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Ted Gaines: COVID-T variant looks deadly to California freedom

Senator Ted Gaines (Ret.) | Other Voices

A dangerous strain of COVID is ripping through the California Legislature. This new variant, COVID-T, for totalitarian, threatens to sacrifice every last tiny shred of medical freedom in California on the altar of utopian safetyism and make the California U-Haul shortages of the past seem like quaint memories.

COVID-19 is no longer a crisis. This is good news! Nearly 75% of eligible Californians are fully vaccinated, a number that doesn’t include those partially vaccinated or who have natural immunity acquired through infection. Deaths are mercifully at a trickle. We should be celebrating the manageable threat that now confronts us.

But the COVID-T proves that the panic and fear that characterized the early, unchecked era of the pandemic are still surging in the Legislature.

Even as the futility of masking and shutdowns become evident in reflection, California legislators have introduced a number of hyper-controlling, uber-safety bills aimed at forcing left-wing vaccine orthodoxy onto everyone.

Here’s a sampling:

Assembly Bill (AB) 1993 (Wicks): Employers must get proof of vaccine before hiring a new employee or face a fine.

AB 1797 (Weber): Creates a vaccine registry, which could be used to deny services to the unvaccinated.

Senate Bill (SB) 866 (Wiener): Lets 12-year-old children consent to vaccines even against the wishes of their parents.

SB 871 (Pan): Lets schools ban students who are not COVID vaccinated.

AB 2098 (Low): Disciplines doctors for spreading COVID misinformation. Think of all the official announcements and guidance that have since proven wrong! This is an astonishing assault on free speech.

SB 1464 (Pan): Mandates sheriffs enforce state vaccine orders and withholds state funds from counties that don’t enforce.

There are others. These bills aim to deny livelihoods, education and shut down debate surrounding COVID treatment and policy. Here’s hoping they don’t try to cut off banking and travel to the unvaccinated, but this collection of bills shows an unlimited appetite for punishing people into compliance.

I’m sure the bills’ authors would scream “I follow the science!” The problem is, science isn’t policy. It is an input to policy. Policies are an expression of values, not equations. I’m sure science would show that high-speed impacts are deadlier than low-speed impacts, but that doesn’t tell us the speed limit.

Like COVID-19, car accidents are “transmissible” to other people. But even with “the science” and the risk to others, we don’t have turtle crawls on our highways. Why? Because all policies involve trade-offs and there are competing values in the world.

Freedom and choice, to name just two, are often ignored in Sacramento, but they should be balanced against other needs and desires in crafting laws and regulations.

This is a point lost on legislators who want to cut off the world to those who don’t line up for the vaccine, even if they have natural immunity to COVD-19 from prior infection.

The 100% safety COVID-19 puritans who imagine zero-COVID fueled by unquestioning obedience forget the experiences of the past two years. They forget the millions of closed businesses, the lonely elderly who died without the comfort of their families, or the masked and isolated children whose educations and mental health were sacrificed to zero COVID.

A Legislature that facilitates heroin use and lets mentally ill homeless terrorize innocents on the streets seems a little selective in the dangers they want to police. COVID-19 has been granted its own risk category, superior to all others. It makes no sense.

California is turning into the least hospitable place to live in the country. People are fleeing this state in such numbers that U-Haul actually ran out of trucks to service the exodus earlier this year. But that emigration will be tiny compared to the people flocking to freer states to avoid the life-controlling COVID-T.

You should control your medical decisions, not legislators who might be wearing masks alone in their cars but not at sporting events or restaurants. Don’t ever let them take your freedom.

Former state Sen. Ted Gaines represents the Board of Equalization’s First District with nearly 10 million constituents in 30 counties of northern, eastern and southern California. For more information, visit boe.ca.gov/Gaines.



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