Dear President Biden,
The other day I took a screen shot of the image that was paired with Henry Olsen’s WP editorial entitled “Biden’s vaccine mandates may just backfire.” Initially the motivation was to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. However, once I confirmed that I was seeing what I thought I was seeing, it felt important to get another snap of the image along with the editorial title to make sure I grabbed it all before the WP powers-that-be realized how messed up it was. In case you missed it (the editorial only hung out in the main part of the website for half a day or so and they didn’t use the same image in the body of the piece), the image paired with the piece is of a glass gun case like you’d see in a gun store, containing at least 16 rifles, most of which look to be semi-automatics. It’s f***ing chilling – and nutso. What were they thinking?
I usually don’t read Olsen because he’s irritating as all get out and I generally just want to fuss at him, but I made myself read this piece because I wanted to see if he was actually predicting gun violence in response to the vaccine mandates. He wasn’t.
Basically, he’s running through a bunch of reports about how lots of people from lots from different public safety and health care professions are either going to quit en masse or will be fired (think: military personnel, nurses, firefighters, police, etc.) and that this mass exodus will endanger the public – and thus backfire on you. Of course, what he’s not pointing out is that having such people interacting with the public unvaccinated puts the public at risk, but hey – he’s not on that side of the fence so it’s no surprise that he skipped past that little detail.
The main point of all of this is that even my go-to news source – the Washington Post – is resorting to base click-bait fear tactics. What is wrong with people? Pairing a picture of a bunch of guns with a piece about resistance to vaccine mandates is incredibly irresponsible.
And sadly, I was in the middle of my workday when I saw the damn thing and couldn’t fuss at them when it was actually up and then forgot to go back and do it while the comment period for the piece was available. So part of what’s motivating this ranty letter is because I’m frustrated with myself that I didn’t say something to them when I had the chance.
On a somewhat brighter note, it’s been good to see both Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent (see this one by Waldman and this one by both of them ) cogently talking about the messy realities inherent to a democracy and how while things could be better, they aren’t dire and they’re even to be expected. I especially want to make sure you see the Waldman piece from yesterday since he’s explaining the seesaw, reactive nature of our body politic and how it likely means the following: 1) the party in power almost always loses either the House or the Senate in the mid-terms whether the party was or wasn’t successful in realizing its agenda, and 2) in light of this we/you need to seriously focus on the good that can be done in the next year leading up to the midterm. As in – let’s not get our panties in a twist over whether we will/won’t keep the House and the Senate but rather do what we need to do NOW to protect democracy itself, the planet, and our peeps.
So time to lose the damn filibuster.
Ok? Got it?
May we all be safe from fear mongering.
May we all be willing to get some good stuff done while we can.
May we have the strength and courage to focus our energies on service rather than politics.
May we all accept that democracy is messy and that without it, we are sunk.