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Images via Dick Hoskins (barn) and John Tyson/Unsplash

Between the Delta variant and vaccine refusal and the near lurch into civil war, I feel as if the US is swaying back and forth in the wind like an old decaying barn, ready to collapse in the next stiff breeze.

The New York Times reported a few days ago:

After an all too brief respite, the United States is again at a crossroads in the pandemic. The number of infections has ticked up — slowly at first, then swiftly — to 51,000 cases per day, on average, more than four times the rate a month ago. The country may again see overflowing hospitals, exhausted health care workers and thousands of needless deaths.

The more contagious Delta variant may be getting the blame, but fueling its rise is an older, more familiar foe: vaccine hesitancy and refusal, long pervasive in the United States. Were a wider swath of the population vaccinated, there would be no resurgence — of the Delta variant, or Alpha variant, or any other version of the coronavirus.

And what is fueling vaccine hesitancy and refusal? Stupidity, mostly.

Not just the kind of stupidity we should feel compassion for, that’s the outcome of poverty and isolation, bad education and bad nutrition, religion and superstition, but also the kind of deliberate, chosen stupidity (and evil) that makes Fox News loudmouths and gun-loving maniacs in Congress tell their millions of worshipers that the Center for Disease Control and Anthony Fauci and Democrats all hate Jesus and want to slaughter Republicans with that there evil vaccination. They don’t believe a word of it themselves but they say it to people who will believe them, and I wish I believed in a hell so that they could fry in it, at least for a week or two.

It would be comforting to think this is just normal human perversity and recklessness but it’s not – we’re special this way. The Times continues:

America is one of the few countries with enough vaccines at its disposal to protect every resident — and yet it has the highest rates of vaccine hesitance or refusal of any nation except Russia.

Ain’t that enough to make you proud? Good old American ingenuity and independent thinking: have enough vaccines to protect everyone and just up and refuse to take them!

That’ll show those pointy-headed doctor people in their fancy white coats and their plastic face shields – we’ll just say no! We don’t wanna! We’re interesting that way, we like to say no for no reason just to show we can. The fact that we’re helping to spread a deadly virus by doing so is a massive bonus, and we could not be more pleased with ourselves.

Fewer than half of House Republicans are vaccinated as of May, compared with 100 percent of congressional Democrats. For months, some Republican lawmakers including Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky, and conservative news commentators like Tucker Carlson, have voiced their skepticism of vaccines, loudly and insistently.

Because needless death from a pandemic is a conservative value now? I wouldn’t have thought they would want to go with that brand, but I always do underestimate this passion for nihilistic “I can do whatever I want!” politics we have. There’s this damn fool for instance:

Who is he? A Christian radio host. Of course he is; of course he is using his religious platform to tell people to refuse to do what the medical people advise because let’s make millions of people sick. What would Jesus do? Jesus would get all up in the faces of those pesky doctors and scream “I won’t I won’t I WON’T.”

Naomi Wolf is another American celebrity anti-vaxxer. There was a time when she was a semi-respected feminist writer, but then there was that moment when BBC Radio 3 host Matthew Sweet pointed out a mistake in her latest book live on the air. It left a bit of a dent, that, and now she’s gone full conspiraloon.

BBC News reported:

American author Naomi Wolf has been suspended from Twitter after spreading vaccine misinformation.

Dr Wolf, well known for her acclaimed third-wave feminist book The Beauty Myth, posted a wide-range of unfounded theories about vaccines.

One tweet claimed that vaccines were a “software platform that can receive uploads”.

She also compared Dr Anthony Fauci, the top Covid adviser in the US, to Satan to her more than 140,000 followers.

I’m not seeing the Satan thing. Fauci wants to stop the spread of the pandemic via vaccinations, Naomi Wolf wants to talk a lot of stupid crap about the vaccine to discourage people from getting it. Which of the two is more Satan-like? You be the judge.

The cherry on the cake is seeing Republican members of Congress and Fox News personalities demonizing the police and flattering violent insurrectionists; the world is now fully upside-down. That barn might as well just go ahead and collapse.