The Line in the Sand Has Been Crossed
Deciding what we should and shouldn't put in our bodies is now considered a potential act of terrorism
If you haven't noticed, things are starting to move very quickly now. And as employer-mandated vaccination deadlines approach in the next 60 - 90 days, I suspect things will move faster than most people think or can even imagine.
A few months ago, I questioned whether we might be living in the early years of "The Handmaid's Tale." That probably sounded far-fetched to some readers at the time, but events in the last 24 hours have made it clear what path our country is firmly on now. There's no way to sugarcoat, rationalize, or downplay what's just happened. Our government has just crossed the line in the sand, the point of no return for any democratic society.
Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a bulletin announcing that it now considers Americans who oppose COVID-19 measures to be "potential terror threats" to the United States. Although DHS' guidance technically applies to "grievance-based violence" stemming from "public health safety measures and perceived government restrictions," I think we all know by now how this is likely to play out. You don't have to be a psychic to see how these guidelines can easily be applied in the future to broader opposition to COVID-19 measures.
At some point, opposing vaccination mandates, even by means of peaceful protest, will likely pose a "potential threat" to the government. And if the Biden administration falls short of its single-minded goal to vaccinate 100% of Americans by year's end, it's conceivable that even refusing to be vaccinated, or encouraging others to refuse, could be deemed an act of terrorism — because it puts the "safety" of the nation at risk.
Think very carefully about what this means: Americans who oppose vaccine mandates may now be seen as threats equal to those who commiserate with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, or other terrorist organizations. If you doubt this possibility, pay close attention to the "toolkit" that the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency recently posted:
"Q: Who are the primary malign actors associated with the spreading of COVID-related disinformation?
A: Russian, Chinese and Iranian state- sponsored elements, as well as domestic extremist groups."
In other words, our government expects us to believe that Americans who question "facts" about the pandemic, or who share information about the efficacy or adverse effects from the vaccine, can't possibly be looking at the public data and thinking for themselves; the only plausible explanation is that they are being influenced by dangerous foreign and domestic actors.
DHS is sending a very clear message to Americans: if you resist COVID-19 public health safety measures by acting in ways that deviate from the established narrative, you will face the full weight and might of the U.S. government.
Let's just call this what it really is: a bold and naked act of intimidation. This isn't what a government does when it wants to protect its citizens from a public health crisis. Any government that would issue this kind of ultimatum to the people it represents is the true source of terror.
Of course, many still lack the imagination to see where this is all headed. They will insist that DHS' new guidelines will only punish the violent and unruly among us, i.e. Trump-loving racists and Capitol-style insurrectionists who have refused to be vaccinated. And they will do this because they haven't bothered to pull focus and look at the bigger picture.
But anyone paying even the slightest attention can see the pattern that's emerged over the past two decades. Ever since the U.S. government launched the "War on Terror" in 2001, it has slowly, systematically, and insidiously stripped the inalienable rights of an ever increasing number of Americans. The basket of terrorists was initially filled with those who plotted with evil-doers in Iraq, Russia, and Iran; then violent right-wing extremists were thrown in, along with racists and white supremacists; and later people who simply questioned the outcome of the election were added. In other words, the government's pattern has been to first target the obvious threats, then shift its sights toward undesirables who pose a lesser threat, and then to silence those who merely disagree with the facts and information it presents.
And now our government is adding those who "oppose" COVID-19 measures to this bulging basket of terrorists.
Many of us didn't realize it at the time, but looking back it's clear that the War on Terror put our country on a slippery slope to an authoritarian state. The incursions on our liberties seemed harmless at first, so we excused them. We looked the other way. We found a way to justify them because they only affected "bad" people, or people who didn't vote or think the way we do. Because these measures were carried out by the politicians we supported, the ones we thought were better than the "other" candidates.
Now, twenty years later, we are reaping the rewards from our collective indifference and complacency. We no longer find ourselves on a slippery slope; we're gaining speed on a slippery cliff on the edge of the abyss.
Yet even as these unsettling events unfold, too many number of Americans remain in denial, either due to naïveté or because they're blinded by profound cognitive dissonance. Or maybe because they're simply too frightened to allow themselves to see what's happening.
For weeks we've been told that vaccines mandates aren't really mandatory because we all have the right to "informed consent," which is the basis of the Nuremberg Code created in the aftermath of the Holocaust. We've been assured that every American has a "choice," even if that choice is really illusory because it forces people to choose between getting vaccinated and engaging in the most basic activities — like traveling, shopping, dining, and even earning a living. We all had the choice to simply live out the rest of our days in a cardboard box on the street.
Now our government has gone a step further. Now it is essentially removing the thin veneer of meager choice it gave us only weeks ago and is making the choice for us: comply or be labeled an enemy of the state. The velvet gloves have come off; now we can expect the iron fist.
And half the country doesn't even blink when this narrative abruptly shifts. They simply tune out.
Please understand what is at stake now. It doesn't matter whether you are fully-vaccinated, or if you never intend to get vaccinated. It doesn't even matter if you think Biden won more votes than any president in history, or if you think he "stole" every swing state. What happened yesterday reveals the true threat that Americans of every race, color, or political affiliation face. We are fast-approaching a point that prescient authors like Philip K. Dick predicted decades ago: beliefs, not actions, are being criminalized. In a country that holds itself out as a bastion of freedom, having unapproved thoughts — even if you never act on them — is not only condemned, but is now considered an existential threat to the government.
The question every American needs to ask themselves now is this: even if our government doesn't deem you a threat today, how much longer will it be before your thoughts become criminal? What will be the tipping point that prompts you to feel the fear and anxiety that millions of others are feeling right now, simply because they have the "wrong" thoughts?
In the coming weeks and months, as our government inevitably targets those who believe information or make statements that deviate from the narrative presented by the media and public health officials, please keep this in mind: they can target some of us, but they can't target all of us.
If we stand up and stand firm together, our government can't force us to comply with anything we're not comfortable doing. We saw this happen two weeks ago when 220,000 U.S. postal employees successfully opposed a vaccine mandate. Nearly 1/3 of San Francisco Sheriff's deputies have now threatened to quit or retire early if they are forced to get vaccinated. More than 1/3 of U.S. armed forces have refused to be vaccinated. Never forget that our government needs us much more than we need it. There is power in our numbers, but only if we lock arms and RESIST TOGETHER.
I know this will be damn scary for all of us. I know it will require some of us to sacrifice more than others. I know we're all worried about keeping the lights on in our homes and food in our refrigerators. I know we all want to protect our families and make sure that they have a future. But I cannot emphasize this strongly enough: if we lose this critical battle against freedom now, there won't be much left for any of us to sacrifice in the years to come.
The line in the sand has been crossed. Will you stand firm now, or will you surrender to a government that demands your submission?
The choice is yours, my friends.
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