There Will Be No "Pandemic Amnesty'
We don't want amnesty, we want a reckoning.
A “pandemic amnesty?”
The people who got it right, for whatever reason, may want to gloat. Those who got it wrong, for whatever reason, may feel defensive and retrench into a position that doesn’t accord with the facts. All of this gloating and defensiveness continues to gobble up a lot of social energy and to drive the culture wars, especially on the internet. These discussions are heated, unpleasant and, ultimately, unproductive. In the face of so much uncertainty, getting something right had a hefty element of luck. And, similarly, getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing. Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people racked up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward.
We have to put these fights aside and declare a pandemic amnesty. We can leave out the willful purveyors of actual misinformation while forgiving the hard calls that people had no choice but to make with imperfect knowledge.
“May want to gloat?” “Defensiveness?”
A friend of mine nearly asphyxiated during labor and delivery because she had to wear a worthless mask over her face while pushing out her baby. Another friend was forced to watch her parent die alone behind a glass partition because COVID restrictions prevented her from being by their side. Yet another dear friend was forced to allow her husband to bury his father alone without the comfort of his family or children because of those same restrictions. We lost longtime friends who thought that we were selfish for not getting the “vaccine,” even though we’d already had the actual virus and the natural immunity with it. People lost their entire livelihoods, their businesses, their homes. They were arrested if they tried to earn a living. They were fined for not wearing masks. They were terrorized by their government. Children lost two academic years and are now in a disastrous state with education — and their mental health. Women were mocked for asking whether the shot would affect their reproductive or overall health. Men were told to ignore their fears about adverse side effects like myocarditis.
People who didn’t get the jab were accused of causing the pandemic by the President of the United States. The world’s largest and strongest economy was shut down.
Now they want “amnesty” — flashback:
Families lost years together, Thanksgivings, Christmases, vacations. People were encouraged to tell on each other for not complying with COVID orders. Young adults lost major milestones that help prepare them for the transition to full independence.
You want us to forget that all of this happened? You want us to forget that we were all forced into our homes, connecting through screens instead of faces? You want us to forget the isolation and loneliness you forced upon our children? Forget how you took our tax dollars for services not rendered and then pretended to be generous as you extended a fraction of our money back to some of us as “paycheck protection” — a bribe to forget that you shut down our factories and storefronts? Forget how you turned families and friends against each other by warping their minds with fear?
You claim that we were dealing with the unknown — but we really weren’t. We knew about natural immunity, mask ineffectiveness, that neither children nor schools were super spreaders, but even as these revelations developed you lied about it anyway and tried to force us to inject our kids without the support of science. You tried to control our speech on television, on radio, on the Internet.
Now you people want a mass pardon so you can absolve yourselves of any accountability, apology, or repentance? Your lone act of contrition is “But we need to learn from our mistakes and then let them go. We need to forgive the attacks, too.”
Forgiveness isn’t to the exclusion of penalty. People have every right to be enraged — no, they have a duty to feel enraged to ensure that this never happens again.
We don’t need “amnesty.”
We need a reckoning.