In what is likely to become a trend, Gov. Gavin Newsom made California the first state to announce that vaccines will be mandatory for children to attend public or private school in person. The term is dependent on FDA approval for each respective age group – which has yet to be granted – and will be required the following semester. Which will likely mean we’ll see enforcement in the fall of next year for students in Grades 7 to 12, and even later than for kids in elementary school. In what is also a trend, country bro artists are speaking out against the mandate, most notably Jason Aldean.
Aldean is a star of country music, a genre known for its conservative values and its fans, and he posted on his Instagram to claim that Newsom’s tenure took away his decision as a “Free American” to vaccinate or not. their children. It should be noted that Aldean lives in a mansion in Tennessee – a State which will be one of the last to issue this mandate, if applicable, given the rest of its voting trends on topics related to the pandemic. His comment followed the typical frame of mind of conservative backlash messages, in which a politician is held accountable for a decision that many pundits and politicians have likely weighed in, as if a pandemic mandate for a state governor was tyrannical. He then goes on to the now sadly normalized rhetoric urging others to be “outraged” and “start standing up and speaking NOW”. It may be fall, but let’s not forget that the year started with a fucking insurgency, largely fueled by that same kind of drivel. And of course, that’s usually nothing new at this point in our Covid timeline, but it shouldn’t go unnoticed. These continuous, red-faced swaggering of influential far-right figures continue to fuel this pandemic.
Aldean ended his rant with “This is not how America and freedom work!” But in fact, it is largely is how America works and be free. The vaccines gave us freedom of so many diseases and viruses. They eradicated diseases that plagued society like polio, measles and mumps. Adding the Covid vaccine, once approved by the FDA, to the California mandate would make it one of ten other required vaccines, with the latter group being required for decades. There will also be parameters enshrined in the mandate that allow religious or personal exemptions, which await public comment before being officially added – a leniency that appears far from infringing on freedom of choice.
The problem isn’t that demanding the Covid vaccine infringes on freedom, it’s that the Covid vaccine itself has been politicized. To these kind of thinkers (Jason Aldean and his wife recently put their young children in “Hidin ‘from Biden” t-shirts on his Instagram), the vaccine is a symbol of their protest against changing political currents, not ending a fight for bodily autonomy. What if that is what bothers these country music brothers so much, so maybe they should be so loud about Texas’ abortion ban – legislation that makes it Is infringe bodily autonomy and liberty, and do not allow religious or personal exemptions. If your kids shouldn’t have government warrants over their bodies, neither should women. So, by his own logic, should we call Jason Aldean pro-choice?
Ironically, it seems that at home, Aldean is pro vaccine and pro mask. As Aldean’s comments on Newsome circulated, a certain press release announced an Aldean performance at his own venue today – a performance that required not only full proof of vaccination, but also masks.
It should be noted that Jason Aldean’s bar and venue, which bears his name, is part of an influx of bars popping up, operated by and named after country radio stars on the Lower Broadway Band in Nashville. . It’s an infamous part of town that was once known and loved as the epicenter of the rowdy, neon-lit honkytonks sung in old country songs. Today, however, the region has become a battleground for the soul of Nashville. As the city has been drastically transformed by the developers, the band that locals frequented to listen to authentic country music has turned into an overwhelming tourist theme park where “transport” vehicles bump into loud and drunken people all day and night, and big problematic hen parties lurk the streets like cowardly hyenas. Jason Aldean’s tiered carnival is a favorite with these new types of customers – people he says would apparently need to be vaccinated to enter his own establishment. It would appear that he would like to choose the talking points of the brother-country philosophy in which he is anchored, but he certainly doesn’t mind leaving his mark on the political discourse around vaccines, contributing to the chaos of the party scene. of Nashville. , or by insisting on hypocritical demands for its own performances within it.