By Marilyn M. Singleton, MD, JD
In the 1960s anti-war activists adopted songs like the Eve of Destruction and For What It’s Worth as their anthems. Disenchanted youth feared that the world was on the verge of collapse; we were nearing the end of days. Concurrently, the civil rights activists were singing the hopeful “We Shall Overcome” (Black folks singing an upbeat and emboldening song written by a white guy would be frowned upon today). Both groups were buoyed by the blessing of free speech. Their voices were heard. Attempts at silencing them only made their voices louder and more widespread. Even people on the sidelines began to pay attention.
The war ended, civil rights moved forward, and life went on. People wanted not to sing the same note, but harmony. Even Rodney King, whose 1991 beating was a lightning rod for riots against police brutality pleaded, “can we all get along?” Yes, we can. People have no appetite for or energy to waste on hating for sport. We have the freedom and sensibility to disagree and work toward peaceful coexistence—when we are free from government propaganda and media manipulation.
However, the political class thrives on discord. Since circa 360 B.C., the “divide and rule” concept was on the books. Philip II of Macedon, Alexander the Great’s father knew that with division comes weakness. The Greek rulers were able to keep the various cultural and ethnic groups in check by keeping them in a constant state of conflict. The factions are so busy bickering and jockeying for favored status that they fail to see their government’s main objective is to stay in power, not to empower the populace.
Enter pandemic, stage left. Politicians have used COVID not as an enemy, but an ally. After driving us to be preoccupied with our fear of COVID, the government is working its magic. Mask up and lock down! Why? Where’s the data? Don’t ask. Just comply. Now instead of the ancient emperors installing local overlords, the powerful have frightened people into spying on neighbors to root out maskless faces and those who dare cultivate their friendships.
Mixed messages keep us off guard. Amidst calls for national unity, a Public Broadcasting (paid with our tax dollars) Service attorney suggests locking up Trump voters and putting their children in re-education camps. And America’s sweetheart and former national news anchor, Katie Couric, recommended deprogramming Trump supporters.
Teachers’ unions keep their members out of classrooms while children are not getting sick from COVID, but are becoming emotionally unglued. According to the CDC, beginning in April 2020, children’s mental health visits to the emergency room increased by 24 percent in ages 5 to 11 and 31 percent in ages 12 to 17.
The same people calling for removing Washington and Lincoln’s names from schools because they were not “woke” enough are witnesses to the black and brown students falling behind their white counterparts due to long-distance learning.
The triple-masked Dr. Anthony “there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” Fauci continues to recommend that we do nothing for early symptoms of COVID-19, even though by now we understand the process of how COVID-19 makes people sick. For months, physicians have been speaking out about their success with early treatment of COVID with inexpensive, readily accessible existing medications based on science. Their recommendations have been largely ignored in favor of big pharma’s expensive drugs and vaccines. Waiting months for completion of mass vaccination does not help those who are currently ill. Worse yet, some have accused these doctors of experimenting on patients. However, our Hippocratic Oath compels us to treat patients with available, safe medicines rather than sit idly by and watch them die. (I would argue it is safer to repurpose drugs that have been around for 50 years than use a vaccine that has only been tested for several months.)
Vigorous open debate—not re-education camps—is the answer to dealing with difficult issues. A difference of opinion does not merit name-calling or having scientific senate testimony removed from public view by YouTube as “misinformation.”
Fomenting societal conflict as a means of control used to be done in secret. With complicit media, in plain sight the power brokers have used COVID their advantage. Physicians are added to the list of divided tribes: Fauci’s good soldiers versus the medical-political exiles (AKA resourceful thinkers without conflicts of interest or financial ties to big pharma).
Like the 60s song says, “It starts when you’re always afraid. Step out of line, the man come and take you away.”
Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is the immediate past President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School. Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at UCSF, then her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and administrative law. She interned at the National Health Law Project and practiced insurance and health law. She teaches classes in the recognition of elder abuse and constitutional law for non-lawyers. She lives in Oakland, Ca.