COVID authoritarians deserve reckoning not amnesty

Toward the end of 2019, the whole world was watching as the people of Hong Kong took to the streets in protest of the Chinese Communist Party dissolving the last vestiges of the island enclave’s separation from the mainland government.

People were beaten, arrested, and even killed, becoming a cause Celebre for many in the west who supported Hong Kong’s citizens’ fight for democracy and independence they had enjoyed for nearly a century. One person to take to Twitter to lend his voice to the cause was then Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey, causing an outraged response from the Chinese government, which threatened to cut ties with the NBA entirely.

In the aftermath, the NBA commissioner and the Houston Rockets owner both made overtures about respecting Morey’s right to free speech while also claiming that neither entity is a political organization whose employees should not be commenting on politics. Even the league’s biggest superstar LeBron James took the time to slag Morey and anyone else decrying the authoritarian excesses of the Chinese government, saying such criticisms are rooted in ignorance and a danger to his and the league’s bottom line.

At least James was obliquely transparent and honest about the situation, unlike the league’s hypocritical and disingenuous front that the NBA is unconcerned with politics. Just a few months later, the NBA and literally every single other company, executive, and celebrity would get so incessantly political that there was no escape from it.

Throughout 2020, every national broadcast would be wielded like a cudgel to brow beat every citizen, deliberately aligning politically in ways they had just months before decried. In fact, it wasn’t very long before no one in the west was even thinking about Hong Kong. China had been under the microscope, and it was fortunate for them that the gaze of many western nations was turned inward by subsequent events.

By the time the United States was in the throes of COVID and George Floyd chose to have a try using a counterfeit bill at a Cub’s Food in Minneapolis, that reticence to bring politics into it had completely evaporated. It was an election year after all, and power was on the line.

What many of these institutions realized during the pandemic was that there was a lot of power to be grabbed without making a single appeal to voters entering a ballot box. Across every aspect of federal and state governance, officials and bureaucrats invoked emergency powers in order to “combat” the spread of the virus. Tech companies would use the day-to-day edicts of ghouls like Tony Fauci to police and suppress speech. There were celebrities and influencers working double time to make sure “the message” permeated the culture, and that any contrarian view was appropriately marginalized and ridiculed.

Eventually, the baton was passed to average citizens to police the behavior and speech of anyone voicing even the softest skepticism of lockdown policy, let alone the one size fits all approach to healthcare prescribed by Fauci and pharmaceutical corporations. The COVID “struggle session” lingered on past the 2020 election, and was actually at the forefront of the first year of the Biden Administration until the courts appropriately slapped down unconstitutional vaccine mandates.

The incongruity within our political factions regarding bodily autonomy is a bit maddening, as the whole idea of “my body, my choice,” really depends on who and what you’re talking about. That’s a topic that requires a column all its own, but is at the core of the conflict over the ethics and reasonableness of some of the responses to the pandemic here and abroad.

Fast forward to today, China’s “Zero COVID” policy is coming home to roost. Protests have erupted in the mainland, as their citizens have finally cracked. Imagine waking up to the sounds of men in HAZMAT suits welding your door shut so you can’t leave. Imagine being on your morning commute and receiving a notification that your business license has been suspended because you were seen on a security camera not wearing a cloth mask when you ran to McDonald’s the night before. Such is the reality under a social credit system that has been tuned to crank up the pain on anyone not staying in line.

This is the what the absolute extreme of COVID policy looks like, and it was a place Lockdowners knew they couldn’t go but desperately wanted to. These people are the same ones now asking for a kind of “COVID amnesty” for their despicable treatment and malicious intent for those they disagree with.

The consequences of the lockdowns have been felt across every aspect of American life. Trillions of dollars were manifested out of thin air, sending us careening down the slopes of inflation only made worse by the lockdown’s destruction of the global supply chain. The effects on young children and the education of students are only now being talked about and understood, with delays in speech, socialization and drops in test scores being not just visible but undeniable.

Every official or celebrity who goaded and cajoled nonstop for two years deserves neither amnesty nor to be forgotten. Lockdowners aren’t sorry for the human damage caused by the policy they promoted, because deep down they don’t think they were wrong. In fact, the real problem is that they weren’t allowed to go as far as they wanted.

We are fortunate we did not go the way of Communist China, but we must remember the names of those who saw nothing wrong with taking us there and who now would love nothing more than for all of us to forget that they almost did.


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