At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, first responders were the toast of the town. Most of us appreciated that while we binge-watched Tiger King in our sweatpants and attempted to make sourdough bread from scratch, not everyone was lazily locking down.

Nurses, doctors and healthcare professionals were on the frontlines of the fight, taking on a virus the world knew little about. This sacrifice did not go unnoticed.

Americans proudly stuck signs on their front lawns that read ‘thank you first responders!’ McDonald’s gave out free ‘thank you meals’ to those who were helping fight COVID-19. Dr Anthony Fauci wasn’t the only one who made the TIME 100 List last year. The magazine also dubbed healthcare workers 2020’s ‘Guardians of the Year’.

‘On the front line against COVID-19, the world’s healthcare workers displayed the best of humanity — selflessness, compassion, stamina, courage — while protecting as much of it as they could,’ the fawning piece read.

Companies like Google, Dove and Adidas (to name but a few) produced commercials focused on celebrating first responders for their courage and bravery. In a time of division and frustration, the gratitude for productive and resilient members of our society was refreshing and well-deserved.

Sadly, something has quickly shifted.

Those who just one year ago were celebrated are now being vilified. The architects of this drastic rebrand? The ruling elite.

In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Saturday that she would call in the National Guard to replace healthcare workers who did not meet Monday’s vaccination deadline.

Dr Marty Makary, a professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins, tweeted in response to the story, ‘Swapping out experienced nurses with nat guard who are not familiar with a hospital’s systems, local ways of doing things & emerg protocols has risks. Recognize natural imm, instead of demonizing our heroes who put their lives on the line and got COVID.’

He is right — Hochul is creating a nightmare for hospitals.

Bringing new employees into the fold is tricky in any job — let alone in the medical field. Hochul is eliminating a number of skilled, willing workers at hospitals that desperately need them — all in the pursuit of making a point.

If Joe Biden’s ‘righteous’ drone strike in Afghanistan showed us anything, it is that innocent people often pay a high price for  politically motivated PR stunts.

The fact that some of the most fervent and outspoken opponents of vaccine mandates are healthcare workers is another interesting aspect of this highly publicized debate.

No, I am not about to go down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories about how the medical community knows something we don’t! There is something they aren’t telling us!

There is a much more logical explanation for their hesitancy. A great deal of essential workers came in contact with the virus early on in the pandemic. Unlike members of what Karol Markowicz calls the pajama class, healthcare workers didn’t have the luxury of performing their jobs on Zoom call happy hours inside their cozy apartments.

It makes sense that these workers, who operated for months in the real world, might refuse a vaccine if they already have antibodies due to natural infection. Antibodies which, for the record, appear to offer a higher level of immunity than the COVID shots. So why are they being forced to either take the Fauci ouchie or the pink slip?

In August during a San Diego County Board of Supervisors meeting, Heather Cauvel, a registered nurse, railed against vaccine mandates.

‘I was no problem working in the healthcare system over the last 18 months, without a vaccine, but now, all of a sudden, I’m a threat to public health?’

Cauvel went on to resign from her position.

The truth is that the rule-makers are not as concerned with medicine, science or health as they purport to be. This is about submission. Power-hungry pols do not care about protecting people. They are far more interested in controlling people. That’s why all of our freedoms over the last 18 months have been contingent on whether or not we follow the rules.

The heroes of the pandemic were applauded by the left when they pushed the correct agenda. When the first responders had bruise lines below their eyes from tight goggles, they were useful and welcome additions to the storyline du jour.

But when those same people pushed back against the diktats and questioned the mandates — they went from first responders to second-class citizens in a New York minute.