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America is in the grip of yet another pandemic. No, not a new variant of COVID-19. With this virus, victims don’t gasp for air, although they may leave those around them gasping for reality. Masks won’t protect these victims, and the only vaccine are doses of common sense and honesty with a booster of reliable medical science.
I’m talking about a new and virulent strain of selective-amnesia virus.
To be fair we all carry mild symptoms of this virus depending on the situation. For example, when a truly despicable person dies, the eulogy focuses only on the positive, and the bad stuff is forgotten at least during the funeral.
Those are the mild symptoms. But now, there’s a virulent strain of the virus surging through the Republican base threatening to infect the entire country.
Nine months after America watched its Capitol attacked by rampaging Trump insurrectionists seeking to overturn a fair election, Republican leaders want Americans to forget what they saw and move on.
This variant of the selective-amnesia virus is deadly, and it’s mutated from the “Big lie” about election fraud in the last election. But it’s not about the last election. It’s about the next one and all the elections to come.
We can’t have attempted coups, or bogus audits after every election just because one party doesn’t like the result. Those not afflicted with selective amnesia should remember the Benjamin Franklin warning of 1787, “You have a Republic, if you can keep it.” It applies now.
But Jan. 6 isn’t the only symptom. A few months ago, there were lines of people applauding doctors and nurses as tireless saviors. Now, thanks to a surge in selective amnesia, medical professionals are under attack, simply because they offer advice that Americans should be required to wear a mask and get vaccinated.
During the first COVID-19 surge, public schools, even though shuttered, were a lifeline for children by providing meals. Also, parents respected teachers deeply as they struggled to teach their own child. But all that is forgotten now, as the same parents shout about why masks and vaccines shouldn’t be required in schools.
In Iowa, around this time of year, the scariest place should be a Jaycee haunted house. But since the amnesia virus surge, the scariest place now is speaking at a school board meeting advocating a mask mandate.
Iowa always has enjoyed nonpartisan, and mostly non-controversial school board elections. In fact, unless there was a push to fire a superintendent, or change school hours, or some other hot button issue, school board elections were about as exciting as folding socks on Saturday night. But Iowa’s infected and school board elections in some communities are now angry partisan fights about masks and vaccines.
So how do we stop the spread of the selective-amnesia virus? First, we need to be vaccinated with some common sense. If it sounds absurd, it is. Remember, even on Gilligan’s Island, they listened to the professor instead of the movie star or millionaire. Let’s rid ourselves of the amnesia virus so we can return to the Iowa and America we’ve always remembered.
Bruce Lear of Sioux City retired after 38 years of being connected to public schools.