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At a New York City anti-vax "Freedom Rally," where rabid participants somehow conflate a free federal vaccine to save your life with tyranny. Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Idiots On Parade: We Shall Overcome, We'll Also Take Two Whoppers and Fries

Abby Zimet

Two weary, relentless, life-rupturing years into the pandemic, there are modest glimpses of glad news. A team of doctors at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, doing what Big Pharma won't has developed "the world's vaccination," a safe, open-source vaccine whose patent they're now transferring free of charge to manufacturers in poor countries - first India, then hopefully Indonesia, Bangladesh, Botswana and elsewhere. Doctors call Cobervax, created at the Center for Vaccine Development with generous philanthropic support, "a gift to the world" that could mark a first step in both vaccinating the rest of the world and halting the emergence of new variants. Around the same time, a team of scientists at UC San Francisco and University College London announced they have solved the mystery of the Omicron variant's rapid spread; their discovery of a critical protein that stifles the body's immune response, they hope, can lead to breakthrough treatments against Omicron. Okay, that's about it in good news.

On the flip side, we have the CDC, perhaps as burned out as the rest of us, issuing dubious new guidelines that shorten quarantine for those infected from 10 to five days, a move likened to, "You don't actually have to wash your hands - just get the fingies a little wet." Other skeptical analogies: "CDC says quarantine is over when you reach the center of your Tootsie Pop," "Sliding down a wall onto your ass while crying counts as cardio," and "CDC recommends bringing the giant wooden horse into the city - it seems nice." Meanwhile, as overwhelmed doctors say they are "at the limit" from Omicron's packed ICUs and surging staff absences, Fox News wizards are asking - albeit from vaccinated, distanced perches - why not just "let it rip" through the country and GOP cretins like Gym Jordan are still spewing endless, mindless bilge like "Live your life," "Ignore Fauci, enjoy your New Year's Eve," "Joe Biden didn’t shut down the virus. He failed. Again," and "If boosters work, why don't they work?" They took down the last one before Twitter did it for them as dangerous misinformation, but they have unconscionably, understandably yet to mention it's their own anti-mask-vax-booster yahoos that got us here.

Most scarily, a hefty chunk of the population have lost what's left of their minds, from attending meetings in a hazmat suit to argue any COVID rules are "like Hitler" to screaming if a City Council didn't lift mask mandates "get your guns" for "civil war." Righteous crackpots have gathered across the country with signs comparing a free, miracle-of-science, life-saving vaccine to Nuremberg, communism, tyranny, "killing our babies" and complicity with an unnamed worldwide conspiracy. Last week, as New York City's private sector vaccine mandate took effect, a mob of fervid, maskless cranks stormed a Brooklyn Burger King, the perfect stupid MAGA mountain to die on; when refused service, they stood their surreal, pointless, deep-fried ground, screaming at employees and each other - "Listen! Calm the fuck down! Listen the fuck! Who the fuck will lock arms with me?!" - while filming the chaos. Their leader Mitchell Bosch, a Jan. 6 rioter, perplexingly wore an MLK hoodie, at one point assuring a fellow moron, "Martin Luther King is smiling at you, brother." Bosch, who argued with police when they came that Burger King is public - "If it was private they'd do it by appointment" - also recently did a sit-in at a Cheesecake Factory: "What do we want? Cheesecake! When do we want it? Now!" This time, NYPD arrested him and four other geniuses - no Whoppers - as the ostensibly back-the-blue crowd shrieked "Heil Hitler!" and "Gestapo!" at the cops.

England, alas, isn't faring much better. In Liverpool, cops also turned up when COVID-denying "sovereign citizens" tried to remove a dazed elderly patient from a hospital, arguing the staff was holding him "hostage." But they were MIA when an anti-vax mob descended on a COVID test site in Milton Keynes - north-west of London, known for its concrete cows - having evidently confused it with a vaccine center while boasting they'd finally "woken up." Video from the "Freedom Rally" shows people marching past a "Testing" sign, led by a guy declaring it the site of a "vaccine rollout," as they yell "Genocide!" and "You're committing murder!" to terrified NHS staff who run for cover. In more video, an unmasked, smiling woman roams an office before giddily hauling off boxes of vital tests; she's later filmed jubilantly throwing them in the trash as fellow idiots cheer, "Well-done!" Then the crowd inexplicably moved to a theater to disrupt a holiday pantomime performance of Jack and the Beanstalk, packed with now-scared kids and furious parents, some of whom threw ice cream at protesters. On social media, they blasted "these louts" and their "delusions" with, "Try to educate yourselves...you misguided fools." Local pols likewise declared their actions "appalling," "despicable," "shameful, self-aggrandizing nonsense," especially when aimed at "NHS staff working over the festive season to help others." Milton Keynes' Tory MP Ben Everitt said it best, calling the theater debacle "a pretty rubbish protest" by "muppets." Ditto the test site: "What a bunch of dickheads...I hope police (can) bring these morons to justice." Now that's well done.


Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet

Abby Zimet has written CD's Further column since 2008. A longtime, award-winning journalist, she moved to the Maine woods in the early 70s, where she spent a dozen years building a house, hauling water and writing before moving to Portland. Having come of political age during the Vietnam War, she has long been involved in women's, labor, anti-war, social justice and refugee rights issues. Email: azimet18@gmail.com

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