We learned recently that, once again, Novak Djokovic, the world’s greatest tennis player, will be barred from competing in America because he isn’t vaccinated against COVID-19. The U.S. continues its requirement that foreign visitors flying into the country have proof of the vaccine.
This denial of Djokovic’s waiver request prolongs a vendetta the COVID fascists have pursued against one of the most infamous vaccine skeptics in the international sports community. It also, sadly, means that the Biden administration is doubling down on the persecution of unvaccinated foreigners, even as Americans’ rights to determine whether or not to receive COVID vaccines are increasingly and widely upheld. Since, as President Biden has said himself, the COVID pandemic is essentially “over,” we can only assume that the different treatment of unvaccinated foreigners reflects not a concern for public health, but a raw exercise of political and administrative power on the part of COVID extremists.
In case anyone has missed it, vaccine mandates, which for a while threatened to ruin the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans, have been withdrawn or suspended by court order in almost all contexts. The Supreme Court nixed the Biden administration’s attempt to impose a vaccination requirement on almost all large employers, for instance, while a budgetary provision passed by Congress in December eliminated a similar requirement for U.S. military personnel. Coincidentally, masking requirements, issued by federal, state and local governments, as well as many businesses and organizations, have been terminated. The reasons are complicated, including a rising tide of judicial skepticism about the need for mandates as well as their constitutionality, higher levels of public push back and a massive decline in the number of Americans dying of (or “with”) COVID.
Despite all this progress, our federal government continues to insist that most non-citizen visitors to this country offer proof of vaccination. Why? Is there any reason to suppose that foreigners are any more likely to have COVID, or that the strains of COVID to which they are subjected are any more severe? If these were the justifications for the vaccination requirement, then why was it issued by the Biden administration with so many exceptions, including people who arrive on foot, by car and by boat; persons under 18; permanent residents; and people from a long list of countries where vaccines are held to be in short supply? Is COVID harmless when it travels slower than 600 miles per hour, or afflicts a minor or an asylum seeker, or emerges from Burkina Faso rather than Belgium? Of course not! Keep in mind, in addition, that any unvaccinated traveler whom our progressive overlords like can receive an exemption from the vaccination requirement on “humanitarian” grounds, or because their presence here is deemed to be “in the U.S. national interest.” Surely, a vaccination requirement with so many holes in it serves no constructive purpose in terms of advancing “public health.” Why, then, does the requirement still exist?
First, there is the fact that foreigners can be and often are treated as second-class citizens, or, indeed, as the non-citizens that they are, meaning that their “rights” are few and ill-defined. In other words, the politicians and bureaucrats who might like to impose mandates and diktats aplenty on all of us are often constrained by public opinion and by the law. Overseas visitors, however, enjoy few such protections, and they are thus gloriously vulnerable, from the perspective of COVID fanatics in positions of authority. Thus, they can be, and are, subjected to the most ridiculous and insulting restrictions and requirements.
More important though, in this case, is the fact that Djokovic’s presence in the U.S. would be a very public affront to all the COVID extremists whose authoritarianism Djokovic has so persuasively criticized, and whose arrogated authority he has refused to bow down before. Having turned Djokovic away before, our COVID enforcers cannot now permit him entry without losing face – and that, more than anything else, is what our outdated and capricious vaccine requirement for international air travelers is designed to avoid.
Besides the rank injustice of this decision, the real tragedy here is that the results of any and all tennis tournaments that exclude Djokovic will be permanently marred by his absence. Last year, that meant that Djokovic could not compete in the U.S. Open, arguably the most prestigious tennis tournament of all. The winner of that tournament, Carlos Alcaraz, will always have to ask himself: “Could I have won in a field that included a player of Novak Djokovic’s stature?” He will never know, and neither will we.
They call it the U.S. Open for a reason, of course. It is supposed to be open to professional and non-professional tennis players from every nation, and of every ideological stripe. It is not supposed to be held captive to the petty whims and grudges of our ruling class. Maybe, under the circumstances, they should change the name to the U.S. Semi-Open, or the U.S. Tennis Championship for Progressive Virtue-Signallers and Vaccine Enthusiasts. It would be closer to the truth.
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