The Worship of Anthony Fauci Is Getting Really Weird

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Today is Sunday, and that meant it was time for Dr. Anthony Fauci to make the television rounds. Without even looking, I can guarantee he appeared on one of the major networks and that he was given a tongue bath by whatever supposed journalist he interacted with.

The worship didn’t stop in the visual medium this weekend, though. The New York Times also decided to put out a piece that takes the worship of Fauci to a really weird place.

I’m not gonna lie. Upon first reading that, my brain immediately began to play “Magic Man” by Heart on repeat. I had no idea Fauci was that level of deity. The more you know, I suppose.

Here’s the actual headline when you click the link.

The argument put forth revolves around turning Fauci into some kind of quasi-religious figure who always acts out of the goodness of his heart. According to the author, Fauci doesn’t have an insincere bone in his body.

The phrases “public servant” and “public service” are exhausted to the point of meaninglessness. They’re tics. They roll off politicians’ tongues as readily as requests for money, suggesting that adulation and power aren’t the more potent draws to elected office. They’re invoked in regard to other government workers, as if decent paychecks and generous pensions weren’t a significant lure.

But if anyone ever deserved to be described in those terms, it’s Anthony Fauci. That was true before the coronavirus. It’s truer now — despite the times when he has revised his message on how to deal with it, despite assessments of the pandemic that didn’t bear out and despite Republicans’ efforts to use all of that to turn him into some bespectacled Beelzebub.

So let me get this straight. His assessments of the pandemic didn’t bear out, and to be sure, he missed on a variety of major issues, including pushing ineffective lockdowns and mask-wearing that have done incalculable damage to society, but we aren’t supposed to hold that against him? It’s just those bad, old Republicans being mean by calling him out on his nonsense? That doesn’t seem very science-y from the supposed party of science. I posit that we should, in fact, care that Fauci’s record has been terrible during the pandemic.

But it’s the next paragraph that really gets me.

Shocker of shockers: Fauci isn’t perfect. But he has been perfectly sincere, perfectly patient, a professional standing resolutely outside so many of the worst currents of American life. More than that, he has been essential. We owe him an immeasurable debt of gratitude, not the mind-boggling magnitude of grief that he gets.

Actually, Fauci himself has announced that he hasn’t been sincere. That came after he admitted lying about masks in order to stop people from going out and buying them early on. Of course, he was actually right back then about mask-wearing, later changing his tune to cover his own backside. If someone is literally telling you they’ve lied about the pandemic, perhaps insisting on their sincerity isn’t the best argument.

Further, calling him essential is pure comedy. The country would have been much better off without Fauci’s confusing, science-denying, political machinations over the last year. The good doctor has become a left-wing mouthpiece at this point, praising dumpster fires like New York while he takes shots at places like Florida. Fauci has also become a stalwart follower of whatever spin Joe Biden is putting out on a given day. In other words, Fauci is a politician now, and there’s nothing more non-essential than that.

I owe the guy nothing, nor do you owe him anything. He’s offered nothing of value except doomsday predictions. If it had been left up to Fauci, we probably wouldn’t even have a vaccine right now; on that topic, his messaging has been all over the place.

The worship of this guy is purely political. That much is clear. The Times loves him because he represents a counter to Republicans who actually want to follow the science, with Rand Paul standing chief among that group. It’s not any more complicated than that. As to how grateful we should be, I’ll be very grateful when Fauci retires.