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LIGHTNING EDITORIAL: Anti-vaxxers deliver another load of baloney

Speakers who appear before the Henderson County Board of Commissioners have been spinning fantastic tales of conspiracies, criminal behavior and bad motives for going on two years as they express their views on the coronavirus and the government’s handling of it.

These voracious consumers of internet mythology famously got a Board of Commissioners meeting deleted from YouTube last June for violating the platform’s prohibition on medical misinformation. The commissioners retaliated by switching to a platform with a more relaxed policy on vax voodoo, which is helpful when a Lightning reporter is forced to spend hours transcribing the public comments so subscribers can read exactly what commissioners are hearing in the three-minute helpings of baloney.
The anti-vax crusaders mounted their most asinine attack yet last week. They urged commissioners to defund the Flat Rock Playhouse because the theater is supposedly requiring patrons a vaccination “passport.” You can read elsewhere our exhaustive account of the public commenters’ condemnation of the Playhouse’s public health policies — along with their threat to “indict” national public health leaders for crimes against humanity and to convene a new Nuremburg trial to prosecute the makers of the coronavirus vaccines. And no, we’re not making that last one up. (Read the comments here.)

The charge that the Playhouse is requiring people to take a Covid shot in order to attend a show is false on its face. People can also display a recent negative Covid test and many are. But the larger point is that to attend a show at the Playhouse is completely and emphatically a voluntary decision. Those who object to the vaccine or to undergoing a test for Covid are free to skip the Playhouse shows now and forever.
The rules were drafted by the Actors’ Equity union after it engaged a national public health expert for guidance. As long as the Playhouse is going to bring professional actors to the Flat Rock stage — one of the extraordinary blessings of living in this community — then it must follow the union’s rules.
Unfortunately, the commissioners were sounding last week like they’re gullible enough to fall for this malicious mischaracterization of the Playhouse’s policies.
“I don’t think an actors guild probably based in New York is to be determining what we do on Henderson County soil,” Commissioner Daniel Andreotta said.
Commissioner Rebecca McCall promised the public commenters that defunding the Playhouse would be a priority when commissioners convene their annual budget retreat next week. If commissioners are consistent, they will also withdraw the economic development tax incentives they have granted to any employer who is requiring employees to present a “vax passport.”
If commissioners take the punitive action the anti-vaxxers have demanded, we hope they will hear from the non-delusional segment of our population what that action really is. It’s a strike against Flat Rock’s leading business and jobs creator. It’s a blow to tourism. And it’s a slap in the face to every theater patron who welcomes the opportunity to return to quality entertainment and is willing to make a small personal sacrifice to do so.