Turning 60 years old is unquestionably a big deal, so I can't entirely fault former President Obama for wanting to celebrate his diamond jubilee with friends and family. What I have a harder time reconciling, however, is Obama's apparent decision to ring in his 60th with a blowout birthday bash for several hundred of his closet pals... all in the midst of a nationwide surge in coronavirus cases.
To be clear, the former president's plans to host a massive hootenanny for his 60th — first reported by Axios on Monday — is hardly going to be the Lollapalooza-esque petri dish currently threatening to engulf Chicago in a new wave of COVID's highly communicable Delta variant. As Axios noted, not only will the party take place on Martha's Vineyard, a literal island, but "it will be held outdoors, all guests are asked to be vaccinated and invitees have been told there will be a COVID-coordinator to ensure all proper protocols are followed."
It's important to note here that if, as expected, all the guests are vaccinated, then the danger of a "breakthrough" infection is extremely low, and the risk of that becoming a serious, life threatening case is even lower. Vaccines work, people! If you're reading this, are eligible for inoculation, and haven't been vaccinated yet, log off, and get the shot already. Don't be an asshole.
Having said all that... Is throwing a huge birthday party really the right move here? Is treating the reported 475 confirmed attendees to a private Pearl Jam concert (oh, did I forget to mention? Pearl Jam is gonna be there for some reason) really worth even the extremely mitigated risk of infection? (lol, no). Consider the optics alone: while the rest of the country is untangling some extremely convoluted messaging around who is at risk for what under which circumstances, here comes the former president opening the gates to his $12 million dollar estate so pals like Steven Spielberg (yeah, he's invited) can eat clam cakes while Eddie Vedder croons about finding a better man.
Already some of the most cartoonishly bad faith ghouls on the right have started leaping on the party as their latest front in the ongoing effort to... well, it's unclear exactly? Discourage vaccines? Promote freedom? Just complain for the sake of complaining? Probably all of the above. Still, the fact remains that Obama opened himself up to these sort of trolly attacks in the first place.
Why not just have some cake with your wife and kids and call it a day? Hell, just crank up Vitalogy if you really need a Pearl Jam fix. How is anything more than that worth the agita this is clearly already causing?
I'dunno, man. Happy birthday, Mr. President, I guess.