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Batavick: Anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers — list of pet peeves grows during pandemic pandemonium | COMMENTARY

I am amazed by how long the noxious scent of skunk spray stays in a car well after the time you pass through it. I fear there’s a parallel here with COVID-19. Well after we all get through this pandemic pandemonium, we’re still going to be suffering its aftereffects. That’s why the coronavirus’s unwitting enablers lead off the winter edition of my “Pet Peeves” list.

1. Disinformation and misinformation about COVID-19. It started in the Oval Office and spread like an ugly stain across the country, encouraging anti-maskers and now anti-vaxxers. I just don’t understand why a matter of life and death was politicized. I mourn the poor, MAGA hat-wearing souls who’ve expired while still believing the disease was fake news. That’s beyond sad.

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2. Former Senior Health and Human Services Adviser Paul Alexander. This Trump appointee grotesquely recommended, “Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk ... so we use them to develop herd ... we want them infected... .” We learned from the Journal of the American Medical Association that “from March through July, there were almost 12,000 more deaths than expected among adults from 25 to 44.” Especially hard-hit were young Blacks and Hispanics. That’s criminal.

3. Senators Joni Ernst, Marco Rubio, and Lindsey Graham. These GOPers recently fell over themselves to be first in line for immunizations. They are the same folks who failed to denounce the president’s lies about the coronavirus, his refusal to wear a mask, and his superspreader campaign events.

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4. Congressman Andy Harris. When COVID-19 hit, he decried stay-at-home orders and shuttering restaurants and questioned the CDC about a “cult of masks.” He also never criticized COVID’s denier-in-chief. Now with 209 Carroll countians dead and counting, Andy sends postcards crowing about Operation Warp Speed’s vaccines and telling us to wear masks and keep social distancing. I guess you can have it both ways if you think people have short memories.

5. Anti-maskers. You can’t trouble yourself to put a piece of cloth over your nose and mouth to protect your fellow citizens from a serious and sometimes fatal illness? What’s that say about you?

OK. Spleen mostly vented. Now on to the less crucial things that got my goat.

6. Poor mail delivery. A check mailed from Westminster on Nov. 9 arrived on Jan. 21. A Christmas card mailed from South Jersey on Dec. 15 showed up here on Jan. 9. COVID-19 may account for some of this, but I also see the fingerprints of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. His “restructuring” threw a wrench into USPS operations last July. Given the importance of mail-in ballots to the November election, his timing remains suspicious.

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7. Derogatory nicknames. Attaching insulting adjectives to anyone’s first name is demeaning and a form of bullying, pure and simple. It’s also beneath the dignity of any public official. If your first name begins with an “H,” you wouldn’t want hateful, hapless, and hostile appended to it, would you?

8. Peanuts and Doonesbury. I support recycling but not in comic strips unless they’re published in a subsequent collection. Both strips are reprinting hoary old content, some with old cultural references that must cause younger readers to scratch their heads. 20 cent stamps, Snoopy using a typewriter, and 1974′s Comet Kohoutek?

9. Congressman Andy Harris, again. He flirted with sedition by joining efforts to disenfranchise millions of Americans and steal an election to install a demagogue. He believed lies that nearly 60 federal and state lawsuits had disproved, raising questions about his judgment. Then, after Jan. 6′s violence, he tried to bring a concealed gun to the floor of the House chamber. Now he’s breaking his promise not to run again. Keep digging, Andy.

10. Recreational marijuana. It’s coming, but parents of teens will have to be ever vigilant about their kids’ usage. Weed may not always be the doorway to hard drugs, but it is an enervating substance that often saps the ambition and will out of kids. If yours is really hooked, start renovating the basement now for their permanent residence.

11. NFL greed. Even though the Ravens had a massive outbreak of COVID-19 with nine straight days of positive tests, the NFL insisted that the 35 healthy players from a 53-man roster go to Heinz Field to play the Steelers. I’m sure this had nothing to do with salvaging the broadcast rights to a game. Collectively, they’re worth $5 billion annually.

12. Strip shopping centers. “Westminster Station” has just sprouted up across from our moribund mall. When is enough enough? Why do local developers and city managers keep driving stakes into the heart of Westminster’s Main Street for another sandwich shop or dental clinic?

OK. My blood pressure is much lower now. Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to wear masks and get immunized as soon as you are able!

Frank Batavick writes from Westminster. His column appears every other Friday. Email him at fjbatavick@gmail.com.

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