KISS may have been a subtle musical group with subtle wardrobes and subtle album names like lick it up. But there was nothing subtle about what Gene Simmons, co-singer and co-founder of KISS, said about politicians, anti-vaxxers and those who remain unvaccinated in the US. Simmons stated, “If you’re willing to walk among us unvaccinated, you’re an enemy.” In this case, he specifically referred to being unvaccinated against the Covid-19 coronavirus, you know that virus that is causing the ongoing pandemic.
Now “enemy” is not a subtle word. You don’t usually call something like pineapple on pizza, people who leave the toilet seat up, or even the guy wearing a Speedo on the beach the “enemy.” To be truly considered an enemy, a person must really be a major threat to others. So why should getting unvaccinated be a big threat to others? Isn’t getting the Covid-19 vaccine just a “personal choice” as some politicians and anti-vaccination accounts on social media are claiming?
Well, getting the Covid-19 vaccine can be a “personal choice” if you live on an island all alone and, most importantly, stay on that island. But the fact that Simmons’ interview with host Steve Harkins turned so quickly into talking about the unvaccinated shows how going unvaccinated will affect so many other people.
In this case, “so soon” meant right after the introduction. Once Harkins first went through Simmons’ numerous achievements and then started the interview by asking Simmons about the band’s recently completed KISS Kruise XI. KISS Kruise XI sounds like a relative of Tom Cruise, but was actually a voyage aboard the Norwegian Jewel ship from October 29 to November 3, 2022. It included live performances from KISS.
Simmons emphasized that to be allowed on the cruise, or rather Kruise, “you had to be vaccinated. I don’t care about your political beliefs. You should not infect anyone just because you think you have rights that are misleading.” This made sense because those who have not been vaccinated are at significantly higher risk of becoming infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), as I have previously treated for Forbes.
As you’ve probably seen, some people have protested against Covid-19 vaccination mandates, claiming that such requirements violate their ‘rights’ and ‘freedoms’. But Simmons pointed out the flaws in such arguments: “You have no right to go through a red light. Actually, the government has a right to tell you to stop.”
He went on to add another example: “If they tell you not to smoke in a building, you can’t smoke in a building. And that’s not because they want to take away your rights. That’s because the rest of us hate it. We don’t want to smell your smoke.’
Simmons then emphasized that Covid-19 is not just some kind of inconvenience. It has killed more than 759,000 people in the US and left many with ongoing medical problems. “I don’t want to catch your illness. I don’t want to risk my life just because you want to go through a red light. This whole idea, this delusional, bad idea that you can do whatever you want and that the rest of the world is doomed, is really terrible.”
Simmons also criticized the politicization of the pandemic, arguing that both Democrats and Republicans are “evil” and to blame. “I don’t like either one,” Simmons said, referring to the two major political parties in the US. “Politics is the enemy. Humanism and humanity is what we should all be concerned about. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
In addition, Simmons mentioned football, “I don’t care if you play football or not, stay away from bad people who don’t care about your health.” Gosh, why was he, or maybe Aaron, wrong about mentioning football? Could it be a reference to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who in August said he was “immunized” even though he recently revealed he hadn’t received the Covid-19 vaccine, as I covered for Forbes on Tuesday? Perhaps.
Although Simmons sang the KISS hit dr. call loveAt no point during the interview did Simmons pretend to know more than real doctors or public health experts. And it is doctors and public health experts who should be leading the response to the pandemic, not politicians with other agendas, whether they are Democrats or Republicans. The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is a public health and scientific reality. Failure to direct the response through real science was and will sadly be the kiss of death and more suffering.