The Futile Effort to Go Home
As I started writing this piece, I should've been taxing to the gate at Sydney Airport. Nevertheless, I'm still a second class citizen in Australia, despite the data not supporting the stance and policies that Australian authorities continue to enforce. But then again, what COVID policies anywhere, especially in Australia, have ever made sense?
If you didn't know, I'm fairly religious, my religion? Aussie Rules and the Melbourne Football Club. Similar to how Churches and Places of Worship were restricted under idiotic policies, why should this be any different? My beloved Dees broke a 57-year drought last year and won the Holy Grail.
Like many of my fellow supporters with who I've had the privilege to travel all over Australia, for over a decade to every single game, even during the poorer years, during this moment we were all locked up in Melbourne. We couldn't be there for that epic and historical moment in the history of our club, let alone be together. We had to watch it locked in our homes because of curfew and couldn't even get together and celebrate that moment for weeks. However, that didn't stop media outlets, the day after, covering Melbourne fans. They congregated in groups the Sunday after and the media talked up how wonderful it was. When the exact same journalist only a week (and months before) would shame anyone who "flouted" COVID rules. Yet here they were "glorifying" a gathering of people. Double standard much? (Click here for an example)
Many of my fellow fans did the right thing, we were patient and waited for that moment we could celebrate together. In the lockdown state of Victoria that was in late November and early December. I sat back and watched as my family and friends take their selfies holding the Premiership Cup, going to the celebrations at the MCG watching the players receive their medals again and rewatching the game at the MCG with their fellow fans. A week or so later I saw them go to the Melbourne Best and Fairest count and celebrate the greatest year for the Club in decades. All of this I watched with tears, buried myself in my work and kept reminding myself of the old adage "patience is a virtue".
Perhaps "patience is futile" is more accurate.
Six months ago, in September itself, a day after the grand final I firmly believed that Melbourne would unveil the Premiership Flag in either Round 1 or 2. Therefore I requested leave to ensure I would be able to be back in Australia for both of these Rounds. This would be my celebratory moment with my friends and family when it came to the game. Surely Australia in six months' time would be resembling a sense of normality and I'd have freedom of movement to come and go as I wished. How wrong I was.
But Australia is reopened!
When I requested this leave I figured that either Australia would be fully reopened by March with no mandates, based on their vaccination rate or the US would finally approve NovaVax. Well, neither happened. More importantly, over Christmas, I got and recovered from COVID. This changed everything and left me in the "hold the line" camp. The first obviously been that I recovered from COVID and have the antibodies in my system. I actually get blood tests each month and am still showing high levels of them. Antibodies that a vaccine won't get you. I get that Natural Immunity isn't approved, but why? Needless to say, I'm even more vaccine-hesitant to get a shot for something I have the antibodies for anyway. If the bloodwork says otherwise someday, then ok. But one thing that disturbs me greatly is the division that vaccination status has caused. One of them is how quickly it has caused people to turn on one another.
As an Aussie who was locked out of their country for two years, now yes I was very fortunate to get back twice in 2021, but many didn't have that opportunity. To fly back to Australia was a very expensive venture and no one in Australia cared about the suffering that hundreds and thousands of Aussies overseas suffered through. The response was "you should have come home when we told you to" which is a totally ignorant view on the commitments that people have when they go overseas.
We were known as the 'Stranded Aussies'.
Now that Vaccine status allows you back to Australia freely, that once tight-knit group has been divided greatly. If you're one of those that haven't taken the vaccine and have the gall to point out you're still locked out, well you get attacked with that exact viciousness that Stranded Aussies faced for two years and from those that were locked out themselves. It ignores the issue no one should ever be discriminated against or segregated.
As Dr Peter McCollugh stated on the Joe Rogan podcast, vaccination status has quickly become a situation towards one another that "if I took the risk then so should you". That has occurred within the Stranded Aussies group. It completely disregards and even forgives the Government and Bureaucrats who have done these atrocities of mandates and lockdowns on their populations for two years now. It creates a lesser population. A completely dangerous slope.
But it's not just in the Stranded Aussies community that this has happened. It has happened in Australia itself with the populous. Many have been forced into vaccination under mandates that are massive breaches of human rights. As opposed to admitting what happened was wrong and taking it out on the government agencies that enforced this on you, it's taken out on those who keep holding the line.
Taking the vaccination and disregarding those that haven't as lesser and enabling the policies that leave these people behind as second class is wrong. Especially when common sense tells you that the vaccination isn't even a vaccination, it's just a shot that provides protection for yourself, not others. If you took the jab and then start using that status to enjoy your "freedoms" again then you are really doing nothing more than enabling these exact rules and as I say, allowing forgiveness to the atrocities for the last two years. However, I see why you might be in that mindset. Because it's just "easier" but this isn't the right view to have either.
I really don't think people will truly realise how much I have been trying to figure out how to get to Australia for tonight to be at the 'G. It even came down to the last week when I thought I had found a way, I mean I always knew that under ATAGI's own guidelines I am able to seek a vaccine exemption as I have recovered from COVID within the last six months. Or so I thought. My Australian GP refused to give me the exemption. It was clear that the bureaucratic nightmare is what concerned him most, not my proof of recovery. As Australian Doctors have been getting struck off for providing exemptions. But in my case, it's written in black and white on the Immunisation Register's own guidelines and I couldn't get one? Seriously . . .
But assuming I did, the problem was getting back to the US. As a non-citizen or US permanent resident I am required to be vaccinated to enter the US, despite the fact that when I operate as Aircrew I was going back and forth between Mexico and the US, unvaccinated on a weekly bases for two months straight because . . .
However, as I'm on a medical study in regards to Natural Immunity there was an avenue to seek an exemption to the US rules and I could've just used that, along with a "fit to fly" document to return to the US. But also the Presidential Proclamation stated that crossing the land borders or by water into the US was exempt to Vaccination status. So if I could get the Aussie Exemption, that would allow me to fly quarantine free to Australia, attend the game and live those "freedoms" of the vaccinated with relative ease. Then I could fly back to the US by going to London for a few days, as they allow unvaccinated people in their country if they get a test after arrival. See some friends I haven't seen for nearly five years, then fly to Mexico and go up to Laredo and walk across the border. Sadly though late last week, I did find the document that I thought existed which stated that the Land Border now required proof of vaccination, but what was the point anyway when my own country wouldn't give me an exemption based on their own guidelines.
So there's your problem Ash, just shut up and get the jab!
Believe me, it was considered. You have no idea how close I came to surrendering the line last week. Before pursuing the UK/Mexico avenue home I even had an appointment for a J&J shot, but I didn't show for it because you really only need to do a simple checklist:
Get Vaccinated - ✓
Get a vaccine - ✓
Can go to Australia and Travel Again - ✓
Does it mean I don't have to wear a mask for the 14hr+ flight - ☒
Travel Freely without a heap of paperwork - ☒ (seriously the Australian Digital Passenger Declaration is a joke for anyone)
End of Internal Border Requirements? - ☒ (many states require a registration/pass if overseas within the last 14 days)
Can go to the game with an International Vaccine Pass - ☒
Alright go to a bar and watch it with an International Vaccine Pass - ☒
Go anywhere without having to show your vaccine pass? - ☒ (basically, I would have to get my GP to register my vaccine into the myGov system and then it would be accessible to State Check-In apps)
So if you have to jump through all those hoops, just to fly home and live your life "freely" are you really back to normal? Does a vaccine status really return your life to normal?
It's a new normal that people have accepted too easily.
The fact that your medical status will vindicate what you can and can't do is just completely wrong. Australia is definitely a prime example of this, if you're fully vaccinated then you're free to come and go as you wish. But then once you arrive it's dependent on what state you're going to as to whether you'll have freedoms or not because you were overseas recently.
Tonight as the game is played and I have a cry to myself at missing out on this event and being there with my friends and family, it will also stand as a reminder that these people are there because they complied. Even if I was there, it would've meant that I too had complied with those rules and would've meant selling out my morales and fellow humans who have stronger moral courage. Rules and regulations that many countries are beginning to end, yet Australia seems to be doubling down and people keep complying.
That for me is my biggest fear. Because the longer Australia continues this, then those bastards are eventually going to win against me. We are in an abusive relationship with our governments and when you're in an abusive relationship, you will do what you have to in order to survive and with that, you will lose part of yourself. You will become a shadow of your former self and your identity slowly fades. This is no more evident than with the behaviours seen in society now. I only hope that I can keep up the strength to "hold the line" as they say, but it gets more and more difficult each day and as I say, I think those bastards will eventually get me to fall into line.