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No Pandemic Amnesty: Not Now, Not Ever

In her Atlantic article “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty,” Emily Oster urges Americans to forgive and forget the atrocities committed during the COVID pandemic. Those who have lost so much say, not so fast.

A recent article by Emily Oster of The Atlantic, “Let’s Declare a Pandemic Amnesty,” has sparked considerable controversy in the medical freedom community. The article suggests that we, as a country, should forgive and forget the atrocities committed during the COVID pandemic. Oster’s central argument for this is “we didn’t know,” and it was a “result of uncertainty.”

Oster explains that we didn’t know social distancing was ineffective, masks wouldn’t stop the spread, school closures would result in an alarming rate of learning loss and vaccines would not stop transmission. She argues that mistakes shouldn’t be considered crimes.

What’s most astounding is that Oster fails to note that millions of people already knew the truth about these oppressive policies. Countless doctors and scientists spoke out since the beginning of the pandemic that these protocols would cause more harm than good. They told us that masks don’t work and the vaccines don’t stop transmission or infection. 

The problem wasn’t that “we didn’t know.” The problem was that the people obsessed with COVID mandates didn’t want to hear what many experts had been saying all along and instead said we were “spreading misinformation.” The media called us “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vaxxers,” “grandma killers,” “domestic extremists” and “science deniers.” We were silenced, harassed and censored for speaking the truth.

We went from “15 days to slow the spread” to firing our nurses, police, first responders and military for declining an experimental vaccine. Millions of college students were forced to get vaccinated against their will with no informed consent, being told it was to “protect grandma.” 

Many are now suffering from serious injuries, including myocarditis, blood clots and neurological damage. A shocking number of healthy young athletes have died suddenly. The media, politicians and society pinned us against each other and divided families. Too many were uninvited to celebrate holidays, birthdays and graduations. We lost friends we’d had for years.

One of the most tragic parts of the lockdown was when we brought COVID patients into nursing homes. Our seniors were trapped without any visitors. These policies caused the deterioration of their mental, emotional and physical health. Our elderly were left to die alone while families said their goodbyes on FaceTime or Skype. Funerals were banned, in fact, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to arrest the Brooklyn Hasidic Jewish community for COVID violations after holding a funeral service.

When it came to lockdown rules, it was always “rules for thee, not for me.” Our government shut down our churches. Families had spent years building their small businesses and it took just a few months of lockdowns to destroy them for good. All while politicians partied, got haircuts and walked into schools smiling maskless while taking photo ops with masked-up children.

Perhaps the most painful part of the pandemic is how COVID stole an entire generation’s childhood and education. Local and state governments put caution tape around playgrounds. They closed schools, libraries, museums and beaches and kept kids isolated. There were reports of teachers across the country taping masks to children’s faces, sometimes using duct tape. Student achievement has plummeted with speech delays, social delays, behavioral issues and learning loss due to school closures, lockdowns and mandatory masks. We stole vital years from these children. 

Oster argued that those who advocated to keep schools closed were “people who cared about children.” The truth is, children weren’t even at risk for catching COVID or having mild symptoms. These people were selfish and sacrificed children for their own false sense of safety. This impact is likely to last for years to come.

Politicians locked us in our homes — increasing the rates of drug overdose, reports of child abuse and suicide. While Oster wants us just to move on, we must remember that some reports claim there were more suicides related to pandemic measures than deaths in kids due to COVID. These parents will never see their children again.

They suppressed lifesaving treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. Doctors across the country lost their medical licenses or were fired for therapeutically treating COVID patients. Thousands ignored natural immunity. Celebrities took to social media and called for death upon those who chose not to get vaccinated and their supporters agreed with them. Americans across the country were denied lifesaving treatments and operations due to their vaccination status, including a 6-month-old baby whose doctors at Vanderbilt’s Children’s Hospital initially refused to add to the heart transplant list because he wasn’t vaccinated. 

We were barred from entering restaurants without showing our papers in Democrat-run cities, fired from our jobs, suspended from school and denied a fair and equal education. And when asked about the COVID response, politicians like Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York said she “would do it all again.”

Oster ended her article calling for pandemic amnesty with: “The standard saying is that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. But dwelling on the mistakes of history can lead to a repetitive doom loop as well. Let’s acknowledge that we made complicated choices in the face of deep uncertainty and then try to work together to build back and move forward.”

As a Christian, I believe in forgiveness, but to forgive what happened to our elderly, our children and the weak and vulnerable seems almost impossible, especially when the call for pandemic amnesty doesn’t even include an apology. This “pandemic amnesty” sounds more like “stop complaining, shut up and move on.”

We can’t just “move on.” Our lives have drastically changed. Some of us fled states that we called home our entire lives. Our businesses went bankrupt. We were fired from our jobs or forced to take a shot. Our grandparents were killed in nursing homes. Our families are divided and friendships destroyed. We cannot just pick up where we left off pre-COVID.

I know the past two years have changed me. I won’t forget.

No Pandemic Amnesty. Not now. Not ever.

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