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OPINION | BRADLEY GITZ: Pandemics, politics and toys

by Bradley Gitz | October 18, 2021 at 1:02 a.m.

Some random observations on our continuing theater of the absurd:

• Dr. Anthony Fauci told us that it is too early to know if we can get together with our families for Christmas, and then reversed himself the next day and said we could (probably after receiving terse calls from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and some of his own family members).

He has also said that kids shouldn't play together without masks (!!) and that it would be "prudent" for the vaccinated to wear them even while outdoors this winter. (When shoveling the snow? Sledding with the kids?)

On the plus side, he will allow us to go trick-or-treating this time around because Halloween "is a very important part of the year for children" (with, presumably, everything going back to DEFCON 3 the next day).

Fauci apparently believes that the great lumpen mass of Americans waits breathlessly on his every pronouncement so they can figure out whether or not it is safe to take the dog for a walk or invite the grandparents over for turkey.

And the sad part is that a certain portion of our increasingly servile people, incapable of thinking for themselves, still pays attention to him.

• The neurotic sorts who wait for life permission slips from Lord Fauci might eventually pose a political problem for a president who promised (probably foolishly but to useful political effect) to "shut down the virus, not the country."

At some point, maybe not quite yet, but sometime, if only in order to keep his biggest campaign pledge, Joe Biden is going to want to peel off the mask plastered below his goofy aviators and take a virus victory lap. It is unclear, however, whether anxiety-addicted lefties will be willing to come out of hiding to cheer him on when he does.

The left is now dug in deep, with the "science" left behind a long time ago and masks and other mostly ineffective mitigation measures increasingly seen as markers of ideological identity and means of signaling virtue.

So does Biden dare declare at any point an end to the pandemic if it also means ending his supporters' opportunities to lord their moral superiority over red America and all those ignorant, unvaccinated Trump voters?

• Attorney General Merrick Garland has taken us another huge step toward criminalizing political differences in America, or, more precisely, making criminals of anyone who sees the world differently than the radical left and is willing to say so. To wit, the apparent efforts to sic the FBI on parents resisting mask mandates and critical race theory being imposed upon their kids by radicalized teachers' unions and school boards.

When Joseph Stalin sought to crush opposition to the collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet countryside, his initial targets were the so-called "kulaks," defined, somewhat oxymoronically, as "rich peasants." Soon the meaning of kulak was expanded to include any peasant who had two cows instead of just one, and eventually anyone who resisted Stalin in any way or just looked like they might.

In similar fashion, the left now conflates resistance in any form to a combination of domestic terrorism and insurrection, even if it is only parents trying to have some say over what their kids are taught in the public schools.

And there is only one way to deal with such criminal elements.

• The increasingly desperate Democratic nominee for governor in Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, provides an additional lesson on how Democrats increasingly seek to delegitimize opposition.

When asked about the subject of critical race theory in Virginia schools (a highly contentious issue in places like Loudoun County) McAuliffe told a Black TV anchor that it was "racist" to even bring the subject up.

Thus, in McAuliffe's world, it isn't those who wish to teach second-graders that they are either oppressors or oppressed according to their skin color who are the racists but those who object to such practices.

Indeed, we become racists if we even want to talk about any of it.

When you respond to the arguments of the other side with logic and facts, we all benefit. When you try to shut down the other side by screaming "racist" (or "sexist" or "homophobe" or "transphobe"), we all become more stupid.

• California alone these days provides us with all the evidence we need that woke equals stupid, as with Gov. Gavin Newsom (apparently feeling his oats after avoiding recall) recently signing a law that requires large retailers to create "gender-neutral" aisles for kids toys in order to combat "harmful and outdated stereotypes" (in the words of the legislation's sponsor).

So are we really going to pretend that little girls wanting to play with Barbies and dollhouses and little boys wanting to play with GI Joes and toy guns are merely consequences of "stereotypes" and "social conditioning"? And that if we mix the Barbies and the Joes together, the little girls will be more likely to pick up the Joes and the little boys more likely to pick up the Barbies?

And doesn't the hot mess that is the state of California have more important things to be worrying about than gender-neutral toy aisles?

Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

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