They’d Call Me a White Evangelical Who Won’t Voluntarily Get the Vaccine

I don’t believe masks work.

This is a simple claim that is as obviously true as ‘what goes up, must come down’, but it is also apparently the dumbest claim I could ever make these days. That I would assert it apparently reveals something very wrong with the way I am built.

The reason I don’t believe masks work is because of the word “work”.

Before last year, if we were flying a patient with Tuberculosis, we would don an N95 for the leg of flight with the patient on board. But before ever launching on that leg, we had been through our companies “fit testing” wherein the company and ourselves would use a tester and learn whether the mask actually sealed around my face. I don’t recall ever flying a patient with Tuberculosis, but I do recall believing that the N95, of my size, worked to keep me from contracting the disease.

It would be used for one flight. Maybe an hour long at the most.

Given that I am a pilot and not a clinician, to hang out around a Tuberculosis patient at length is just not my calling. In other words, I never considered long term mask use or if I would continue to work in an environment which required it.

Does an N95 or simple or cloth mask work to end a pandemic? Hmm. Let me think… no. How do I know? Because it hasn’t yet. And rather than pretend some hypothetical situation where everyone complies with my wishes is actually possible, I’ll just look around and state the obvious: the “pandemic” is not over. So wearing masks doesn’t work to end the pandemic. Next question.

It doesn’t end there, though. No. Somewhere along the way, by well-meaning folks with platforms, these folks attempted to hoodwink me into wearing masks by the reasoning that the mask was to save high-risk people from my unsuspecting transmission of the disease. “Put on the mask for love of fellow man.”

Then vaccines are created and the best message that Dr. Fauci’s team can develop to convince stubborn ol’ me to follow orders is, “Get the vaccine so you don’t die, Pete.”

Mask up for others, vaccinate for me. Got it.

But I still say, “No.” Or, “Not without some undue level of coercion.”

Why? And does my faith in Jesus Christ as captured by the social science label “white evangelical” have any correlation to my stance?

Let’s talk about that.

Simply put, I don’t believe masks work and I won’t voluntarily get the vaccine because I believe I have something to teach you.

You read that right. I believe I have something to teach you.

Get it? Understand?

(Picture me pointing at you). You believe you have something to teach me. You believe you know information that I don’t and you believe that I need to learn from you. Right?

(Now picture me pointing at me). Well, I believe, likewise, that I know information that you don’t and I believe that you need to learn from me.

I have noticed that your beliefs clog your ears, so I have concluded that I have to demonstrate my beliefs to your eyes.

One more time: I don’t believe masks work to end the pandemic. And I won’t voluntarily get vaccinated. The reason for my twin beliefs is that I believe that I have something to teach you.

I can freely admit that this situation, then, is similar, in method, to why I don’t become an apostate and renounce my faith in Jesus Christ at your bidding. Besides my fear of everlasting damnation being greater than my fear of enduring lackluster social shaming, besides my gratefulness for Jesus’ sacrifice for my sake, besides my awe at the daily display of God the Father’s Glory, besides the comfort of the Holy Spirit who indwells me at this moment, I also believe that I have something to teach you about life.

And in both cases, the pandemic and Christianity, my lesson is necessarily one of action. Unlike you, I have no theory, no models, no hypotheticals, only action.

As briefly as I can, then, the fact that I don’t believe masks work and I won’t voluntarily get the vaccine is my physical manifestation of the question: Will you learn from me?

Honestly, we all already know the answer in the pandemic sense is: ‘you’ll never learn.’ You will choose to live in fear until death.

In the Christian sense, it is possible that you will learn from me, or be willing to receive the gospel someday. But time is never on our side. And unfortunately, there is no escaping judgment. On that day, there will be no piece of paper or cloth big enough to hide behind. On that day there will be no data-driven model robust enough to be accepted by your maker. On that day one question alone will remain.

Jesus is going to ask you: “But who do you say that I am?”

I Love Focusing

I want to be clear about a couple things. Yes, I lie when it comes to the vaccine. I am not vaccinated and I do not wear a mask, even if I cross some magic boundary that suggests I am now at risk for killing people. So maybe you should get your third and fourth and tenth shot and quadruple mask. ‘Cuz I’m out there. Oooo.

This “little white lie” of mine isn’t going to hurt anybody, least of all kill them. And if I was to get vaccinated at this point, it would feed the bigger lie, being that my act of taking the vaccine saves the very lives of every person on planet earth. It doesn’t.

For context, I will add that my oldest friend got the vaccine because of social pressure at a university. He really believed his professors would somehow put a stop to his doctoral work if they found out he was unvaccinated. So rather than lie like I do, he chose to lie in a bigger way—that is, he chose to take a vaccine to please someone else. We fight ferociously about this choice of his whenever the topic comes up.

I will also add that when my job makes it mandatory to get the vaccine, I’ll get it. I make good money. It’s not a difficult decision.

And I’m sure that the mandatory-at-work thing is in the works, how could it not be?

That said, as I approach it, my focus has become clearer and clearer. And I love the feeling. I imagine that it’s like how gaining a superpower must feel.

Here’s why I won’t get the vaccine, put even more clearly: firstly, my doctor has never had a conversation with me and told me to get it (I haven’t spoken to any doctor about the vaccine ever). Secondly, the reason I am being told to get it by everyone but my doctor (who I don’t see because I’m not sick) is to save the entire population from dying. This is no joke. People are telling me that when I join them in getting vaccinated then life goes back to normal. People are telling me that my vaccine is so I don’t get other people sick.

No one is telling me, none of these people are suggesting that I get the vaccine so that I don’t die. Not one person has ever said that, my doctor or otherwise. No one. Not ever. Why? Because it’s a lie. And the chance of me getting Covid again and dying is meaningfully zero. This means I’ll be able to promptly call out their bullshit—and don’t miss this—and they know it!!

So they package their—get this—“attempt to avoid the reality of death” in a more palatable and completely unprovable, unmeasurable, and unbelievable manner by saying that the vaccine that goes into my body is about other people.

Nobody ever got a vaccine to save someone else. Unheard of. I won’t be a part of that nonsense. (I will, however, get a vaccine for my salary. Again, that’s an easy choice. Of course I can be bought. I’m not on some crusade to prove it’s possible to be poor.)

But as far as “do it for others”? That’s a lie. One big fat lie. And it’s told by cowards, as all lies are.

Want me to get the vaccine? Call my doctor and tell him/her (not really sure who my doctor would be) to recommend to me that I need the vaccine to save myself. Or you can keep lying and my work will cave to the zeitgeist for business reasons, as it’s forced to do by virtue of being a business.

The Future of America

My wife just passed her “interview” within the naturalization process. This was the last step, not counting the formal oath ceremony, along the road to citizenship of our beloved United States of America. As she accomplished this goal, (just for clarity—she began this process before we met—marriage to me has nothing to do with it), I couldn’t help but wonder, “What was the point?”

Practically speaking, the big benefit of citizenship is travel. As an Ethiopian, you can’t just travel at will. As an American, the world has no borders. Her mom can also come to America as near “immediately” as the world of immigration allows. And her son, my step-son, is now also a citizen. Good for him.

(If you aren’t aware, I wasn’t, a green card suffices for staying in America for ever, it just has to be renewed every 10 years, but there’s no chance it doesn’t get renewed. The travel element, again, is the great difference.)

(Or is it?)

My wife is very spiritual, within the biblical meaning of that word. She prays more in one day than most Christians I’ve met pray in a lifetime. She also knows the answers to the questions for the interview, but the spirit of GW doesn’t really live in her like it does me.

Yet, she’s excited she passed the interview.

For the first year of our marriage I assumed the citizenship thing was about her siblings back in Ethiopia. I figured/planned that once she was in, they’d be able to come over and my house would be full of life and injera for a few years. As time drew near, I learned that that isn’t the case at all. I learned that it’s a very long process to bring siblings over here. And, despite all the bad press about Ethiopia’s civil war and resultant human rights violations, her siblings are very proud of their country and want to live there forever.

To be “ho-nest”, I generally think my wife is a bit naïve to think that her citizenship means anything. And I think her siblings are simply nuts for wanting to stay in Ethiopia.

As for how Americans view our relationship, old people are nice to us, but with effort. Our peers are disarmed by us, assuming that our mixed-ness means something big about our focus in life, and they are very ready to approach us and expect to have a normal, nonthreatening conversation, like those of yesteryear. Young people don’t seem to notice anything but their screens.

As for me, I sought my wife because Ethiopia is called the “Island of Christianity”. Look it up. And the Muslims are already here. ‘Whatever flavor of Christianity she brings, it must be stronger than what we do in America,’ was my thinking. Jesus is more important than any political designations.

****

Biden has admitted to tracking online dissent, with the intent to silence it. A fool’s errand, firstly. Secondly, immoral on every level. But I can turn off this phone, turn off my laptop. I probably would be happier if I did. (I finally did start actively telling YouTube to stop recommending channels that only caused “I can’t believe this garbage is happening” reactions. Now I get broadcast/podcast microphone reviews, Jomboy breakdowns, and movie previews. Perfect.)

This small town we live in is inundated with Somalis. I’ve seen things with my own eyes that I cannot believe.

Fully covered women posing for their boyfriend at the lake, like they’re in a bikini.

Muslim centers packed on Fridays. Packed.

Little girls still wearing the gear.

Older youth girls still wearing the gear.

The Lutheran churches have an outreach ministry, if the yard signs can be trusted. But they suggest Ramadan is related to Passover and Easter.

****

The government is attempting to censor the internet. Islam is here and growing. I am no fear monger. I’m not afraid of Islam anymore than I’m afraid of a lie. You shouldn’t be either. The answer is know your Bible.

Now, I am also always on the lookout for a new political philosophy that accounts for current reality. As much as I love the classics, the situation has changed such that they do not suffice. Population size, to name one variable, is a completely new element and therefore unaccounted for in their theories.

What do I think about the future of America? I hope this post’s biographical content provides insight.

In short, I can turn off the internet.

I am powerless against invasion.

Packed.

Unvaccinated

To become a pilot in the US Air Force, I had to go through a process more similar to a job interview than simply “being recruited”. At one point, I had to be interviewed by a current officer—otherwise I might prove to be just a really good looking piece of paper.

I cannot recall exactly what I had been reading at the time. I know I wasn’t some well-read war or military history/philosophy guy. I would’ve been a junior or senior in college when I drove out to this man’s house. But I’m sure I was preparing mentally for all sorts of questions etc.

At one point, I remember being asked, “Why do you want to serve?” My answer went something like, “I’ve thought about war a lot. It seems that most people think that defense starts a war. As in, someone wants the land that another person is on, and if the current occupant doesn’t defend themselves and the land, then there would be no fight, no war. But,” I went on, “this type of thinking doesn’t satisfy or admit the full truth. The truth is that the aggressor starts the war. The aggressor wants the land. The occupant indicates that the land is not available and, here at this point, the aggressor can back down and keep the peace,” I opined all those years ago in some stranger’s home library.

“Well,” I concluded, “I figure that out of all my family, like my cousins and brothers and sisters, I am best suited to meet the aggressor on the field. Best suited to make sure we win the war.”

This answer (and my grades, 20/20 eyesight, physical ability, private pilot’s license and more) was good enough to get me my dream job of being a pilot in the USAF.

The current spirit in this country includes many powerfully-positioned folks telling me what I should do with my body. I hear them. Obviously. And I disagree. Period.

This vaccine battle is not an argument. This is not a debate. This is a moment where they, the “teller/aggressor”, have to decide if they’re going to start a war over controlling my body. It’s that simple. It’s not about other vaccines (consistent living). It’s not about protecting other people (sacrificial living). It’s not about “delta variant” (flexible living) and “94% of new cases being unvaccinated” (more flexible living). It’s not about “smart” (consensus living) or “stubborn” (unbalanced living). It’s only about the meaning of the word “no” (living with integrity). The only world I want to live in includes “no” meaning “no”. And, make no mistake, I will attempt to resurrect that world if necessary.

This post is simply clarifying that if they persist in their little ‘ask’, then just like in all wars, they will have started the war. Not me. Maybe it’s worth it to them.

And the only real reason for the post is that while starting this war, they persist in the belief that they want peace.

I cannot say it enough.

We are living in a time of perversion.

Where Are You From?

Not too long ago, I heard that it was rude to ask a strange looking person, “Where are you from?”

The reason, so they said, was that that question implies an “us and them” situation. And this makes “them” feel uncomfortable.

Okay, I thought. I can adjust a bit. But, I won’t totally avoid the question and here’s why. If I ask, “Where are you from?” to someone who looks or sounds different than whatever norm I’m used to, I probably am right that they’re from somewhere exotic to our current location. They already know this fact. It is not a surprise to them that they didn’t grow up on Seinfeld and Sunday School.

And language is not math. So some burden of the conversation can be placed on their shoulders too. As in, if they are “Asian”, and yet were born in Houston, they surely could reply, “My parents are a mix of x, y, z but I grew up in Houston. How about you?”

In other words, the strange looking potential-respondent can understand the “you” to mean “whoever made you look strange to me” instead of trying to suggest they’re right as the mail.

It’s called effort. Try it.

Just About Halfway There

To a fearless hero like me, the funny part is that neither of the two patients we flew the other day made me think of my own mortality, despite their obviously traumatic injuries. One ol’ timer had a head wound that contributed more blood to the atmosphere than I can say I thought was possible while still outputting normal numbers on bp, heart rate, sats etc. The other was a person who had made an ill-timed pass and was subsequently thrown from the vehicle. (Who doesn’t wear their seatbelt in 2021? Seriously? Put it on!) A hundred yards away, at the helicopter, I could hear their cries of pain.

But I didn’t think of death.

However, upon returning home last night and laving up yours truly with some Aveeno body wash that my wife picked up for me (it just pours easier, so what?—the Suave charcoal flavored manly stuff takes the strength of Superman to be squeezed out of the bottle and this gets annoying), well upon laving up and in the midst of repositioning myself in the shower, I almost fell, slipping on the self-same lady-parts-soap that has rinsed off and coated the tub floor.

The “almost fell” really means, that while shadow-boxing the water, the next thing I know I feel the wall with my back. I can’t say for sure why I stayed upright, but my right foot dug in and the help from the wall was enough to offset whatever other project the devil had set in motion.

I immediately started laughing. “Only old people fall in the shower! I’m not old,” I chuckled. “And what would I have done if I did fall? I have no rope!” I thought. You know, those ropes on the wall to pull if you need help. “I have no rope!”

It’s true, my 40th birthday is a couple weeks away. What does that have to anything? It just means I’m halfway there. Halfway to 80. Halfway to natural death, unless I get some of them bonus years.

I’m not old. It was the soap.

They Chose To Be Slaves

You haven’t ever and won’t ever read Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan. I just read a portion of it, being guided by the VOL 2 of the Great Ideas Program, my copy being from the Great Books of the Western World set.

Having read some of it, I want to use this post to offer one way in which to respond to BLM and all the other nonsense being spouted by BIPOC disciples. There are many ways to respond, though this may be the strongest.

I want to start with Paul. Concurrent to my reading of Leviathan, I had been reading Ephesians, and was shocked, like jaw-on-the-floor shocked, at what Paul said to the slaves he addressed. If you haven’t read it in a while, here’s the relevant part:

“Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”

By relevant, I mean related to the question that I’ve heard for years now, “Why didn’t Jesus end slavery?”

As I read this part of Ephesians, I thought, “This is horrible. It’s way worse than just not ending slavery, it’s actually, in a weird way, defining slavery and basically validating it.”

At the seminary, professors and their unthinking adherents repeated something like, “We need to look at the biblical trajectory…” when discussing slavery and women preachers etc. That rings clear initially, but upon examination is just meaningless, multi-syllabic euphemism. Jesus didn’t end slavery. Fact. And here, in this passage, Paul addresses slaves directly, gives them a very real instruction, and, oh by the way, defines what a slave is–in case there was any doubt who he had in mind when he used the word.

Working backwards, according to Paul, slavery is forsaking your own will for another’s will. It’s not suicide. It’s living according to the will of another. And in this case, Paul teaches those whose will has been replaced (slaves) by another human’s will (the slave master), to get through their situation/life by treating the situation as if they were simply following the will of god, or the will of Christ. His reasoning? God/Christ is impartial. The slave-master who abuses this teaching will get his in the end. (Hell.)

On the off chance that there is any muddiness to this point, Paul also juxtaposes superficial obedience against true obedience, by the use of the wonderfully concrete language: “eyeservice”. All of us know the difference between looking like we’re working and working. And so did Paul. And, apparently, Paul thought the slaves did too. Why say it if slaves are just stupid, biologically determined humanoids of some kind? No, Paul spoke to the slaves in a dignified manner. No kid gloves here.

Main point for today’s post: Paul defines slavery as having to do with a replacement of will. This is to be regarded as an understanding without value-judgement on the situation. Is slavery wrong? Paul might answer, “It depends. Slavery to Christ is absolutely right. Slavery to some human may be right, but it may not be right.” But that’s just my speculation that helps make my bigger point.

Thomas Hobbes picks up this definition of slavery as he explains the origins of government. To begin, he says that there are two ways men end up being under a government: choice and conquest. One, men can either choose to place themselves under the leadership of one or a few other men. Or two, men can be conquered and be compelled to live under that government. Hobbes says that both ways are based on fear. In the choice way, men would choose government because men are afraid of each other and mutually want the security this outside agent would provide. In the conquest way, men end up under a government because they fear the government that conquered them.

Here’s where Hobbes really says something. Hobbes says that the captives, or conquered people, are captives so long as they are chained and in prison or under guard. And while in the status of “captives” the people are justified in returning violence to their captors, ie killing the guards and running away. But, but! Hobbes continues to describe that once the captives agree to not run away, to not attack the captors, they have now consented to slavery, defined as Paul does. The will of the government that conquered them replaces their will, just like the will of Christ, god, or the master of Paul’s letter might. Hobbes goes further and explicitly states that the conquering government has ultimate power over the slaves property, possessions, and children. Hear me, though. Hobbes says this all happens under the “fear of government” (conquered) reason for being ruled. Hobbes says, if you want to free yourself, you can try, but you’ll probably die. If you want to at least walk around and work etc, then you can live a life that is not your own. But at no point, Hobbes says, does the captive-turned-slave have the option of choice-based government.

I constantly tell one of my good friends, “Man, there is no way you or I would ever have allowed ourselves to become a slave. No way. It just wouldn’t happen. You couldn’t convince me it is even possible. No way. We’d fight. We’d die, rather than be a slave.”

And I mean it. Every time.

But I’m not the only human on the earth. And many other men and women have chosen to be slaves rather than fight and die.

Here’s the crux of the post: There is no systematic racism in America. America wasn’t founded on slavery. Whether within the jungles of Africa, or just on the coast, some people were conquered. Whether they knew they were conquered, whether there was an outright war that was lost, or whether they were just kidnapped, they were conquered. Beginning at that precise moment, the conquered people had a choice: fight/die or live for another’s will. Some chose to fight and die. However, it would seem that most chose to live according to another’s will, or what is the same, become slaves.

Two concluding thoughts then:

Jesus couldn’t have ended “slavery” anymore than he could’ve ended “hunger pangs” or “thirst”. Or “satiation” or “quench”, for that matter.

The African tribes who were conquered were conquered. It’s a tragedy. But afterwards, they chose to be slaves.

And now you know one response to all the race-related nonsense that has been leading headlines for our entire lives.

The African tribes who were conquered were conquered. It’s a tragedy. But afterwards, they chose to be slaves.

****

PS – I can feel my dad asking, “I don’t get how this response works?” Maybe you’re like him. Here goes, get ready to experience the inner-workings of my mind: The “they” are not alive anymore. Boo-ya! BLMers and BIPOC disciples can be mad as hell that “they chose to be slaves”. But they can’t deny the fact that they haven’t chosen to be slaves. What have they chosen then?

“They chose to be slaves.”

What do you choose?

Don’t Label What Happened, Just Read

So we’re moving the aircraft around the taxiway via a tractor/towbar setup on the nosewheel. It’s three of us management-type pilots. To have three of us at a base is abnormal. This is very rare. Having three managers do the work of one man, well, that is not very rare. That’s just comedy. As such, the mood is elevated and jocular, and each of us kind of basque in the radiance of the other two.

The pilot on the tractor is acting like an eighty-year old farmer who has “been there, brother” as he hunched over and keeps the tractor to a crawl.

The other pilot, by virtue of growing up in America, is compelled to say, (join with me), “It’s like he’s ‘Driving Miss Daisy’!”

The pilot on the tractor doesn’t seem to hear the quip over the engine. So the typical conversation ensues.

“DO YOU KNOW THAT MOVIE?”

Farmer man kinda indicated, “Yeah, but it’s too loud to talk.”

Then the funny man turns to me.

I say, “I know OF that movie, but I can’t say I ever saw it.”

Pause.

Here’s the climax: this pilot now says, “I don’t know how that movie ever got made. It’s about a racist woman talking rudely to her driver” etc etc.

Dear Reader: Please don’t disrespect me, steal my humanity, or whatever, by proceeding to tell me that you know the name for what he just did.

Instead, just read and consider.

Even among the brave, the pilots, this particular evil infects. This is very, very wrong.

For my part, I could only say, “I believe in freedom. People can write whatever they want, make whatever movies they want.”

Moment over.

Motivation Clarification

Fellow parents are likely aware of the advice, “Don’t worry about reading your child the perfect books; the fact that you’re reading is enough. The data between children who weren’t read to and the children who were is clear. But beyond that, no sub-category yet exists. Just read to them.”

While dark, my last post was essentially in the same vein. The reason motivational speakers “motivate” is because the person “needing motivation” sought them out. Action began the process, not speech. Motivational speakers don’t work because the cheerleading and encouragement and advice is actually necessary and effective. Again, let’s keep things in order. First, the person decides to act. Then, and only then, the motivational speaker/writer sees an opportunity to monetize or simply seek glory.

You may ask, “If you believe you lost, what, then, is your ‘action’, Pete, if not to ingest motivation to persevere? You’re not saying that it’s hopeless. You’re saying something worse, that the fight is over. What, then, do you do with your time?”

Great question.

I wait.

I’m Tired of Motivational Speaking and Writing

If you’re of a mind to think thoughts in any direction besides Left, you have to admit that the end of all scrolling is motivational circle-jerks. The last two articles I’ve read, one sent by a close friend, were of this sort. The singular theme running through all of them, whether in words like “Remnant” or “Silent Supporter,” is “Keep at it!” and “Persevere!”

I’m tired of them.

Since when did motivational speaking and writing eclipse all other forms?

What exactly caused this shift of the West’s ideal archetype from “mentally strong” to “emotionally inspired”? Wealth? Abundance? Ignorance? Leisure? Nature? Nurture?

No different than how it is a lie that systemic racism exists in America, it is a lie that individual motivation results from exhortation and admonishment.

You are weak and will fail if you need outside sources motivating you in order to act. Individual action is not the result or effect of cheerleading, it is the cause of cheerleading. In life, you, capital Y, have to want it. No one else can tell you to want it. As we’re observing moment to moment, the opposition is counterfeit opposition. We’re placing our hope in confidence men.

Here’s the problem: the Left daily, definitively, boundlessly, and successfully employs the power of shame to achieve its desires. Put another way, the problem is “shamelessness” is more powerful than “truth.”

And no matter how many pep rally’s those outside the Left conjure in response, this problem is simply and unavoidably depressing.

The truth is we just lose. Someone’s got to.