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Squires: The COVID religion is forcing the left to abandon its false gods of Tolerance, Resistance, and Disobedience

Op-ed
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COVID has become the center of a new religious crusade on the left. Their Road to Wuhan experience has caused Democrats to adopt radically new beliefs, abandon some of their most important principles, and discard many of their favored groups.

Such is the life of a converted Covidian.

Liberals are typically accepting of whatever lifestyle choices people want to make and reject the use of shame as a tool for behavioral modification. They resist fat-shaming, slut-shaming, and body-shaming. They also reject attempts to stigmatize people with drug and alcohol addiction, even when their behavior causes them and others harm. They have even taken steps to reduce criminal penalties for people who knowingly expose others to HIV/AIDS, despite the past belief that a positive diagnosis is a death sentence.

COVID made them see the light.

Now public shaming and ridicule are completely acceptable. It started last year around Memorial Day when restless Americans left their homes to enjoy the warm weather and breathe fresh air. Advocacy media reporters chastised them on air for gathering outside and not wearing masks. There is also an entire genre of Covidian journalism dedicated solely to people who died after claiming COVID is a hoax. These articles serve as stark warnings for unbelievers, especially because the vast majority of the people who died did not vote for the current president.

COVID also made the left change perspective on public compliance. For years liberals pledged to "fight the power" and saw any act of resistance to the government — especially the police — as morally justified. They made Jacob Blake into a racial justice icon when he was shot after fighting with police. That Blake was armed with a knife, allegedly sexually assaulted the mother of his children, and had a warrant for his arrest were irrelevant details. He had a right to resist, and anyone who suggested physical force was justified for non-compliance was a heartless racist.

Democrats now see the error of their ways.

The born-again Covidians now see resistance as a sign of serious moral failing. Parents who disagree with mask mandates in schools are regularly mocked on CNN and MSNBC. The liberals who typically want fewer police interactions with citizens react with glee when the maskless get tased and arrested for disobeying mask orders.

The Covidian response to vaccines has been an even greater example of the left's religious conversion.

Democrats have been the party of "my body, my choice" when it comes to defending unfettered access to abortion. The party went from wanting abortion to be safe, legal, and rare to passing abortion laws that legalize it up until the point of birth.

That was their position B.C. — before COVID.

Now Democrats think everyone should be vaccinated and support mandates from every level of government, corporations, and schools. They believe bodily autonomy covers the ability to kill a child in the womb but not the ability to decline a vaccine.

Kathy Hochul, Andrew Cuomo's replacement as governor of New York, went to a Brooklyn mega-church to ask the congregation to become her COVID apostles and spread the gospel of vaccination. The Good News of Jesus Christ is that people can be forgiven of their sins and spend eternity with God in heaven. I don't think boosters every six months in perpetuity have the same impact.

The left's views on the working class have also changed. In the struggle between big business and organized labor, Democrats have been reliable allies of teachers, nurses, and first responders.

Suddenly the party that is home to a growing contingent of socialists and activists who support corporations firing working mothers in the middle of a pandemic. Last year nurses were celebrated as heroes on the front lines who risked their own health to save lives. This year, the ones with the audacity to think they can decide what medicine goes in their bodies are regarded as selfish heretics who want to kill senior citizens. Even major labor unions have sided with the Biden administration and mandate-compliant corporations. The AFL-CIO has been more vocal in support of Netflix employees upset over Dave Chapelle jokes than airline pilots or teachers in danger of losing their jobs over vaccine mandates.

Covidianism is a syncretic religion, so even the left's race prophets have been part of this spiritual rebirth. People like Joy Reid have no problem extolling the virtues of rappers like Nicki Minaj until they dare question the core tenets of her Covidian beliefs. Minaj told her followers to pray and resist anyone bullying them into taking the vaccine. Reid publicly chastised her on MSNBC. Roland Martin did the same to Busta Rhymes after the rapper went on an anti-mandate, pro-freedom rant at a performance in June. The black leadership class has defended the violence and misogyny in hip-hop for decades. Rapping about murdering black men and treating black women like walking semen receptacles is acceptable to them. Expressing unapproved thoughts about vaccines and masks is not.

The same can be said for some of the most influential black voices in sports. Jemele Hill supported Colin Kaepernick when he engaged in political protest on his organization's time and dime. Now she mocks Kyrie Irving when he says his resistance to vaccine mandates is his way of speaking for the millions of Americans facing similar pressure on their jobs. It is also striking to see people who always back players in their disputes with management do a complete 180 when it comes to mandates. Such is the nature of a true convert. He will abandon all he used to hold dear and cling to his new faith.

I'm not against vaccines or people who want to wear masks at all. I am thankful vaccines are available to everyone who wants them. I do, however, have serious reservations about the government partnering with corporations to force citizens to decide between a vaccine they don't want and their livelihoods. I do believe the blatant politicization of the virus has undermined the credibility of the scientific community. You can't condemn people for walking on a boardwalk with the family one week and then write a letter in support of BLM protests in cities all across the country the next week. You can't forbid churches to meet outdoors but permit activists to crowd the town square.

That type of behavior feels a lot more like religious dogma than science. The conversion is complete. Resistance is out. Total compliance is in. Uniting workers of the world is out. Obeying corporate overlords is in. Bodily autonomy is out. Mandating vaccinations is in. Everyone doing what seems right in their own eyes is out. Public shaming and harassment for the sin of rebellion is in. I don't think I've ever seen people abandon their principles so quickly. Only time will tell whether this new faith will last.
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