MATTHEWS: America finally turns a corner a full two years into the pandemic

President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the National Institutes of Health, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Bethesda, Md. Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens at right. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

During the first few months of the coronavirus outbreak, when restrictive government mandates were being doled out like candy, I remember a feeling of hopelessness enveloping me whenever I thought about what our path forward as a country would be. 

How long would the draconian restrictions last? How many more small business owners were we going to see arrested for trying to keep their businesses afloat at a time when the government was ordering them to stay closed for an undetermined amount of time? 

How much longer were those local “tip lines” going to be in place where neighbors were being encouraged to snoop on and report other neighbors for allegedly violating government public health edicts? 

It seemed like there was no end in sight, which is one reason why we saw scattered “reopen” protests in parts of the country during the first few months of the pandemic as conservatives rebelled against what were essentially lockdowns. 

A lot has happened since the early days of the pandemic here in America. We’ve seen one Democrat politician after another, including those at the highest levels of government like President Joe Biden, not practice what they preach on CDC recommendations and the various mandates that they have demanded others follow. 

We’ve seen case numbers surge, dip, and surge again. We’ve seen numerous variants, including the Delta and Omicron variants and the additional case numbers they’ve brought. 

But in the last few months, we’ve also seen an apparent awakening among people who had previously told us it was best to keep our public schools closed, restaurants and hair salons at limited capacity, and everyone masked. 

Some of these same people, which includes government officials and various medical experts, are now talking about how we must learn to live with the virus, saying America can’t go on as it has for the last two years. There’s also been a lot of second-guessing about masking and the supposed benefits of wearing one. 

There is also a movement underway at state levels, encouraged by the federal government, to reconfigure what constitutes a COVID hospitalization or death. 

Previously, when Republican governors questioned things like mask-wearing and also how COVID statistics were compiled, they were accused of deliberately wanting to put people in danger and of being eager to “hide” actual numbers. But because we’re in an election year and Democrats from Biden on down want to make themselves look better in terms of how they handled the pandemic, suddenly it’s okay to raise those types of questions. 

Whether politically motivated or otherwise, this is a remarkable turn of events, brought on in part by a whole lot of persistence by some of the same conservatives who two years ago expressed doubt that a majority of people could be convinced that the federal government and blue state governors had stepped way out of bounds with their authoritarian approach to how to combat COVID-19. 

Making things better is the fact that these issues have helped some on the rank and file left see the light. Not a day goes by when I don’t see something tweeted out by someone with a growing number of followers who has in their bio that they’ve been mugged by reality over the last two years. 

People are waking up. It’s taken some time, but they’re waking up and saying it’s time for America to get back to normal as much as it can. 

We’ve come a long way as a country over the last two years. Though we still have a long way to go, let’s be encouraged by the fact that there is now a light at the end of the tunnel, which wouldn’t have happened if people had simply given up the fight against government overreach. 

Sometimes the people do win. 

Media analyst Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.