By Scott Buttram, publisher
TRUSSVILLE — I watch from afar as the camps face one another. Each sunrise reveals more and more soldiers arriving and setting up tents as both armies grow significantly with impressive rapidity. I am spellbound as it is a sight to behold.
They await word from the Trussville City Schools Central Office like Catholics awaiting smoke from the Vatican. War is on the horizon. I can feel it.
One army demands the masking. The other army demands the unmasking. The lines are drawn.
The soldiers in both groups are parents of the soon-to-be masked or unmasked students.
Both sides have amassed allies who have no students, no dog in the fight, no idea how to find Trussville on a map. But they’re ready to fight.
There are secret agents. And double-secret agents. There are stool pigeons exposing the double-secret agents who are they themselves double-secret secret agents. They have confidential information. Or is it misinformation?
The artillery is as impressive as the size of each army. Both armies stand ready to fire quotes from reliably unreliable medical experts backing their position. Sharpshooters in search of the broadside of a barn.
They have snipers by way of powerful politicians who align with each army spouting indisputable disputed facts. Both camps cite Dr. Anthony Fuaci comments to support their cause. Often the Fauci comments claimed by both camps were apparently stated on the same day separated only by a few hours and the audience he was addressing. Definitely no to mask before he was definitely yes to mask. Powerful medical advice without a doubt except for when he sounds somewhat in doubt.
The thought occurs to me in the form of a question. Is Fauci a double-secret secret double agent? I do not know. My mind is fogged by the scented Dollar General hand sanitizer.
CDC and WHO cannons support the front-line troops. They have clearly taken a side, but which side isn’t clear. Wear your mask. Take your mask off. Put your masks back on. Vaccination will save you. Vaccinations will save, but may not protect you. Vaccinations will keep you from making others sick. Vaccinations will save you but make you a supercarrier. Maybe. Maybe not. Vaccinated or unvaccinated, this looming war is about masks, lest we forget.
The expert advice is set before me like an endless Piccadilly cafeteria line. Choose what you’re hungry for and ignore the choices that don’t suit your appetite. There is something for everyone.
Without a doubt, the most impressive armament possessed by each army is already on display. The weapons glimmer when struck by the bright July Alabama sun. The flashes can cause temporary blindness when it hits the eye just so. It is the saber-rattling of all saber-rattling. These are the memes.
I marvel at the sheer volume and variety. Cutting, slashing, funny, sad, rationally irrational, nonsensical common sense, the reality of losing touch with reality. Many – from both sides – bring to mind the same searing question, ‘what does that meme even mean?’
Each army has its own nuclear option. Dare I speak of these weapons of mass destruction? Designed to strike fear in the hearts and minds of mere mortals, but supposedly downright horrifying to school board members and city councilors. They will most certainly be paralyzed by even the mention of the weapons known as the petition and the lawsuit and the lawsuit and the petition.
I shudder at the thought while at the same time I am overwhelmingly impressed. Who knew so many of my neighbors have lawyers on retainer? I struggle to afford to keep my lawn service on retainer. Inadequacy sweeps my soul.
The slow beat of the distant drum ripples through me as the clouds of war gather over each camp in an apocalyptic visual. They seem to be boiling in the sky. I hear the wind whispering to me. You must pick a side. You must join an army and make a stand.
I look to my right and stare at one army. I turn my head to the left and gaze at the opposing army. Clarity doesn’t come. Confusion is present.
So why am I overcome by a feeling of contentment? Why am I not anxious?
Then it hits me. I have finally reached that elusive mental state that allows me to say those magical words with unwavering confidence and absolute certainty.
I ain’t got no idea what the school system should do. I just tell stories for a living.
Scott Buttram is the publisher of The Trussville Tribune. Email him at Scott.Buttram@trussvilletribune.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottButtram.