Anyone who was expecting Arnold Schwarzenegger to backtrack on and apologize for comments he made earlier this week are going to be really disappointed. The actor & former Governor of California took part in a YouTube interview with former National Security Council staffer Alexander Vindman and CNN's Bianna Golodryga where he made some strong, much-needed comments regarding those not doing their part in the pandemic. Those comments included calling those who still won't wear masks even as COVID cases are exploding "schmucks" and offering a "screw your freedom" response to those who claim their rights are being infringed upon by being "forced" to not spread a potentially lethal virus to those who may be more vulnerable.
In an op-ed for The Atlantic, Schwarzenegger stood by his sentiment, arguing that some tough-love truth was needed at this point. "There is nothing that I'm more passionate about than keeping America great, and it's the only subject that can make me lose my temper," he wrote. "I knew I'd be called a RINO, but that doesn't bother me. Honestly, rhinos are beautiful, powerful animals, so I take that as a compliment. I anticipated being called a Nazi and a Communist. But I've got thick skin stretched over my metal endoskeleton, so I knew I could take it."
As Schwarzenegger sees it, it's the apathy combined with folks forgetting the basic foundations of what's supposed to make this country great that is the most troublesome to him. "Many people told me that the Constitution gives them rights, but not responsibilities. They feel no duty to protect their fellow citizens. That's when I realized we all need a civics lesson. I can't help but wonder how much better off we'd be if Americans took a step back from politics and spent a minute thinking about how lucky we are to call this country home. Instead of tweeting, we could think about what we owe to the patriots who came before us and those who will follow us," he explained.
Unfortunately, there are too many selfish opportunists out there looking to throw the nation under the bus for their own selfish gains. "Some people want to create an alternative America, where we have no responsibility to one another. That America has never existed. They may tell you that what we are doing to fight the war against the coronavirus is unprecedented. They're full of crap. They are lying to you because they make money from your anger."
"A year and a half later, we are still in a mess and there are still people living in denial, there are still people that don't believe in masks, there are still people out there who say, 'Well, we don't have to do social distancing,' and all this kind of stuff," Schwarzenegger said during the original interview earlier this week. "And I just think that people ought to be reminded over and over that the experts are saying that we have to wear masks, especially when you go indoors, the experts are saying that you should still wash your hands regularly, you should still do social distancing, especially now with this new comeback of the virus, which is the fourth round now, that we have to really go and work together." But Schwarzenegger had no patience for those who argue "personal freedom" as their reason for not wearing a mask or observing COVID precautions.
"I think people should know there is a virus here, it kills people. And the only way we prevent it is we get vaccinated, we wear masks, we do social distancing, washing your hands all of the time, and not just to think about, 'Well, my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.' No, screw your freedom. Because with freedom comes obligations and responsibilities. You cannot just say, 'I have the right to do x, y, and z,' when you affect other people. That is when it gets serious," he argued. "It's like, no different than a traffic light. They put the traffic light in the intersection so someone doesn't kill someone else by accident. You cannot say, 'No one is going to tell me that I'm going to stop here, I'm going to go right through it.' Yeah, then you kill someone else. It is the same thing with the virus. You cannot go and not put the mask on because when you breathe you can infect someone else, and you can infect someone that then gets sick and may die. So this is why I think we all have to work together on this.… We have to come together rather than fighting and always just saying, 'According to my principles this is a free country and I have the freedom to wear no mask.' Yeah, you have the freedom to wear no mask, but you know something? You're a schmuck for not wearing a mask."
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