“I Ain’t Scared of No Virus” — How White Identity Politics Influences Our Bad Decisions

Joe Duncan

A tale of two viruses with drastically different results

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Florida isn’t doing well. Okay, sorry for the euphemism. It’s more like, Florida is screwed. This summer, we were gutted by the Delta variant of COVID-19. It maxed out our hospital system, pushing it to the brink of collapse. We’re hurting. The virus is destroying our businesses. We can’t get back to normal until we get everyone on board. And our Governor, Ron DeSantis, is pandering to a very small minority of crazies.

More on that in a minute…

He refuses to implement a mask policy. He refuses to take any sensible steps to try to combat this virus. Even among small school children who are just now going back to school. Huh, we have a dangerous pandemic and the highly contagious delta variant is running amok amidst our population, want to take a guess at how that’s working out for us?

By the 2nd day of school, back in August,, 400 kids had to be quarantined thanks to the delta variant — in one county alone. And not even our most populous county.

Children. Had to be quarantined. Because of the virus. Stop and let that sink in.

Meanwhile, the rabid anti-mask and anti-vax sadists are running the show. They’re telling us that they don’t want their kids to wear a mask because they don’t want it to do psychological harm to their kids. I’m not sure where they get their info, probably Facebook and conspiracy theory YouTubers, but I sense that being locked up in the isolation of quarantine and fearful of catching a virus that’s already killed more than 700,000 Americans is much more psychologically traumatizing than wearing a mask for the bulk of your day.

Our governor threatened to not pay teachers if the school boards they happen to teach in implemented a mask policy for children.

This move has been deeply unpopular.

It’s authoritarian and tone-deaf to what Floridians want. 62 percent of Floridians said that masks should be mandatory in school. 31.9 percent said they should not be mandatory. And only 6.1 percent were unsure whether or not masks should be mandatory in school.

We don’t even want this. It’s being forced on us by a small minority of residents. Everyone else is taking this seriously.

Just in case you’d seen enough Florida Man headlines to think we’re all crazy, I can assure you, we’re not. We’re just being terrorized by a minority of sadists who’ve hijacked our government. They’re a murder cult, hellbent on forcing people to risk the virus so they can escape having to take the slightest bit of responsibility.

It’s funny how quickly the flip from, “You can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do,” to, “This is tyranny! I demand the right to be irresponsible, no matter how many people it kills!”

Meanwhile, the running theme among the most fervent anti-maskers and anti-vaxers seems to be one singular commonality that they all share. They’re all banded together by White Identity Politics, the kind that resembles White Grievance Politics more than anything else.

They’re pissed off. They feel like their country is being stolen from them. They’re juiced up on Tucker Carlson and Fox News. They’re imbibing ex-President Trump’s every word. They soak their brains into the vats of paranoia that make up the far-right media ecosystem.

Paranoid ramblings of Fox News and Newsmax hosts now resemble drugs more than anything else. I’ve seen a lot of people lose themselves to drugs and I’ve seen a lot more people lose themselves to the baseless conspiracy theories that torture the rest of us. They get high on the media-based fear every single day. It’s just like a drug, only there’s zero euphoria and it just takes you straight to paranoid delusions.

How is it that I still see people saying, “It’s just like the flu. I’ll take my chances.” These words echo the same sentiments Trump had about the virus when it first reached American shores, as he downplayed it every step of the way instead of preparing for the disaster that loomed ahead.

This seems to be a common theme among those who subscribe to White Grievance Politics: they refuse to plan for the future, no matter how unpropitious and dangerous the threat. It could be climate change, it could be a virus, it could be something as simple as investing in education so our kids can be competitive members of the global workforce, or even healthcare to make sure we can be taken care of when we get sick. They want none of it.

All they can think of is themselves and their immediate gratification. They’d rather buy stuff they don’t need from Amazon to soothe the ache of feeling small in the great big world. They’d rather impulse buy celebrity gossip magazines and take out new loans to consume even more. Their lives have largely been swallowed up by the one American motto: consume at all costs.

They’ll tell you that the flu killed more people than COVID last year. That’s a straight-up lie. In fact, considering we were masking and social distancing, instances of the flu dropped 98% last year.

Crazy. It’s almost as if masks and social distancing protect against other respiratory viruses like the flu, too. We reduced those deaths as well.

I’m sick and tired of the “I’m not scared of no virus,” attitude going around and the, “It’s no more dangerous than the flu.” They’ll even tell you that most of the people survive.

Would these same people be so willing to scoff at the idea of catching HIV and AIDS? Something tells me HIV scares most of them to death. Yet, since the first diagnosis of HIV/AIDS in the United States, all the way back in 1981, only 675,000 people have died from the HIV virus. In 40 years.

Compare that with the 624,619 people who’ve died from COVID-19 in the past year and a half alone.

In 2019, the last year before everything shut down, 15,815 people died from AIDS. This isn’t to say that AIDS isn’t serious. I’m saying that COVID-19 is significantly more serious. Compare that with the 300,000+ people who died from COVID in 2020 alone.

That’s 19x more people who died from COVID in 2020 than died from HIV in 2019. Your chances of surviving COVID-19 are 19x worse than they are of surviving HIV.

Anyone with half a brain can see there’s a miscategorization being applied here. It’s implicit homophobia that most of these people would never admit. They still, even after decades of scientific research and heterosexual people coming out with their HIV+ status, view HIV as “the gay disease,” that it was considered before I was even born.

So, riddle me this…why would you “take your chances” with COVID, yet, you’re terrified of catching the much more survivable HIV? It just doesn’t compute. Unless you step into the world of deep homophobia.

I’m so unbelievably tired of these people treating this brutal virus that’s rampaging our hospitals right now and killing our friends, family, and loved ones en masse as if it’s just not a big deal. Our Florida Governor even said, “It’s just something we’ll have to learn to live with.” As if this is an excuse to take absolutely no action whatsoever.

Have we become a nation ruled by a tyrannical minority of children whose idea of “freedom” is “just be as irresponsible as you want, and don’t you dare let anyone hold you accountable for ruining everything?” I think that’s where we are these days.

Comfortable, irresponsible Americans feel entitled to do whatever they want. We live in a culture of same-day delivery and I’ve seen more than enough Americans throw a tantrum when their same-day delivery had to be postponed a single day. Is this what we’ve come to? A total inability for many among us, millions of people, to make any sense whatsoever. I fear that may be the case…

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Keeping Florida informed with the latest. Life isn’t a series of many moments, but one moment that is always changing. Catch me on: https://twitter.com/JoeMDuncan

Orlando, FL

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