corticosteroids were even mirrored by Dr. Rand Paul when he mentioned on Steven Crowder’s podcast “Louder with Crowder” that in a closed-door meeting Dr. Paul made a remark to Dr. Fauci about the use of corticosteroids, with Dr. Fauci responded that corticosteroids do not work (unfortunately, I cannot find the clip).
Of course, corticosteroids became adopted as a standard of care by the summer of 2020, months after many people have argued in favor of its usage. Even then, the use of aspirin was still not recommended. When I went to get a COVID test at the end of the summer of 2020, I was handed a paper where it told me to drink fluids, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) for a fever, and to call an ambulance when I have trouble breathing.
There are plenty more examples of gaslighting and memory holing, but this one stood out to me as a prime example of something being memory-holed, including by those who have spoken out against the COVID narrative.
Also, Dr. Pierre Kory has now created his own Substack where, coincidentally, his first posts are about the under dosing of corticosteroids in the hospital setting, so I encourage people to check out his posts.
Is Forgiveness Possible in a Post-COVID Era?
I had no initial thoughts on writing this post, and I certainly did not stop and think about how relationships will unfold after the Pandemic ends.
But then I came across this recent episode of libertarian/comedian Dave Smith and his co-host/comedian Robbie. In one segment of this podcast, Dave Smith discussed living your life and moving forward by spending precious Christmas time with family. However, Robbie lamented on the fact that it’s not so simple as getting back together with family, making a comment that he used to see his sister’s children until she got “weird” about COVID and the relationship now is not quite what it once was (The timestamp for the below video is around 29:10 but Robbie’s comment is not made until around 35:45).
It made me think of a conversation I had with a friend about vaccinations and the entire COVID debacle. I told a friend that I did not get vaccinated because I believed the vaccine rollout was highly unethical and I couldn’t be a part of such a horrendous policy (something that was also memory holed). I’ve posted about it several times, but I found no reason as to why I, as a millennial, was allowed to be vaccinated before those in the most risky demographics because of equity and social justice. My friend commented that I should get vaccinated, and that we can’t change what has already happened and should leave it behind.
Watching that video made me think about this old conversation, and it made me wonder how many relationships between friends and family have been ruined because of COVID. Just to be clear, this comment isn’t in reference to the friend, but more towards the public’s relationship with the medical establishment that told us that we need to stay home or we will kill grandma, then denied grandma a vaccine, and now is acting as if the atrocious vaccine rollout policy was either a thing of the past or never really happened.
And this was a common issue with many people over the Christmas weekend, who were told that they were not welcomed over a family’s house because they were not vaccinated, even though many of these people either had boosters or people were naturally infected.
COVID has invaded all aspects of our lives and have damaged many of the relationships we used to hold so dear. Even now, I have only met with two friends on a regular basis, and every instance we have talked about how crazy the COVID hysteria is and hardly much of anything else.
Even if it wasn’t COVID many of us have come across other situations that have damaged relationships:
Fights over lockdowns and agreeing to the “14 days to slow the spread”
Fights over vaccine mandates
Blocking unvaccinated friends and family
Heck, even some people blocking vaccinated friends and family
People losing jobs over mandates
Arguing over small businesses being shut down, and many closing permanently
Attacking one another for not complying
The list can really keep going on, but the point stands that we have demonized one another and have sacrificed close friendships and connections with loved ones over COVID. I’ve begun to hear more of stories, albeit passively, of people who argued and have stopped contacting their own family members over these types of fights.
Looking back at the conversation I had with my friend, I wonder why I continue to hold onto the grudge and resentment that I do over the vaccine rollout policies. When I think about what happened, and all of the elderly people who may have died because they did not have access to the vaccines, it makes me angry and frustrated, and it is from the evoking of these emotions that I am continuously reminded about all of the nonsensical COVID narratives. So in some sense my frustrations provide me with an avenue to not allow my memories to be memory-holed, and it prevents me from being gaslit for remembering all of the commonplace obfuscation and pivoting that have happened.
It’s for this reason I am struggling with the idea of forgiveness as so many people are. It’s the reason why such an innocuous comment from the podcast has resonated with me (although I would argue Robbie’s takes tend to resonate with me in general) and possibly many others. It’s hard to witness the anger and dehumanization that so many people have shown to one another, which makes it even more difficult to comprehend how one can heal the damage that has been wrought.
That family member you see now may have been one who wished you dead for not being vaccinated. Another may have pushed for masking school children, forcing your kids to spend over two years never seeing the actual face of their friends. For those who have been pushed over the edge, there’s no way to come back with a “no hard feelings” to try to make amends.
Reconciliation is what’s needed more than ever, and yet I and others find it so difficult to try to reconcile with those who’s views feel so diametrically opposed to our own. It’s why I find the idea of forgiveness in these times so difficult, and yet may be one of the most important approaches if we are to move on after the pandemic.
Optimism from a Cynic
This may be far too bleak for those hoping to ring in the New Year, but here’s a little bit of a white pill for those who need it.
In my discussion with my friend we heavily disagreed on vaccine policies. However, looking back I don’t see the anger I have pointed at my friend, and I never blamed her for everything going on. Instead, my anger has always been pointed at the rollout policies. It was an anger directed at our institutions that have established so much of the damaging policies and mandates that people have followed. It is higher political figures who, out of their bastardization of “the science” have dictated the denigration of those who run counter to the narrative that they wish to set in place to garner themselves more prevalence and power.
In essence, it is not our friends and family who we should direct our angers towards; they serve, in a sense, as naïve foot soldiers for whatever narrative they are following (remember that this happens on both sides of the argument). The narrative comes from a top-down approach, and it’s those higher up, those who are dictating how we live our lives and how we should engage with one another, who we should really be directing our anger towards.
It’s a common theme that many from all sides of the political spectrum have debated. There should be no question that the fights and bickering that we engage in are intended to divert our attentions. When we start arguing amongst ourselves we lose sight of those who’s ill-intentions, who’s need for stoking fear and divisiveness serve as the driving force for many of our fellow citizens.
The lockdowns closed small, family-owned businesses and pushed us towards retail industries such as Amazon, Walmart, and Target. The castigation of those who are unvaccinated are pushed by our political leaders, and we saw that last week with the horrendous press release that came from the White House. The health officials who are “following the science”, who’s narrative is beginning to fall apart as they continue to backtrack, are the ones who have taught us to hate and despise each other using undeserved power and prestige.
So even though it seems that things may be moving backwards at times, and we may lose patience with one another, there still is hope for optimism. Even with the absurd comments I have heard, I have also heard those same people calling out the ridiculousness of pushing for a 4th shot. At some points it seems the dam is being reinforced, but in others it seems it may begin to break.
This is where the most difficult discussions, with those who may have ill-will or have targeted us for wrongthink, need to happen. It’s only through conversations that we can waken people up to the mass psychosis. Regardless of where we stand on vaccines or off-label therapeutics we can try to find common ground through difficult conversations. And even if we can’t, it may be the attempt to reach out that is important. Then, even after all of those attempts, where no reconciliation can be met, may we consider letting bygones be bygones. There will always be people who are so hardened in their ways, and knowing when that point has been reached should we then decide to walk away.
Over the past week I went from hopeful to disheartened. But now, right as we are entering the New Year, I am becoming more hopeful that things will eventually turn around.
In the most recent “Part of the Problem” Podcast, Dave talks about a time he met Dr. Ron Paul and describes Dr. Paul’s form of rabid optimism, highlighting that no matter how things look people should still try to remain optimistic. I suggest people watch the beginning portion of this podcast for some perspective on how to be a “rabid” optimistic.
So as a New Years resolution, we may strive to have better, deeper conversations, ones where we attempt to steelman each other rather than directly attacking one another. Finding common ground and understanding each other’s perspectives is the only way we move forward. But even after all of that, if no reconciliation can be met, then maybe we can let bygones be bygones and go separate ways. Many relationships have already been destroyed, and even if they may never be fully repaired it may the attempt that may prove to be the most important.
As we leave 2021 and all of it’s mayhem, let’s stay optimistic for 2022, and optimistic that the tides will soon turn.
So whether you have already begun the New Year, or if you have many hours left until midnight, let’s make 2022 a year to be hopeful about.
And with that, I hope you all have a wonderful New Year! Here’s hoping this is the beginning of the end of the madness!
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