Pete Parada ~ ‘The question I get asked more than any other: Dude, WHY didn’t you just take the fake card?’

(1/22)

I considered it. An easy way to avoid the [let’s call it a TAX to deter the continued throttling of my account].. A fake card would’ve enabled me to avoid the TAX while keeping my job – back to normal right? I could’ve bypassed my cancellation/lightning rod moment, (2/22)

which up until my statement about a previous TAX injury/informed consent – I was just some dude who played drums for that band you liked or hated or had never heard of.

But then I realized I would be asking my kids to lie for me, in fact one of them pointed that out. (3/22)

Because I wasn’t going to lie to them and tell them I got TAXed – which would’ve meant they’d have to lie for me. What an enormous burden to ask them to carry on my behalf so that I could go back to a life that had always left them behind. (4/22)

And then my wife said to me something I’ll never forget: “You’ll be teaching our children that it is ok to deceive for acceptance and that there are opportunities which hold greater value than our integrity and well-being.” Damn. (5/22)

She continued, “if we don’t speak up we will be isolated, silenced. And how will we find our people?” Right, we’d have to smile and pretend we were ok with what was happening. (6/22)

[TAX = VAX. Offspring drummer booted from band over failure to get COVID vaccine. ABN]

And then it hit me: if I took the fake card – I would be accepting a special allowance not granted to everyone in my industry, all the while pressuring audiences to submit to a TAX I myself was unable to receive. It was the kind of ethical dilemma that kept me up at night. (7/22)

Could I live with myself – was the money worth potentially perpetuating the harm of another? How much money would make that worthwhile? Oh shit, no amount of money. Soul intact, phew. (8/22)

I figured out pretty quickly that there were a lot of us who either couldn’t or simply did not want to comply with this TAX. And it became obvious that most folks were afraid to speak for fear of loss: work, community, reputation and (ironically) freedom. (9/22)

This combination of an unprecedented amount of socioeconomic pressure to conform + the self-censorship of such a large (bipartisan) percentage of the population felt like a breeding ground for atrocities. (10/22)

If I took the fake card I wouldn’t be able to hold the line in the hopes that my children might not have to do the same. I had a responsibility to at least show them how to resist the obliteration of free will – in case this battle became their fate as well. (11/22)

Because it is my sincere belief that bodily sovereignty must be a fundamental human right – not only afforded to a privileged class of people who can fabricate documentation via access unavailable to all. (12/22)

Anyone paying attention from the start knew ongoing boosters were an inevitability – meaning this was going to be a long-term lie that would eventually become digital, making forgery even more elusive/exclusive. (13/22)

I needed to join the fight – not hide in the shadows and hope for the best. This orchestrated push for blind compliance was bigger than me and my desire to play music. (14/22)

So I turned down the fake card, and I watched my career die. And I wanted to die. Because my work had become my identity. That community had become my family. Fellow artists from around the world who’d been my friends and collaborators for years turned their backs on me. (15/22)

It was brutal to hold the complexity of knowing I did what felt right – while having to endure so much loss. I survived/grew from the agony of all that and eventually built a new life from the ashes of the old one. (16/22)

Now I get to be completely myself knowing anyone who chooses to work or spend time with me understands that this is the hill I die on: informed consent, not just for me – but also for you. (17/22)

Each of us who spoke up turned down fake cards. Think about that next time you want to attack someone like me. We chose your vitriol because it tasted better than our bleeding tongues. We invited your hate because of our love for humanity. (18/22)

All of us came to this epiphany individually – there was no meeting held in which we conspired to become targets of popular disgust; the decision to step forward was the result of self-reflection and dark night of the soul shit. (19/22)

Agree or disagree, but we did not disguise ourselves in order to gain your approval; it meant more to us to draw out your contempt, so that you might confront it in yourselves. (20/22)

We felt not bravery, but a necessity to demonstrate that we are so concerned with what is happening across the globe that we conscientiously objected and publicly dissented in the hopes that you would pause, if only for a moment, (21/22)

to consider the authoritarianism that is taking shape under the banner of goodwill.

“The welfare of the people has always been the alibi of tyrants, giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience.”

-Albert Camus

(22/22)

Originally tweeted by Pete Parada (@PeteParada) on December 20, 2022.

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