Last week, an artist whose music I enjoy announced that he was playing a “pop-up show” a few hours from here. Right away I started scheming ways for us to get there and catch his act — but then I read that the venue requires that all patrons show proof that they’re either vaccinated against WuFlu or have tested negative within 48 hours of the show.

I gave the artist a pass because the show was for charity.

Every year (except 2021, because of WuFlu closures) Deb and I attend the “Zachariah’s Red-Eye Reunion” concert headlined by McGuffey Lane, a band that’s been a central-Ohio institution for 40 years. I got an e-mail from the band’s publicist Tuesday night, as I do every November, telling me that it was time to pay for the table that Deb and I have had at the show since shortly after we met.

This year, however, there’s a new rule:

“You must be FULLY vaccinated 14 days or more prior to the show OR test negative within 72 hours of the show.”

I read that e-mail to Deb before replying:

“I’m disappointed to have to tell you that Deb and I won’t patronize any business or venue that presumes to have a claim to our medical information or dictate our medical decisions. After all these years, then, we’re giving up our table. Our individual Liberty as Americans is more important.”

Sending that response truly saddened us. There actually was a chance that we’d be back in Ohio for the show in late January. But there’s no way we’d attend with a policy like that in place.

(The “Papers, please” rule, by the way, is imposed by the venue — “Express Live!” in Columbus — not by the artists involved.)

Our vaccination status is irrelevant to the choice we made. Neither Deb nor I disputes the right of an individual to make independent decisions about how best to manage their health, whether that means getting jabbed or not, being swabbed or not, masking or not.

Nor is it relevant to say, “It’s a private business, it can do what it wants.” That’s a lame excuse for mindless compliance, mistakenly presuming that commerce is a tug-of-war with a one-ended rope. It ignores the fact that ticket-holders, concertgoers and other consumers have the power to yank back hard on the other end of that rope.

And we should — all of us.

We have to stop making this about the vaccine. It’s about the choice. When the State tries to remove that choice, or dictates what must remain a private decision, it launches an assault on fundamental American principles.

Likewise, any business that demands private medical “papers” at the door is, by the way it operates, anti-American.

Let’s be real here — there’s no scientific basis for these policies requiring vaccinations or negative test results. The data don’t support the rules. But hey, if you’re more comfortable living in a totalitarian “Papers, please” culture (like New York City or Los Angeles) because you prefer the illusion of “safety,” just realize that you’re only supporting virtue-signaling and helping to perpetuate a climate of irrational fear, nothing more.

Deb and I refuse to participate in this charade. We’re Americans, dammit, and we’ve had enough.

I’ll close today with a statement issued October 18th by Travis Tritt:

I’m putting my money where my mouth is and announcing that any venue or promoter mandating masks, requiring vaccinations, or pushing COVID testing protocols on my fans will not be tolerated. Any show I have booked that discriminates against concert-goers by requiring proof of vaccination, a COVID test, or a mask is being canceled immediately. Many people are taking a firm stand against these mandates around the country, and I wholeheartedly support that cause. I have been extremely vocal against mandates since the beginning. This is a sacrifice that I’m willing to make to stand up for the freedoms that generations of Americans have enjoyed for their entire lifetimes. There are plenty of promoters and venues around the country that appreciate fans and the freedom of choice in this great country, and those are the promoters and venues that I will be supporting.”

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB