Every. Single. One. Of those who attended "freedom" events anywhere yesterday, without a mask or distancing, went home with the very real possibility of infecting and potentially killing a family member, a friend or co-worker next week.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Suddenly you're not a freedom fighter. Actually, you never were.
You could be a killer.
The Nazi holocaust didn’t start with gas chambers.
It started with apartheid.
It started with scapegoating an ‘out’ group which could be blamed for worsening living conditions as the wages of working people were siphoned off by the corporatist state.
It started with the creation of a permanent underclass, an untermensch, against which popular frustration could be easily directed – the undesirables, the unworthy, disease carriers, gypsys, Jews, homosexuals and the mentally ill; communists, trade unionists and others who dared to express political views outside the dominant ideology.
It worked well to unite the population of Nazi Germany, as it is working well today.
Today I have been called vermin, a disease spreader, and told that I should be exterminated.
This from a proud labor voter and unionist.
I’ve been called a ‘shit-for-brains Trumpist’ and ‘January 6 wannabe’, invoking a popular trope among blue-anon adherents. This from a popular lefty celebrity type.
I’ve been told I am “putting the community at risk and should be ashamed of myself” by many who I thought of as life long friends or at least friendly acquaintances.
Vermin. Disease spreaders. Putting the community at risk.
No, this is not 1930s Germany. This is Australia 2021.
When I came across a flyer for yesterday’s ‘freedom rally’ in a local buy-sell group on social media, at first I was excited to see this disseminated outside of the usual political pages. Then the comments started, and the near universal public sentiment became apparent. Anyone protesting lockdowns should be locked up. We are all filthy disease spreaders. We are putting people's lives at risk. We deserve to get covid and die. We will cause lockdowns to be extended. We have no right to protest during a global pandemic. And on it went…
After a lot of soul searching I decided to attend the rally. It wasn’t an easy decision for me, but I did what I thought was morally the only thing to do. Not because I wanted to. I didn't want to. I really don't like confrontation. I'm generally shit scared of police, having been bullied by them a few times in the past. It certainly wasn’t an heroic gesture, and it also seemed fairly obvious that the event would indeed be used as an excuse to prolong lockdowns.
I didn’t go because I have been forced out of work and have no immediate means of support apart from drawing down on my mortgage – although that is true. I didn’t go because over the last months I have become increasingly depressed to the point of suicidal ideation – although that is also true. I didn’t go because my partner has been unable to visit her elderly parents due to seemingly arbitrary rules and guidelines, although this is true as well. I didn’t go because I have experienced domestic violence or relationship breakdown, although I know of many for whom this has been the case. I went because I can see what is happening in this country and right around the world, and I know that it has to stop. I went because I have read history, I recognise where we are and what comes next. I went because this government and governments around the world are already beginning to spruik movement licenses in the form of vaccine passports which they intend to introduce as quickly as possible. I went because of the coercive rollout a medical experiment on the broad population which is still in stage 3 clinical trials for at least another 18 months, for which there is no mid to long term data and for which adverse events including death seem to be occurring with alarming frequency. I went because the Labor party intends to contest the next election on a platform of building new quarantine facilities in every state, which seems oddly inconsistent with a pandemic which should by now be in decline.
I went because I am skeptical enough to look for a second opinion when the government and media read from the same page. I went because I'm critical enough to know how to read against the grain. Because I’ve lived long enough to notice when something doesn't smell right. Because 25,000 people being allowed to attend a football game but not a freedom rally seems to lack a compelling logic.
I went because the idea of politicians jet-setting across the globe and appearing unmasked for photo ops whilst their servants appear masked in the background seems just a little off colour.
I went because there is something about billionaires launching themselves into space while the general population are locked in our homes that doesn’t quite sit right.
I went because being stopped at the supermarket by police and asked to show my ID and mask exemption seems like a bit of overkill in a supposedly free and democratic country.
Anyway, that was yesterday. Today I find myself in a different place. A lonely place. I have lost a dozen or so people I thought w