“Mr. Wilson, you may not enter the jetway until the mask is over your nose.”
These snarky words greeted me on my recent Southwest flight to Denver, Colorado. A middle-aged woman glared at me with the confidence of a third-grade line leader.
I grudgingly moved my mask one inch higher on my face and saved thousands of lives that day.
Actually, the only thing I accomplished was satisfying the ticket agent. She and millions of Americans fail to realize that we are all that stands in the way of ending pandemic protocols.
The elites ordering us to follow nonsensical rules around masking, distancing, and vaccinating are powerless in the absence of our compliance.
We understand the virus and know who it affects — the elderly and immunocompromised. Vaccines of decent effectiveness are widely available. We know how to treat the virus (whether we choose to act on proper treatments is another article) and we are coming to accept that everyone will eventually contract the virus, regardless of vaccination status.
Pharmaceutical companies Merck and Pfizer are nearing approval on their treatment pills.
Yet we still play March 2020 make-believe in airports and schools. This is because millions of us are happily complacent.
There is no pushback, no debate, no walkout, no refusal on a mass scale. Americans submit to the absurd and unscientific regulations that should have ended a year ago in every airport and major city.
Two factors should convince Americans to stop playing along: the rules make no sense and those in charge don’t follow them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is still recommending “universal school masking” for children aged 2 and over. Yet a recent Israeli study looked at 47,000 kids between the ages of 0 – 9, finding this group “did not have substantial rates of SARS-CoV‑2 infection during school attendance periods, and it may be assumed that they did not have a substantial role in COVID-19 spread.”
While children sit in distanced desks in cloth masks, missing out on the most formative years of their lives, thousands of fans pack into stadiums every week for football games. Clemson University’s season opener saw over 80,000 attendees, many of whom were unmasked.
To eat indoors in New York City you have to show your vaccine papers and in Los Angeles, you will soon have to show your card to enter most businesses.
Yet just in New York State alone, there have been 151,316 breakthrough cases, meaning fully vaccinated individuals who contract COVID-19. A study from Rotterdam’s Erasmus Medical Center found 85% of breakthrough cases are symptomatic.
Booster shots are now widely pushed. A fourth shot is almost available for vulnerable individuals.
All while those in power push more orders and mandates they fail to follow themselves.
A maskless John Kerry, U.S. presidential envoy for climate, has made multiple appearances on flights. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer loves to party without her cloth sheet when she’s not traveling to Florida against her own rules. Top Democrats traveled and attended President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January despite their rules against unnecessary travel and large crowds.
Don’t forget when countless politicians including every living president minus Jimmy Carter attended former Congressman John Lewis’ funeral in July 2020 while everyday people could only invite a handful of friends to their loved one’s ceremony.
The elites are confused hypocrites grasping for the control they’ve become addicted to.
All that stands in the way of a complete and immediate return to normalcy are millions of Americans refusing to comply.
There is simply nothing those in power can do. If thousands of gate agents refuse to condemn those who want to breathe, the airline can’t afford to fire them all.
If we cease compliance, life will return back to normal.
These tyrannical pandemic measures are no longer in the hands of China, Pfizer, President Joe Biden, Fortune 500 CEOs, or any talking head. They are in the hands of that agent at Gate D21.
Ben Wilson is a senior studying politics and journalism. He is the Editor-in-Chief at The Collegian.