We are about to watch an Olympic Games without any fans in the stands, which will be, at minimum, weird. We’ve seen up close and personal in America how weird it is to watch fan-free sporting events and how great it is to have fans back in the stands for, say, an all-star game.
There’s a state of emergency in Japan, which, like most countries, is extremely worried about the highly contagious Delta variant and also about the low vaccination rates.
It should also be noted that Japan’s decision and the Olympic decision have nothing to do with partisanship.
And nothing to do with Dr. Fauci.
And nothing to do with Donald Trump.
It’s one country, which tends to be on the conservative side, trying to hold a massive event in the midst of a pandemic. The latest decision to restrict fans — there were already crowd limits in place as well as a ban on international fans — will cost nearly a billion dollars in lost revenue.
In France, where they were on the verge of fully reopening the country after waves of the COVID virus had swept through, they’re now upping the stakes again, this time just three days after nightclubs had been allowed to reopen. French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that all hospital workers will be required to be fully vaccinated by September or lose their jobs. By July 21, anyone looking to visit a cultural venue or an amusement park must show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative test. In August, the rule will extend to restaurants, shopping centers and hospitals among other sites.
The major parties in France are expected to support the new rules. No one, it seems, wants to hold back in order to own the libs. No one seems particularly bothered by the concept of COVID passports.
And, once again, this has nothing to do with Dr. Fauci.
And it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.
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It’s a country that has determined those who have been vaccinated should have full access to live events and that those who have not been vaccinated should be the ones who face restrictions. In fact, France is planning to begin charging for tests so that people will be encouraged to get the free vaccinations instead.
In America, things are slightly different. When the various vaccines became available, people lined up to get the shots. I remember calling about two dozen outlets before I found one where I could get my first shot. But now, as everyone knows, we’ve hit a wall, falling short of Joe Biden’s 70% vaccine goal, and vaccination hesitancy, or downright refusal, is now the story, and one that has become largely partisan, with resisters being overwhelmingly Republican.
And here’s where it gets even weirder. At the latest CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) event, a crowd cheered when a speaker announced that the country had fallen short of Biden’s vaccination goal. Dr. Fauci said he was “horrified” to see people cheering the fact that there are people who won’t get vaccinated in order to, well, own the libs.
At the same conference, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, a would-be presidential contender in 2024, blasted those GOP governors who had ordered mask mandates and business shutdowns during the worst of the pandemic when she had done neither. What she didn’t mention was that, according to Johns Hopkins statistics, South Dakota ranked 10th in the number of COVID deaths per 100,000 residents and third in the number of cases.
But the best of all was Colorado’s own Lauren Boebert, who went viral with her rant against Biden’s plan to have volunteers go door to door to encourage people to get their shots. These volunteers are not vaccinating anyone. They’re just offering information on vaccines.
“We’re here to tell government we don’t want your benefits. We don’t want your welfare,” she said. “Don’t come knocking on my door with your Fauci ouchie. You leave us the hell alone.”
Several Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, ripped Boebert for suggesting the government should end such programs as the extra unemployment benefits, but I had the feeling that Boebert’s complaints about government might not end there. So I emailed her communications team to ask if she meant all government benefits, most benefits or just COVID-related benefits.
I got this reply from Boebert spokesman Benjamin Stout: “Mike, Rep. Boebert was saying that she, along with millions of conservatives, supports limited government and individual liberty over cradle-to-grave welfare and the nanny state.”
I followed up to ask whether I should assume that included such benefits as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and Stout replied that I should not assume that — and that Boebert “supports the safety net.” So there you have it: Boebert supports the safety net, but not the nanny state. I wonder where the dividing line is.
In Colorado, Mesa County, which Boebert represents, has been hit hard by the Delta variant. It’s not a coincidence that Mesa also has a very low vaccination rate. Several people from the CDC recently showed up to look into the issue and to see if there was a way to get more people vaccinated.
This, of course, was a problem for Boebert, who tweeted on her personal account, @laurenboebert, “Biden has deployed his Needle Nazis to Mesa County. The people of my district are more than smart enough to make their own decisions about the experimental vaccine and don’t need coercion by federal agents. Did I wake up in Communist China?”
Problem is, there are no federal agents knocking on doors in Mesa County. According to the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, no one from the local, state or federal government is knocking on doors. There are no Needle Nazis — can someone explain to Boebert who the Nazis actually were and why even the Auschwitz Museum felt the need to call her out? — and no needles at all except in those places where you can get your vaccination shots for free.
I’m guessing Boebert didn’t wake up in Communist China. Maybe it was democratic Japan where she couldn’t bring her gun and she wouldn’t be able to score a ticket to attend the Olympics.
Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
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