Friday 11 February 2022

Freedom Convoy 2022

All I hear from the elites is, "ew, truckers! They're ignorant GED holders who don't know what's in their best interest! If they refuse to get vaccinated, then fuck them!"

OR, "ew, truckers! They're ignorant GED holders who are probably being organized by a shadowy cabal of Russians! Or Q-anon! Or Trump!"

Imagine if you will. A pandemic hits. You're a blue collar essential worker, which means you can't work from the safety of your home. There are no vaccines, no known treatments, and the virus is actually pretty scary. We don't know much about it, but what we do know is that it's really contagious and it's killing people. The country locks down, but you keep showing up for work. Maybe you don't want to, but you don't have a choice. You can't quit because you'd be quitting without cause, which means you won't get unemployment insurance. The government closes all nonessential businesses, then passes several relief bills in quick succession (let's collectively call them CERB). The total cost of this first round of coronavirus relief exceeds the entirety of the previous year's federal revenue. And 2019 was a GOOD year. An entire year's revenue spent in the space of a month or two, just on coronavirus relief. People around you have been laid off because of closures, and they get paid exactly what they were earning at their jobs. To sit safely at home and play video games. Maybe they'd rather be working. You don't know. What you do know is there are essential job openings at your workplace. More staff are needed to deal with the new sanitization regimen, and there have been people who've quit because they didn't need to work, or who were able to take medical leave because their doctors agreed they're vulnerable.

You aren't in their position, and you're working extra shifts to take up the slack. And you aren't seeing any CERB recipients applying. Just noobs straight out of high school who have no other option.

Still other people around you, most of whom earn 6 figures or close to it, can work remotely from their home offices. To them, the new normal is GREAT, because the commute is less than a minute, and they don't have to pay for dry cleaning or parking. Financial correspondents on CNN will a year later report that it was a record year in terms of median savings.

Sure. For people who earn enough to vacation in Cancun or Paris, but had to stick that money in savings instead. And again, that ain't you.

YOUR commute is still the same hour and 10 minutes each way by bus. Except now the ratio of passengers is more meth-heads and fewer commuters. Which is super awesome. But you deal.
Every day, you strap on your steel toes and take that bus to work. For a few months in the spring of 2020, public transit is free. Not for your benefit, mind you. It's because in order to pay or show your pass, you'd have to enter by the front door of the bus, and that would put the driver at risk. Still, it's better than nothing. Except for all the extra meth-heads. You listen to the radio and turn on the TV, and realize the government has spent millions of those CERB dollars on ads praising and thanking essential workers like you. "We're in this together," is the constant mantra. Well, no. Not really. Unlike those receiving government benefits, you're bearing the burden of essential work, doing what needs to be done, and paying taxes on the modest income you earn through your productivity.

And unlike those who can work from home, most of whom earn 2 to 3 times what you do, you're ALSO bearing the constant risk of infection.

It doesn't exactly feel like everyone's in it together.

You wonder sometimes whether maybe the government could have cobbled together an essential worker coronavirus tax credit. A little bonus for people like you, who have no choice but to make society go, whether you're scared or not. But I guess it was cheaper and easier to pay a marketing company and purchase ad spots to tell you and the millions of others like you just how much you're appreciated.

"We're in this together," after all. And the people making the decisions? The people picking the winners and the losers, choosing who will be put at risk and who will be kept safe and financially supported? Yeah. Their paychecks, and the paychecks of those they chose to protect and provide for, are siphoned off of the incomes of workers just like you, who have to provide for themselves, and who don't enjoy any protection. But you know. At least they're willing to spend some of that money to tell you how important you are. Vital, really. If it weren't for brave people like you, who have been given no option other than to keep working and risking your health, then all these other people who aren't working and all the other ones who aren't bearing the risk, well, they wouldn't be kept safe and fed and sheltered by your labor and your tax dollars.

You keep lacing up your boots and walking to the bus stop. Unloading the trucks and keeping the shelves stocked. This is a crisis, dontcha know, and no one should have to go without. Pallets of gourmet, organic dog treats, $12/pound spelt flour (WTF is spelt anyway?), and other vital "necessities" continue to arrive, and you continue to make sure they get where they need to go. In early December 2021, you catch COVID. By then, your employer has a program for paid COVID leave in place. It wouldn't be fair to make the taxpayer foot the bill for your mandatory 14 day quarantine, after all. They don't even make you use your vacation pay. By this point, there's no more "We thank our essential workers, and let's all remember that we're in this together" messaging on the radio. You're actually kind of glad you don't have to listen to that bullshit anymore.

You continue to put your steel toes on and go to work. There still aren't enough people to fill all the shifts. The public has demanded InstaCart for all, and that means more work for everyone. Have a serf do the shopping, bag it all up, and deliver it right to the trunk of the car. No one got a raise, though. Because the company is struggling.
Days later, the government cancels Christmas. $1500 fines per adult for multi-household indoor gatherings. But you, your parents and brothers have now all had COVID and have immunity, so fuck it. You're having Christmas with your family, and if you get busted, you'll all tell them where they can stick their fines. Over the next 8 months or so, the government vacillates between opening and closing the economy. But none of that really affects you. You're an essential worker. You go to work, you come home, you pay your bills and your taxes. Your favorite local restaurant opens, closes, opens, closes, changes hours, closes, changes hours back to normal, closes, reopens... You can live without calzone night on Saturdays, I guess.

Then the government tells nonessential businesses like restaurants that they have a choice. They can continue to operate at half capacity, or they can operate at full capacity and require customers show proof of vaccination or a $40 negative rapid antigen test less than 72 hours old. By this point, 80% of the population has been vaccinated, so every single business chooses the latter.

Your calzone place, two blocks from your home, won't even let you pick up an order in person without paying a $40 surcharge just to enter the building. It's hard to blame them. They could get fined $10,000 for each violation of the rules.

The government has said that they're considering an "equivalent to vax" passport for the previously infected, but it might take months for them to determine whether natural immunity exists.

Even though vaccination is just artificially induced natural immunity. And even though more than 100 different studies from all across the globe confirm that you're at least as protected as someone who's only been vaccinated. You might be blue collar, but you're not a moron. You know that if natural immunity doesn't exist, a vaccine COULDN'T exist.

But the vaccinated get the keys to the kingdom. Meanwhile, you have to pay a $5 delivery fee to have someone who's officially "safe" drive your calzones one block to your house, because you're not allowed to enter the building. Why? Because if the government admits natural immunity exists, it might slow vaccine uptake.

Christmas comes around again. Your grandfather died about 7 weeks ago. Not from COVID, thank goodness, because that would have been really tragic.

Your grandmother and most of your extended family have gotten on a plane and flown across the country to go celebrate together. Not you, your parents or your bothers, though. You all had it and after looking into all the research and doing a risk/benefit analysis, decided not to get vaccinated. The risks might be rare, but why take that risk when the vaccine will only make you exactly as immune as you already are?

But you know. No vax, no boarding pass. Even for domestic flights.

So. First Christmas without grandpa, and it's just 5 little lepers eating turkey and watching Die Hard movies 3500km away from the rest of the family. If they'd held it here, the entire family could have spent the holidays together. But why would they? You should have just gotten vaccinated like you were told. Why can't you just cooperate?

So here you are. You put yourself at risk. Not by choice, but because you were essential and the essential weren't given a choice. You paid the price for that risk and it knocked you on your ass for 8 days. The moment you were better and cleared to go, you were back at work making sure rich people had an uninterrupted supply of quinoa and free range duck for confit, whatever the fuck confit is.

You keep unloading the trucks. You keep stocking all the shelves. Then you do their shopping for them and put it right in the trunk of their car. You've been doing this for 20 months, except for that couple of weeks you became a filthy leper and weren't safe to be around. Then, under extreme pressure from the government, your employer decides it's either proof of vax or $80/week out of YOUR pocket to get constantly nose-raped and prove you're not infected. Just to earn the privilege of continuing to be an essential worker.

And if you refuse both options? You'll be fired. With cause. So no unemployment insurance for you.

And you refuse. People ask you, "why don't you just comply?!" Your response is, "I've been doing nothing but comply for almost 2 years now. I went to work every day. I bore the risk and paid the price, all so that you could sit safely on your ass collecting a portion of MY paycheck, or work from the safety of your own home with necessities delivered to the trunk of your car or your door. I masked even though I hated it, I socially distanced and learned how not to hug people, I sanitized my hands until they were raw, I rode that nightmare of a bus every damn day while the rest of you commuted across the hall or not at all, and I ended up getting COVID because I didn't have the luxury of hiding under the bed until there was a vaccine. I didn't put myself at risk because I'm some hero who voluntarily sacrificed for the sake of others, but because I wasn't given a choice. And maybe if I had been, I'd have chosen to do that, but I wasn't offered that choice. I was told to work or starve. Because I was essential.

"I've been a disposable human since this pandemic began, but at least I was an essential worker. Now I'm a disposable everything. Because, so they tell me, we're in this together."

"Even babies raised by wolves, they know exactly when they've been used." - Gordon Downie
"Trudeau can lick my sweaty butt crack." - Karen Straughan

Monday 3 January 2022

How does this make any sense?

 So. Back in early November I had to go to the ER. I was bringing in my green bin from the curb at 7:30 AM (pitch dark), and tripped over a branch that had fallen from my neighbor's tree. 

My right knee hit the concrete. My left hand took the rest of the impact and saved my beautiful face and gorgeous brain. I ended up rolling over onto my ass, and it was about 10 minutes before I could even get up off the ground and get back to the house. Try getting up when opposite limbs are completely fucked. It's like Twister, only with way more pain.

My husband drove me to a full service emergency room at a local acute care clinic. Turned out I had a chip from my patella floating around inside my knee joint, and a radial head fracture of my elbow with significant soft tissue injury.

The next week or so was really fun. But that's not what I'm writing about here.

What I'm writing about is my ER visit. Before you even get to triage, you get COVID screening. Do you have any symptoms? Have you travelled out of the province or country in the last 14 days? Have you been in contact with anyone you know is COVID+? Are you vaccinated?

For me, it was nope, nope, nope and nope. 

For the record, I'm not vaccinated because I caught the OG (original gangster) back in late January of 2020. I had some serious fallout from it. Long lasting cardiovascular and pulmonary injury. Over time, looking at the evidence in its totality, I decided that what little additional benefit vaccination might provide me was not worth the risk of experiencing that again. I'm satisfied with my natural, adaptive immunity.

So, nope, nope, nope and nope. And then my temperature check came out fine.

And they stuck me in the ER's COVID isolation room. By isolation, I don't mean they stuck me in a room all by myself. They stuck me in an enclosed space with COVID+ patients.

They didn't test me to see if I had COVID. All they knew was that I was unvaccinated.

This didn't particularly alarm me. If I was unfamiliar with the data, it might have, and I'd have noticed it right then and there. But I was in excruciating pain and was confident that my natural adaptive immunity would protect me, so it kind of went under my radar.

Four hours later, after all my x-rays were taken, the doctor comes in and asks if I'd be willing to be vaccinated. I said no. She asks, "are you willing to have a conversation about it?" I said no.

And then like an automaton, she starts a conversation about it. I told her I was fine with my natural immunity, since studies had shown it's 6 to 13 times more protective than vaccination alone. She tells me no, that's not true. The delta variant, she says. Also, she says, the CDC published a study proving natural immunity was inferior to vaccination. Which makes no sense at all. There is no universe in which, all other things being equal, vaccination is more protective than previous infection.

I kept refusing. So then she asks my husband (who was sitting there next to my bed, also unvaccinated, 8 feet away from a COVID+ patient) if he'd be willing to get vaccinated. 

We tell her he can't because he has chemical sensitivities that can send him into anaphylaxis. The inactive ingredients could be dangerous to him. Moderna, for instance, has acetic acid, and that's one of his triggers. 

She immediately changes tactics and tries to guilt me into getting vaccinated. "Don't you want to protect your husband? He CAN'T get vaccinated, so it's up to you to not get infected and expose him."

I was like, "bitch, please. We've both had it. Every study suggests that we're very unlikely to get it again, and that if we do, with very few exceptions, our reinfections will be milder than the original. I'm a housewife. He works from home. It's not like we're attending sports events where we tongue kiss strangers."

Eventually, she gave up and I took a tetanus booster because I'd fallen outdoors and it broke the skin.

It wasn't until recently that the natural versus vaccine immunity thing left my head and I really thought about what they'd done.

According to this doctor, I was extremely vulnerable to infection and severe outcomes because I was unvaccinated. Yet without ever testing me to see if I had COVID and with no indication that I did have COVID, they stuck me in an enclosed space with COVID+ patients. 

They intentionally exposed a supposedly vulnerable person to COVID.

Then she tried to pressure me to get vaccinated. Even though it takes two weeks after your first dose before you have any level of protection. What good was getting vaccinated after spending 4 to 5 hours exposed to COVID going to do me at that point?

Then she tried to guilt me into getting vaccinated to protect my husband, even though they allowed his unvaccinated ass to sit with me for hours in an enclosed space with COVID+ patients.

If they cared about me avoiding contracting COVID as an unvaccinated person, why would they have stuck my unvaccinated ass in the COVID room? Why would they have let my husband's unvaccinated ass sit with me in the COVID room?

Why would they have tried to talk me into getting vaccinated WAY too late for it to prevent me from becoming infected? 

For that matter, why would't they have tested me to see if I had COVID before sticking me in with COVID+ patients?

And this is policy. It wasn't a fluke. Because my husband was stuck in the ER COVID isolation room at a different hospital earlier in 2021. He had no COVID symptoms or indicators. He as just unvaccinated. They stuck him 8 feet away from some guy who was coughing up a lung. He'd eaten something that wasn't kosher, and had gone into anaphylaxis. They didn't test him for COVD, either.

Last I checked, it was "first, do no harm."

Why are our policies intentionally exposing allegedly vulnerable unvaccinated people who have no indications of COVID to COVID?

How does this make any sense at all?

You can say, "well, it's your fault because you weren't vaccinated." And again, I wasn't worried about me or my husband getting COVID because we'd already had it. 

But this doctor was literally trying to tell me that natural immunity doesn't exist, only vaccination can protect you. And yet as a matter of policy, they intentionally exposed us both. For hours on end. 

Because we were unvaccinated.