COVID As Religion, Not a Fad

 

With vaccines becoming more widespread, I can understand feeling a sense of optimism about life in lockdown states returning to normal. I am here to burst that bubble.

I live in one of those locked down states, Maryland, in one of its most blue areas, Montgomery County. It’s astounding the degree with which this COVID adherence has fallen along party lines and it’s created an astounding dynamic. Here in Maryland, practically no kids are back in public schools in-person (we’re last in the country for in-person learning) and suddenly teachers are comparing themselves to babysitters and test proctors. Deeming public school teachers useless and non-essential sounds like a conservative talking point, but it’s somehow morphed into a liberal one as well. Women are dropping out of the workforce in the millions and we haven’t heard a peep from feminists about how detrimental school closures are on working women, the pay gap, etc. That pet issue has just become moot because discussing the tradeoffs flies in the face of the new reality they have decided to adopt.

I was hoping that with more widespread vaccinations of our most vulnerable populations, the sense of hysteria would dial back even just a little. Then I took a trip to my local Trader Joe’s today and that hope was completely dashed. I looked around and realized that I was the one and only customer, the one and only person in the entire store, not voluntarily in two masks. Double masking is a punchline in real America, but a reality here.

The other day I was texting with a girlfriend considering a move to Florida because of the hysterical nature of where she lives, Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in a very Hasidic household and has since dialed back her religious observance because of how suffocating she found her community and surroundings. Her perspective was jarring and worth sharing. She told me, “People and institutions jumped into COVID restrictions like a new religion. Everyone is afraid of each other’s shadow. I cannot live among doomers. It’s not just about the restrictions; I cannot live among the people who want them. I didn’t leave a fundamentalist religion to get an even more self-righteous one imposed on me.”

It’s trips like today’s to the supermarket that makes me apt to agree with her. I don’t think this new religion is going anywhere anytime soon, no matter what advances we make with vaccines or herd immunity. This is life now for many blue state residents, and we have to make a choice if we’re willing to live with it (or not).

 

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  1. Captain French Moderator
    Captain French
    @AlFrench

    If Maryland is last for in person learning, Oregon is not far behind. And its reputation for being very blue is well deserved. But I have not seen anyone double masked, although I have not specifically been looking for it.

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    This morning I took my car in for servicing. When I arrived at the dealership, I saw service reps walking around with masks. The rep taking care of me was an attractive young woman, maybe in her 20’s. And she didn’t wear a mask. So I asked her, “Are masks required?” and quickly followed with, “I’d rather not wear one.” She said the masks were supposed to be worn by employees, but she didn’t like wearing one. So she didn’t. And she said it wasn’t required of customers.

    The funny thing is that the owner of the dealership came walking through the customer lounge to fill up his coffee. He didn’t have a mask on. And the number of customers wearing masks was mixed.

    I think that Gov. DeSantis has definitely set the tone. He prefers treating us like grown-ups. He mentioned this morning that some folks could get their vaccinations at churches, which might make them feel more safe. I don’t think he’s adopted vaccines as his new religion.

    • #2
  3. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    I mean, there’s also this …

    • #3
  4. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    I haven’t expected most leftists to give up on restrictions no matter how many people get vaccinated.  Even most Republican leaders are too afraid to lift mask mandates.

    • #4
  5. W Bob Member
    W Bob
    @WBob

    An interesting thought experiment is to imagine yourself before the virus, being told beforehand that it was about to happen and that adherence to restrictions would more or less coalesce around party lines. Could you predict beforehand what party would be on what side? It’s easy to think you could with the benefit of hindsight, but I’m not sure it would have been easy to predict. 

    • #5
  6. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Is this the world’s first religion where you are your own messiah? (The new Trinity: Had Covid, Got the Vax, Double Mask Anyway.)

    • #6
  7. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Forget it, Bethany. It’s Montgomery County.

    • #7
  8. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    Basil Fawlty (View Comment):
     

    Forget it, Bethany. It’s Montgomery County.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjSshSvQWQA&t=2s

    • #8
  9. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    C. U. Douglas (View Comment):

    I mean, there’s also this …

    That seems to be the whole point of the exercise for some people, doesn’t it?

    • #9
  10. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    You live in Maryland Bethany?  I see your articles in the NY Post that for some reason it seemed you lived in the NY area.  Frankly NYC has become a blank hole, the same word Trump used to describe some of these countries a few years back.  I don’t blame your friend for wanting to leave.  I vant to go to Floreeda too.  ;)

    • #10
  11. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    My daughter’s schools allow in person schooling, but only as an accommodation to working parents.  The kids do the same zoom classes, sitting at an isolated desk at school, where they also eat their lunch alone.  Might as well do the zoom classes at home.  

    But as I listen in on her classes, there is a common practice:  Every class, except gym class, the teacher speaks for about five or ten minutes and then instructs the kids to work on their own for the rest of the class period. 

    This has been a wasted year.  

    • #11
  12. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    We must all genuflect at the feet of Herr fauci.  Are we allowed to say his name in non-reverential tones?

    • #12
  13. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Buckpasser (View Comment):

    We must all genuflect at the feet of Herr fauci. Are we allowed to say his name in non-reverential tones?

    Yes, it is now considered a sign of respect to spell his name with the hyphenated Fu-c.

    • #13
  14. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    Bethany Mandel: “People and institutions jumped into COVID restrictions like a new religion. Everyone is afraid of each other’s shadow. I cannot live among doomers. It’s not just about the restrictions; I cannot live among the people who want them. I didn’t leave a fundamentalist religion to get an even more self-righteous one imposed on me.”

    Is this why religious people are the most willing to stand against COVID restrictions? They understand that the state is the perverse womb of the new idols?

    • #14
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