I was born in 1969. The only war I ever knew or thought I’d experience personally (other than “the war on drugs,” “the war on terror” and “the war of the sexes,” which I assumed we won thanks to that Enjoli ad with the sexy lady bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan) was the Cold War.

The Cold War didn’t concern me much. Maybe because it sort of sounded like the U.S. and Russia were a pair of tweens in a silly little tiff, ignoring each other’s texts and inviting their mutual enemies over for sleepovers. Or maybe it was because Russia was exotic and remote and even if the cold war turned to a war-war (which in my mind, unequivocally meant bombs being dropped), it would obviously be US dropping bombs on THEM, which was certainly sad but no cause for personal concern.

(Sorry, I was a narcissistic little eleven-year-old. Also and unrelated, the Cold War Russians in my imagination wore beaver hats and carried pet monkeys. Always, all of them. Anyone else?)

I carried these beliefs into midlife; that war meant bombs, that any war-war the US engaged in would always be on foreign soil, and that I was safe.

I was wrong.

We are at war.

And in case you haven’t figured it out, it’s not the people of the world versus COVID. It’s not the obedient civil class versus the rebellious freedom fighters (we really don’t give a shit about eating in restaurants or flying or giving up our careers if we have to). This is a war between a ruling class hell bent on totalitarian control and the minions (that would be us) they are attempting to force into submission.

If the war was against COVID, we’d fight it the way we’ve fought every other “disease” we’ve ever encountered: we’d treat it early and protect the vulnerable. We’d openly explore every viable treatment option, we’d allow medical professionals to discuss and determine the best approach for their patients, and we would celebrate natural immunity. We would acknowledge and admit that the vaccines we have might offer some benefit for some individuals, and also that they come with serious and sometimes deadly consequences for others. WE WOULD LET PEOPLE DO THEIR OWN RISK/REWARD ANALYSES, just as we do with alcohol and fast food and exercise and every other medication on the planet. If your vaccine protected me and mine protected you and they had proven to be safe for the masses, of course we’d encourage one another to consider taking one for the team… but when we realized they unequivocally don’t, we’d leave the taking-or-leaving up to the individual. (Can you imagine if you were forced to take a shot so your neighbor could get drunk?) Most importantly, WE WOULDN’T DREAM OF EXPERIMENTING ON OUR PRECIOUS, INNOCENT CHILDREN, because they’re not at risk of COVID and it’s not their job to protect us or anyone else (which their vaccine cannot do anyway, but for some reason people still love to fall back on that noble but patently false “argument”).

To be honest, I don’t know if this is a war we can win. It’s certainly not a war with any end in sight. The vaccine mandates are just the beginning. Digital currencies and social credit scores are right around the corner, and if you don’t believe that, please tell me how to get to the La-La Land you live in, because I’m definitely open to relocating.

The only hope we have, I believe, is to refuse to submit; to be not disorderly and mutinous but solidly, respectfully, unwaveringly intractable; the adult version of “you’re not the boss of me.” Because guess what? Our government is NOT the boss of us. They work FOR us. They’re bound to a code of honor and duty that they are defying on a daily basis. They’ve let our friends and family die, they’ve decimated businesses and livelihoods, and they’ve made it clear that they will stop at nothing in their quest for power and dominance. And if we let them, they’ll continue forever.

Them: You’ll do everything we say or lose every last liberty.
Me: Hold my beer.

This is my hill, and I will do everything I can to preserve it for my children and their children.

I will not comply.