Love and Loss
The year before the pandemic hit, I moved from Oregon to Minnesota to get married. I started a great job as a nurse at the state Veterans Home in Fergus Falls. My first Winter did not prepare me for the storm ahead beginning that Spring.
For one year, the staff cared for veterans while most state workers stayed at home. We were the Heroes of Healthcare, the Frontline in the Battle Against COVID. New policies were adopted to aid us in preventing the pathogen from running rampant among the most vulnerable. Inevitably, staff and residents were infected. Yet we soldiered on, caring for the sick in isolation wings. We consumed copious amounts of Personal Protective Equipment, donning and doffing caseloads of masks, gowns, and gloves. But we had joy in serving.
Then came the miraculous vaccines, and work changed ... for the worse.
The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) decided to insert themselves into a system functioning fine without their interference. In their wisdom and benevolence, they decided they needed to know who all were jabbed with the new wonder-juice. So, all staff were required to either disclose their “vaccine status” or to sign a waiver declining to share their personal medical decision; in which case they would be treated as “unvaccinated.” According to this new policy, staff “could not legally be required to share their private medical information”; however, they would then be required to come to world and test twice weekly for COVID.
That Fall brought the next step of government coercion. Following the President’s threat of executive order, employees increasingly felt pressured to get injected In order to keep their jobs. Despite delays and legal challenges, that threat became a reality. Divisive pressures in the workplace reached breaking points: For some staff, unwilling to risk potential dangers of the experimental injections, the mandate meant resignation or retirement. Others, lacking conviction, capacity, or courage caved to coercion. Those who could, applied for religious accommodation, only to learn they would now become the objects of government sanctioned discrimination and new state policies. In violation of their own policy requiring the facility to maintain employee privacy, the sate mandated that the unvaccinated be visibly identified as religious objectors! This is when the world at work turned upside-down.
But at least one man remained. He would not abandon his conviction that it was wrong for the state to force employees into medical procedures. With neither medical nor religious accommodation, he refused to participate in the medical tyranny, judging that the societal and personal consequences of compliance outweighed the cost of refusal. Decrying the threat in hope of changing the system of injustice for those who could not stand up, he chose termination. He made them fire him.