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Public workers, public protest

“Will you protect the protectors?”

Firefighters’ and cops’ boots symbolize losses activists expect if they refuse shots.
Firefighters’ and cops’ boots symbolize losses activists expect if they refuse shots.

“Stop the Tyranny!”

“Unvaxxed doesn’t mean infected!”

I’m surrounded here. “Here” is the late October City Hall demo against vaccination mandates for city employees. Cops and firefighters, mainly. The city has told them December 1st is when they have to have the shot or risk losing their jobs. Message T-shirts and shouted slogans are everywhere.

“I thought the consent of the governed was the law of our land!”

“Freedom not force!”

“Yes to religious exemption!”

“Newsom released 50,000 felons. Gloria fires 300 cops to ‘keep us safe’??”

“No Mandate! Right to choose! Right to refuse!”

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Sponsored

Somebody’s wearing a T-shirt that says, “Covid 19 Medical Mandates Violate Human Rights.” A guy wearing a San Diego Fire Rescue T-shirt emblazoned with hand-daubed green and purple letters stands next to people with more professional signs. “These brave police and firefighters sacrifice their whole lives protecting and fighting for us! It’s our turn to fight for them!”

Freeedom but how to stop spreading the virus?

“No to vaccine mandates.”

“Yes! to our body, our choice.”

“The government doesn’t have the right to interfere with my body!” says Jenny, sounding like an abortion rights activist.

“Psalm 91: God’s protection,” says a lone demonstrator’s card. “1 Cor 8: Liberty of conscience.”

“For those I love, I will SACRIFICE,” reads the message of a 30-something woman.

Crowd’s starting to chant. Don’t quite get it. “What are they saying?” I ask.

“They’re saying, ‘Hold the line! Hold the line!’” says my friend Jenny. (That’s not her real name. She’s a committed anti-vaxxer. She doesn’t trust that I won’t be biased in reporting on her. Also, I had my recorder rolling before asking her. It was to capture the public speakers at the microphone. But that’s the wary atmosphere here. Whatever, we’ll call her Jenny.)

Today’s organizers, ReopenSD.org, have lined up a platoon of boots to symbolize how many cops and firefighters may leave rather than obey the vaccination mandate. “They’re going to lose a lot of police, firefighters over this,” Jenny says. Now a lady on the brink of tears is speaking into the mic. “I know someone who has served ten years,” she says. “One of those who served their country with loyalty. And I know someone who, with the same loyalty to country, dreamed of serving his community as a police officer. I know someone who was hired by the City of San Diego. I know someone who suits up every day to protect and serve the City of San Diego. I know someone who very soon will no longer live that dream, and will have to leave the city he passionately and righteously serves. I know that someone because I am married to him. My husband has dreamed of being a police officer since he was a child. And he’s not the only one. He’s a good man, a man of principle. But he will not sacrifice his principles for his job. Our city is in big trouble. The [police, fire] are not going to be able to answer the call. Will you protect the protectors?”

“YES!” The crowd of about 200 cheers and pumps signs.

Pitching for a mandate-free covid.

I try to talk to folks, but people hold back. “We don’t trust the media,” says Jenny. “All that the media pumps is fear! Fear! Fear! Fear!”

“That’s why it’s called ‘Tell Lie Vision!’” says her friend John. “It’s a propaganda tool for fear. Fear brings business.”

A guy’s speaking. “This is not just about the pandemic. It’s not just about the vaccine. That’s just a small part of it. This is about saving America.”

“YES!” The crowd erupts.

“The vaccine?” says John. “The jig is up. The jury is out. There is no debate. Everybody should know what I’m talking about. The PCR tests. The fact is this virus, what we call covid 19, has never been isolated. It’s never been purified. It’s never been a whole sample. What they have is cell cultures and they take a little bit out, and add to DNA and say, ‘This is covid.’ If you’re healthy, you should never be tested, because the test is invalid. How do you know what people died of? You call it covid. What is covid? They have never presented a full specimen of the virus! So the burden of proof is on them to prove that the virus even exists! What we’re calling covid is like the flu!”

Uh huh, I think. So how about the three quarters of a million Americans who have died in this pandemic? Flu?

But the crowd is with him, yelling out “Hold the line! Hold the line!”

“This whole manufactured fear,” John is saying, “to create Communist Chinese authoritarian Social Credit… [to spread the belief that] not getting vaccinated is some kind of risk to others…the vaccine is not a vaccine! It doesn’t stop transmission. It doesn’t stop you from getting it. So by technical definition, it is not a vaccine. It is an MRNA gene therapy. To call it a vaccine is to be obviously ill-informed.”

Behind him, the speaker at the mic is warning what will happen if first responders leave their jobs, rather than cave to the vaccination mandate. “If you lose 30 percent of your public safety people,” he’s saying, “there are people who will die unnecessarily, and the blood will be on the City’s hands.”

“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” says a lone girl’s hand-written placard.

I head back out of the plaza. Incompatible truths are flying around like competing viruses. The one comfort I take is that this is, well, democracy in action. Demos, crowd, cracy, rule, from the Greek. Like the Latin word “republic,” res, rule, publica, of the people. It’s a messy as hell way of running a society. Democracy, as Churchill said, may be the worst way to run a country.

Except for everything else.

Last thing I hear as I run to catch the trolley: “Hold the line! Hold the line!”

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A poem for Thanksgiving by Lydia Maria Child

The New-England Boys’ Song About Thanksgiving Day
Firefighters’ and cops’ boots symbolize losses activists expect if they refuse shots.
Firefighters’ and cops’ boots symbolize losses activists expect if they refuse shots.

“Stop the Tyranny!”

“Unvaxxed doesn’t mean infected!”

I’m surrounded here. “Here” is the late October City Hall demo against vaccination mandates for city employees. Cops and firefighters, mainly. The city has told them December 1st is when they have to have the shot or risk losing their jobs. Message T-shirts and shouted slogans are everywhere.

“I thought the consent of the governed was the law of our land!”

“Freedom not force!”

“Yes to religious exemption!”

“Newsom released 50,000 felons. Gloria fires 300 cops to ‘keep us safe’??”

“No Mandate! Right to choose! Right to refuse!”

Sponsored
Sponsored

Somebody’s wearing a T-shirt that says, “Covid 19 Medical Mandates Violate Human Rights.” A guy wearing a San Diego Fire Rescue T-shirt emblazoned with hand-daubed green and purple letters stands next to people with more professional signs. “These brave police and firefighters sacrifice their whole lives protecting and fighting for us! It’s our turn to fight for them!”

Freeedom but how to stop spreading the virus?

“No to vaccine mandates.”

“Yes! to our body, our choice.”

“The government doesn’t have the right to interfere with my body!” says Jenny, sounding like an abortion rights activist.

“Psalm 91: God’s protection,” says a lone demonstrator’s card. “1 Cor 8: Liberty of conscience.”

“For those I love, I will SACRIFICE,” reads the message of a 30-something woman.

Crowd’s starting to chant. Don’t quite get it. “What are they saying?” I ask.

“They’re saying, ‘Hold the line! Hold the line!’” says my friend Jenny. (That’s not her real name. She’s a committed anti-vaxxer. She doesn’t trust that I won’t be biased in reporting on her. Also, I had my recorder rolling before asking her. It was to capture the public speakers at the microphone. But that’s the wary atmosphere here. Whatever, we’ll call her Jenny.)

Today’s organizers, ReopenSD.org, have lined up a platoon of boots to symbolize how many cops and firefighters may leave rather than obey the vaccination mandate. “They’re going to lose a lot of police, firefighters over this,” Jenny says. Now a lady on the brink of tears is speaking into the mic. “I know someone who has served ten years,” she says. “One of those who served their country with loyalty. And I know someone who, with the same loyalty to country, dreamed of serving his community as a police officer. I know someone who was hired by the City of San Diego. I know someone who suits up every day to protect and serve the City of San Diego. I know someone who very soon will no longer live that dream, and will have to leave the city he passionately and righteously serves. I know that someone because I am married to him. My husband has dreamed of being a police officer since he was a child. And he’s not the only one. He’s a good man, a man of principle. But he will not sacrifice his principles for his job. Our city is in big trouble. The [police, fire] are not going to be able to answer the call. Will you protect the protectors?”

“YES!” The crowd of about 200 cheers and pumps signs.

Pitching for a mandate-free covid.

I try to talk to folks, but people hold back. “We don’t trust the media,” says Jenny. “All that the media pumps is fear! Fear! Fear! Fear!”

“That’s why it’s called ‘Tell Lie Vision!’” says her friend John. “It’s a propaganda tool for fear. Fear brings business.”

A guy’s speaking. “This is not just about the pandemic. It’s not just about the vaccine. That’s just a small part of it. This is about saving America.”

“YES!” The crowd erupts.

“The vaccine?” says John. “The jig is up. The jury is out. There is no debate. Everybody should know what I’m talking about. The PCR tests. The fact is this virus, what we call covid 19, has never been isolated. It’s never been purified. It’s never been a whole sample. What they have is cell cultures and they take a little bit out, and add to DNA and say, ‘This is covid.’ If you’re healthy, you should never be tested, because the test is invalid. How do you know what people died of? You call it covid. What is covid? They have never presented a full specimen of the virus! So the burden of proof is on them to prove that the virus even exists! What we’re calling covid is like the flu!”

Uh huh, I think. So how about the three quarters of a million Americans who have died in this pandemic? Flu?

But the crowd is with him, yelling out “Hold the line! Hold the line!”

“This whole manufactured fear,” John is saying, “to create Communist Chinese authoritarian Social Credit… [to spread the belief that] not getting vaccinated is some kind of risk to others…the vaccine is not a vaccine! It doesn’t stop transmission. It doesn’t stop you from getting it. So by technical definition, it is not a vaccine. It is an MRNA gene therapy. To call it a vaccine is to be obviously ill-informed.”

Behind him, the speaker at the mic is warning what will happen if first responders leave their jobs, rather than cave to the vaccination mandate. “If you lose 30 percent of your public safety people,” he’s saying, “there are people who will die unnecessarily, and the blood will be on the City’s hands.”

“In the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” says a lone girl’s hand-written placard.

I head back out of the plaza. Incompatible truths are flying around like competing viruses. The one comfort I take is that this is, well, democracy in action. Demos, crowd, cracy, rule, from the Greek. Like the Latin word “republic,” res, rule, publica, of the people. It’s a messy as hell way of running a society. Democracy, as Churchill said, may be the worst way to run a country.

Except for everything else.

Last thing I hear as I run to catch the trolley: “Hold the line! Hold the line!”

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