Matthew Reddin

Hello America, From Australia: The Dumbest Timeline

(Photo by marianne bos on Unsplash)

In his column, “The Dumbest Timeline,” Matthew Reddin looks at school board meetings in America being overrun by anti-vaxxers, white supremacists, and the Proud Boys.

 

Hello America. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it, so sayeth the idiom. And I could look up who coined the phrase, but that’ll have us wandering into TL;DR territory, and that’s not my scene (ironic, too, that the actual words “too long; didn’t read” are in fact too long and need to be abbreviated as “TL;DR”).

So, the thing about those of us who live outside your bountiful lands but pay close attention to what’s going on inside them is that, from TV, movies, broadcast media, and the internet, what starts in the United States invariably spreads to other parts of the western world.

When it’s clear cola, fine. When it’s—as Daily Kos reported—“school boards found themselves deluged by people screaming a mantra that somehow, in some unexplained way, equated masks with stripping away freedom and vaccination with Nazis,” that’s when we start getting worried.

You wanna talk about people ignoring history, here’s a fine example right there. There is, kind of, a twisted deductive logic that stems from the idea of “vaccine passports” and “mandatory vaccinations” being linked to Stasi tactics or jackbooted Nazi Germany: uniformed thugs wandering around demanding to see “your papers” and, in the absence of same, off to Auschwitz you go.

What they fail to consider is that your average gypsy, gay, or Jewish person living among the pogrom wasn’t able to simply get themselves a couple of [free, safe] injections from the government that suddenly made them Aryan. The link is a trifle tenuous and a little bit more than disingenuous that a school community may impose mask mandates upon its faculty and student body because of some drunk-with-power, pseudo-fascist desire to lord over a room full of 12-year-olds.

It’s illogical. But since when does logic come into an argument, especially when school board meetings, of all things, are being overrun with anti-vaxxers, white supremacists, and the Proud Boys?

 

School board meetings, of all things, are being overrun with anti-vaxxers, white supremacists, and the Proud Boys?

 

Sometimes, these things can be funny, especially when graduates of the University of Facebook (U of F) show up to claim that vaccinations make them somehow magnetic, allowing them to have keys and coins stuck to their faces (keys and coins aren’t conducive to magnets, an annoying scientific factoid that U of F doesn’t include in their curriculum). Check out this clip wherein the perpetually sassy Brian Williams brings some extra sass to a story about “health professionals” making spurious claims.

“This is what anti-vaxxers sound like. It’s all crap, and it’s becoming a danger to public health.”

The actions being taken by these school boards are all about safety. Masks work. Vaccines work. Herd immunity only works when a vast majority of people get the jab. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your fascist intent. Facts, like how The Texas Tribune reports that at least 45 school districts in Texas have been “forced to temporarily stop offering in-person classes as a result of COVID-19 cases” after over 20,000 Texas students tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of the school year.

It is startling, concerning, and cause for alarm in this part of the world when in your part of the world this kind of activity not only goes on but gets widely reported in the news media, gains momentum, and then becomes the topic of think pieces wherein those on one side (scientific fact) have to respect the rights of those on the other side (conspiracy theorist whack jobs who think Bill Gates has liquified his nanobots to track and control us via 5G towers) to coat us with word vomit, “both sides”-ing the argument.

 


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I used to walk along the street in the center of Melbourne and see a guy wearing a sandwich board with a mini-essay on it, ranting about psychologists and Scientology. It was a curious thing back then, part of the color and fabric of our metropolis. These days, it’s only a matter of time before he gets elected to city council. “Vote for me, and we can finally find out who put the alien transmitters in my fillings!”

I’d ask for caution among your good American folk, but I think that horse has bolted. Once the white supremacists show up with zip ties and start equating mask mandates and vaccines to Marxism, we’ve essentially crossed the Rubicon.

It’s a curious thing when you start politicizing public health measures, so “doing what science says” is strictly for the Left, while not getting vaccinated, not wearing a mask, ignoring the public health advice designed to protect you and everyone else around you is what makes the Right, um, right, because “FREEDOM!”

There’s been hints of it here, but we have among our big cities one—namely, Perth—that sits in complete isolation on the other side of the continent. They’ve barely felt a ripple from the entire pandemic and have essentially shut their borders to people coming from anywhere that has active COVID cases. There seems to be pressure coming from the conservative side of politics that the state’s Premier Mark McGowan ease said travel restrictions; but considering his stewardship of Perth’s COVID journey netted him an election victory with an 88% controlling majority of the Western Australian legislature, he pretty much doesn’t have to do a thing. Keeping safe, maintaining the world’s largest social distancing measures (2,692.7 km) has meant FREEDOM over there.

Something for y’all to note. Learning from history: an idea worth exploring.

 

Matthew Reddin

Matt Reddin has been writing nonsense about film, TV, books, music, and live theatre for a touch over 20 years. He’s gone from the halcyon days of street press in Perth, to regional dailies, national magazines, and major metropolitan newspapers. Now, in between bouts of sporadically yelling at clouds, he vents his creative spleen at www.lessercolumn.com.au

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