Opinion: The Grinch that stole Christmas

President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci are vying for the title of the most insufferable Grinch.

  • Thursday, December 23, 2021 12:26pm
  • Opinion

By Win Gruening

“I must stop Christmas from coming… but how? I mean — in what way?” — “How the Grinch Stole Christmas ” (2000).

Dr. Seuss’s beloved children’s book and movie adaptation are playing out in real life as President Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci vie for the title of the most insufferable Grinch.

When “How the Grinch Stole Christmas “was first published in 1957, it did not go unnoticed that the Grinch was the first adult and the first villain to be a main character in a Dr. Seuss book. Reviewers called the Grinch “easily the best Christmas-cad since Scrooge.”

Amid rising inflation and bitter discourse, exhausted Americans are now approaching their third year of living under the crushing weight of pandemic mandates. The never-ending demonization of the unvaccinated and the politically acrimonious rhetoric of the Biden administration have divided America like no other time in recent history.

President Biden is now lecturing us that the omicron variant is spreading fast and that unvaccinated Americans are facing a winter of “severe illness and death.”

Fauci, White House chief medical adviser, followed that grim prophecy with the possibility that more restrictions may be needed to curb the transmission of COVID-19 if cases continue to surge.

“If the counts keep going up and the test positivity keeps going up, we may need to be more restrictive.” When Fauci was asked, “Are we ever going to get to a point where we won’t need to wear masks on airplanes?”, he responded, “I don’t think so.”

Those dire predictions contradict initial research that shows, while the omicron variant is highly transmissible (even among vaccinated individuals), the symptoms are typically mild and hospitalizations are significantly fewer. More importantly, COVID-19 treatments have come a long way since the early days of the pandemic. The availability of vaccines, effective monoclonal antibodies, and new therapeutics will continue to improve medical outcomes and apparently are useful against this variant in reducing severe symptoms. The increased availability of rapid at-home tests will help to further limit COVID-19 transmission. Some medical experts believe this variant could help us reach herd immunity and an endemic state where pandemic protocols will no longer be needed.

Nevertheless, the Biden administration and many politicians across the country continue to focus on number of cases and case positivity percentage while downplaying decreasing hospitalization and death statistics. Sadly, there is little recognition of the economic and social impacts of lockdowns and mandates — especially among young people. The relentless villainization and threats by Biden and Fauci haven’t significantly improved vaccination rates and only promote resentment, anxiety and paranoia among the general population. They strain credulity and appear more designed to divert attention from administration-caused catastrophes home and abroad.

Will we ever reach the end of the story when the Grinch has a change of heart and strikes a kinder, more positive tone? Not if our leaders continue to believe politics is more important than the power of religious faith and hope.

As noted in Steve Malanga’s City Journal article throughout history global events such as “famine, pestilence, and war have sent people seeking the comforts of religion.“

This hasn’t happened in this pandemic as evidenced by falling church attendance. This is likely due, in part, to government mandates and pronouncements over the last two years preventing or discouraging church goers from consistently attending in-person religious services. Many municipal and state governments labeled church activities as “non-essential,” in contrast to liquor stores and cannabis dispensaries which were allowed to stay open.

This only exacerbated the overall isolation and disruption of social connections created by the pandemic that has resulted in mounting anxiety, depression, drug use, and suicide. As educators discovered after school closures, religious leaders found that virtual Zoom meetings were no substitute for in-person services and, in fact, “eroded the religious experience, disillusioning the faithful.”

Christmas is a season of hope. Why can’t our nation’s leader craft a message of optimism instead of panic, fear and despair?

Americans should celebrate Christmas this year as they always have, with family and friends, encouraged and reaffirmed by our country’s ability to persevere and overcome, just as it has so many times throughout history.

•A fter retiring as the senior vice president in charge of business banking for Key Bank in Alaska, Win Gruening became a regular Opinion Page columnist for the Juneau Empire. He was born and raised in Juneau and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1970. He is involved in various local and statewide organizations. Columns, My Turns and Letters to the Editor represent the view of the author, not the view of the Juneau Empire. Have something to say? Here’s how to submit a My Turn or letter.

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