David Marcus: The Emmys prove it's time to destroy the COVID caste system

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The most basic principle of the United States of America has nothing to do with capitalism, or democracy, or even freedom. The essential concept upon which the nation was founded, and upon which we still stand is the dignity of every person. 

“All men are created equal,” Jefferson wrote. No prince of high blood or master of riches has more innate value than any other Americans. But as we watch celebrities, at the Met Gala, at the Emmys, frankly wherever they gather, galavanting maskless while the help hide their faces we cannot feel fidelity to this timeless ideal.

No. Clearly these celebrities, many of whom take every opportunity to harangue us about trusting science and following the rules, are as George Orwell put it, “more equal.” This is something that no American should stand for. 

Mary Elizabeth Winstead arrives at the 73rd Emmy Awards at the JW Marriott on Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021 at L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles. (Photo by Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)
(Danny Moloshok/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images)

It is a betrayal of everything we should be and everything we should stand for. COVID has become an excuse for the special flowers of our society to create a caste system, in which their faces smile under their pancake powder and make up while the little people labor under masks.


Of late some on the left have insisted that those who resist the COVID restrictions and protocols should be shamed and shunned. 

LOS ANGELES – SEPTEMBER 19: Cedric The Entertainer, Rita Wilson, and LL Cool J appear at the 73RD EMMY AWARDS, broadcast Sunday, Sept. 19Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images (8:00-11:00 PM, live ET/5:00-8:00 PM, live PT) on the CBS Television Network and available to stream live and on demand on Paramount+. (Photo by )
(Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Images)

Well, let’s talk about shame for a minute. What else should a person feel when they insist that those who serve them live under a different set of demanding and demeaning rules? What should a person feel when they sip champagne all night in packed maskless crowds while children as young as two have to wear a face covering all day? Shame seems to be the right term.

Americans are not by nature a jealous people. We do not begrudge the rich their luxuries. After all, those of more modest means have our own pleasures. Whether in the society pages of the 20th century or the TMZ of the 21st we watch bemused as the right sort stumble through their rehabs and divorces and petty scandals. But what we cannot abide is a legal or social system that gives the elites a different set of rights, a different set of freedoms.

Take New York City’s mandate that all patrons of an entertainment venue must show a vaccine card. It comes with a curious exemption, as all of these capricious rules seem to. The celebrity entertainers and their entourages need not show proof of the jab. Rather the rest of us, those of us who don’t really matter, must produce our vaccine cards to ensure the health and welfare of our betters.

Either wearing a mask matters or it doesn’t. Presumably COVID doesn’t care who does or doesn’t have an Emmy. 

Furthermore, we have been told again and again that masking is less about protecting oneself and more about protecting others around us. Given that these vaccinated celebrities are perfectly capable of spreading the virus, just like any other vaccinated person, on what possible basis should they be exempt from masking rules?

There is only one answer to that question. It is a new COVID caste system. And it is something Americans should not and increasingly will not put up with. 

This has nothing to do with politics. It is about fairness and human dignity. 

Those of us who do not have wealth and fame must not hide our faces so that those who do can live their best lives. It is immoral, it is ugly, and it is deeply un-American. 

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