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This is a re-post of award-winning author Na0mi Wolfe’s essay from March 2, 2022. I liked it so much that I read it aloud. I lightly edited and condensed it to facilitate the audio recording. Any mistakes due to my abridgment are my responsibility alone. Read the original, subscribe to her substack.com blog, and buy a paid membership if you like her. Her email is naomiwolf@substack.com and her address is naomiwolf.substack.com.

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Dr. Naomi Wolf

Mar 2

On courage. And on the DMs that I am sent that seek to justify cowardice, at a time when some bravery is needed from us all. 

I need to talk about some people — mainly privileged people, people who could make a difference in areas where most can’t — who are trying to justify their monumental, world-changing cowardice, at a time when we all need to be at least somewhat brave. 

I am done with tolerating this quietly.

For a year and a half now, after it became clear that this crisis was never about “the virus” but rather about a global bid to kill off our free world and suppress all of our freedoms — since I and many others have been publicly vocal about this danger and doing all we can to alert our community — that is to say, humanity — I’ve been getting direct messages (“DMs”).

People whom I know socially or professionally — people from journalism, from politics, from medicine, from science (most of them upper-middle-class ‘men in suits’) — say something like: “Naomi, I really respect your actions right now. I totally agree with what you are saying. But I can’t say anything publicly because [fill in the nonsensical, craven reason].” 

What follows is typically something along the lines of, “My boss will get mad at me” or “My professional peers will have a problem with my speaking up.” It’s never even, “I have bills to pay.” 

Do you understand what is at stake? If you continue to comply and collude with what has become a tyrannical oligopoly, your kids will live as slaves and as serfs forever. 

The DMs insist that I am “brave.” But I am not “brave”; you’re just a p—-y. In such a moment of historic-level cowardice among privileged and influential people, no other epithet will do. 

I was initially baffled by these messages. Why would I be getting these? What do these people want? Why do they think I need their excuses? So I asked other, braver people WTF it was. 

They laughed and said, “They want you to tell them that it is ok.”

So I am saying publicly: this is not ok. 

It casts the people who do take risks for the wellbeing of others, as being somehow naturally better-fitted for this difficult job than is the speaker. It’s a form of offloading one’s own responsibility guiltlessly onto a subgroup that is assigned the status of somehow liking the battle, or somehow fitted better for combat, by nature, than is the speaker himself. 

I don’t know anyone truly heroic who likes this battle. But most could not live with themselves if they walked away from doing what they know they can do to help. The obvious right and wrong have not been clearer since 1941. 

Dr. Patrick Phillips — a Canadian ER doctor who spoke out early against the harms of “lockdowns,” when many fellow doctors were silent — said something like, “I realized that many of my peers were silent because they were worried about their careers. But I also realized that if I didn‘t speak out, soon I would have no career worth saving.” And Dr. Jay Bhattacharya said, last night on Fox, something like: “If I did not speak out, what was the point of my career in public health?” As one of the Great Barrington signatories, he has been vilified, smeared, attacked, and hounded professionally for 18 months — for having been right about the harms of “lockdowns.”

Dr. Peter McCullough, in the middle of fighting for everyone, took time to text me a way to help my loved ones who had COVID. He wrote, “They can arrest me for saying this. Just don’t give these MRNA vaccines to your child.” He also commented that those opposed to his message were trying to erase the professional credentials after his name, one by one. But none of this stopped him. 

Last night I interviewed Edward Dowd, an investor, and a former portfolio manager at BlackRock. He is warning the world about Pfizer fraud and cautioning his peers in the investment community that betting on the Pfizers of the world is a bet against freedom. I asked him from where he got his personal courage. He said something like, “I will keep going until we either win our freedoms back, or I am in a Gulag.” 

History is hammering out heroes on the forge of crisis. But it is a time of unprecedented cowardice as well. Those who choose collusion but know better are allowing their souls to shrivel in that same heat. 

There is no room left to equivocate, and there is no room left to moon about in the middle because now there is no middle. 

Our bravest are being forced into battle. Some are women, and they are tough. I watched NCRA’s Jenin Younes realize that she had to speak up against unlawful “lockdowns” despite professional opposition. Leslie Manookian of HFDF sued coercive governors and governments, and she won. Tiffany Justice of Moms4Liberty accompanied her maskless child into a school-bullying and mask-coercion situation. She was shadowed and faced down by a security guard, but the intimidation did not stop her. It made her more determined to protect kids, all of our kids. Lori Roman, of the ACRU, answers every single email I forward from parents desperately trying to protect their children from forced MRNA vaccinations. Their kids are soldiers, students, young adults, and sometimes pregnant government employees.

Stephanie Locricchio and Aimee Villella of Children’s Health Defense are warrior queens. They rally thousands of moms and dads to confront their abusive governors and the cruel, forced-masking, forced-vaccinating schools. These parents put their bodies between middle schoolers and the injection vans parked in the schoolyards. These are an attempt to inject minors against their parents’ wishes with an experimental product that was manufactured fraudulently through concealment of grave harms. 

The real question is not, “What drives such parents to put their bodies between the van and the kids?” but rather, “Where the h*** are all the other parents?”

Dr. Paul Alexander raced into the thick of the Canadian trucker protest. It was violently targeted by Canadian authorities, yet he sent back defiant but peaceful dispatches from the front. He spoke on stage and in press conferences in support of the truckers’ lawful rights to freedom of speech. The brutal regime in Canada floated frightening rumors of an arrest warrant being issued for him in an attempt to intimidate him. He did not stop. Now he is with the American truckers. 

I watched Dr. Martin Kulldorff, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Jeffrey Tucker, and Dr. Bhattacharya, tell the truth about “lockdowns.” Their reporting was early and consistent in the fact of brutal institutional and media pushback. These heroes did not take action because it was fun, easy, lucrative, or because they were already warriors.

Most of them, and other less-known people speaking out, would rather be home, at their jobs, in their labs, or enjoying their families. They would rather be free of the need to face down bullies and stand up to security guards. But they understand that they have been called to rise to this moment. We are all are called now, just as they are. 

This is why you hear heroes say “I had no choice” or “I was just doing my job.” They are right–they are just doing their jobs as human beings with responsibilities toward others

The affluent, cowardly people—mainly men–who DM me make the lives of all heroes harder. This time, mass resistance matters–it might make the difference between freedom and indefinite servitude.

History is clear. Tyrannies only fall when there is mass resistance. When only a few stand up, they are smeared, silenced, marginalized, or when things go far enough, arrested.

Watching brave people made me braver. Two days ago I was in NYC. I could no longer bear the fact that my hotel, the Walker Hotel Tribeca, had a cafe and a restaurant in the lobby with signs stating that these facilities were for “vaccinated only.”

On Day 3 of my stay, I politely informed the staff at the Blue Bottle Cafe that I was unvaccinated, and that I would now take my small coffee and my overnight oats to the forbidden lunch counter, and I would sit there peacefully, but that I would not comply with the NYC discrimination. 

The staff informed me haughtily that my doing so was against the “mandate.” I said that I understood, but that I would not comply. They warned me that they would call the manager.

I then sat down at the illegal lunch counter, texted my lawyer to be on standby, posted publicly to Gov Hochul and to Mayor Adams that I was currently intentionally violating the discriminatory NYC mandate that prevented unvaccinated people from being seated in cafes and restaurants, and that I was at the Walker Hotel Tribeca cafe lunch counter if they decided to arrest me. I waited for an hour, heart pounding, to be arrested. 

But nothing happened.

Later that day I was at Grand Central Station. Almost all of the lower-level food court was roped off for the vaccinated. There was nowhere for an unvaccinated New Yorker to sit down, let alone to eat lunch. In a roped-off seating area, a heavyset bouncer in a mask was demanding people’s digital vaccinated cards along with–unprecedented in my experience—their IDs.

I explained that I wished to enter, that I was unvaccinated, and had no “Key to NYC” pass. 

Two cops appeared. Look at the other seating area (over there, far away) saved for the unvaccinated, they said nicely. I explained that the strength of New York City, and of America for that matter, was its equal treatment of all and that if people had refused to comply with other forms of discrimination and forced separate accommodations, discriminatory rules would have ended sooner. I stated for the second time that day I intended not to comply. 

A third police officer, their senior, appeared. He explained that I would be given a summons for trespassing. 

The cop with the notebook containing the summons papers took as long as he possibly could to write it out. No one wanted to arrest me or to give me a summons. 

The three cops finally surrounded me and firmly escorted me to the upper level. I was scared but I did not give in. 

On the upper level, I braced for handcuffs. Once again, my heart was racing. I have been arrested before in NYC, and it is frightening and uncomfortable. 

But when I asked if I could now walk away and take my train, no one stopped me. 

The takeaway? When I refused to comply with these unlawful “mandates” that have burnt the soul out of a once-great city, nothing happened.

Gov Hochul and Mayor Adams, the bullies who put these scary-sounding, Dear Leader-esque, edicts in place, were all bluster. They are like the Great and Mighty Oz. When they are called out, there is nothing behind them. I later learned that police are instructed not to press these rules on those who resist, because if challenged in court, the policies are illegal and unenforceable. 

I needed my own minutes of terror to prove to myself that their rules were meaningless. Courage builds possibilities in the world. 

####

The Democrats in power recently received a political consultant’s memo that told them that a majority of voters now is sick of “restrictions,” and that the opposition’s message of restoring freedom is a winning message. This memo caused the nauseating, immediate about-face on “restrictions” — attributed of course to “the data” and not to the obvious politics — that we are seeing now.

Well, it took the voices of dozens and hundreds of brave folks, speaking contrary to the mass of propaganda, and facing deplatforming, professional cancellation, and worse, to change that. 

#####

Who is standing up, speaking out, and taking risks against tyranny now? It is not the “Zoom class,” but the working people, the moms, the truckers, the firefighters, and the cops. 

When I spoke at a rally against forcing injections on first responders in NYC, the audience was mostly working people. The people who march for every other cause in NYC—my affluent, liberal “tribe”–sat that one out. 

The first responders put their bodies in harm’s way for the safety of others, but the “Zoom class” does not reciprocate to protect the bodies of first responders from coercion and from harm.

We are not all being equally brave right now.

An old friend – an affluent, educated man – who works at the Pasteur Institute, has been trolling me relentlessly on social media for the duration of the pandemic, to assail me for my warnings about harms from MRNA vaccines. 

Since the news has emerged of fraud in Pfizer’s internal trials, and the suppression of news of more deaths in the vaccinated group than the control, his trolling has abruptly ceased. 

Recently, on Facebook, he sent me news of his admittedly very pretty golden retriever.

In the runup to the First World War, women handed out, to healthy young men who had not enlisted in the war effort, white feathers. 

There is a metaphorical white feather to be given these days, to those who try to change the subject from the damage done by their “side” to the bodies of children — to evidence of the charm of their golden retrievers. 

####

To end on a less furious note, I hope and trust that all people will rethink our remaining silences — we all have them — and look at ourselves, at this moment, before it is too late for all of us.

One of my favorite quotations is this, from the late poet Audre Lorde: 

“My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.”

It is more true now than ever.

This is a dangerous moment indeed.

But it could also become a moment of profound blessing.

Danger, if we meet it, also gives each of us a God-given opportunity to serve our kind. In the process, we become immeasurably more than we had been before. 

Maybe in the course of forcing ourselves to act bravely, we actually do become brave. 

####

Someday all of our kids and grandkids will ask each of us directly: why did you stand by? Why did you not help me?

I could not breathe. Or, God forbid: Now I have these health problems. 

Or else they will say: Thank you so much for speaking for me when I was too little to speak. 

Dad, Mom – Grandma, Grandpa — they will ask: What did you do in the war?

Well, let me leave you with this question:

What did you do?

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