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I’m writing this from rural southern Missouri, the hotspot of the Delta variant and one of the lower vaccinated areas in the country. It’s not good. It’s not what the national media would lead you to believe but it’s still a tragic situation. Any honest person can see that here. But even with a year plus of living this, we’re still having the same dang arguments. It’s exhausting.
We have been living in a pandemic for a year and a half. We have learned a lot of new information, developed amazing new vaccines, and observed changing human behaviors. Our medical field has learned new ways to treat the virus. New data has given us insight into which categories are most at risk vs those least at risk. Despite a few blips here and there, the media has reported on the pandemic nearly non-stop.
Why are we still so dumb about it?
To begin, I believe many of the early “pandemic skeptic” claims have been blown out of the water:
A. It’s not “just the flu”. If you’re not living in a total bubble, anecdotal evidence alone should prove that to you. I have a few otherwise healthy (and young) friends who over the last couple weeks have ended up on oxygen or worse (collapsed lung, ventilator, death, etc.) due to their infection. That’s not the flu.
B. Following that: it’s not a conspiracy. Now maybe our political “leaders” have conspired in bad faith and cynical behaviors over the course of it but that’s a separate matter. The virus is very real.
C. The mask fight was and still is dumb. From day one, masks at best would help and at worst would be a waste of time. Nobody really knew. Current data supports they are probably a waste of time. Just don’t be a jerk about them (Good life lesson: don’t be a jerk.).
D. The vaccines are safe and effective! Yes, nobody knows the long-term complications of the vaccines but the same is true for COVID. The overwhelming number of cases since mass vaccination are from the unvaccinated. Virtually 100% of deaths are from the unvaccinated. While this is the first vaccine using MRNA technology, MRNA technology is not new. It’s not a “modified live” virus. It’s not a chip. It’s not a ploy from Bill Gate or some other nefarious actor angling to control the populace. It truly is a modern medical wonder. (I hear some say “well it’s not FDA approved”, well neither are the vitamins you take every day. The FDA doesn’t have the most sterling record of approvals and non-approvals either, some studies show that their lag in approvals cost thousands of American lives each year. It’s weird to be skeptical of the government-backed vaccine yet say you’d feel better about it if it was approved by the government.).
Another point: there have been billions of shots globally. There will be some adverse reactions. There will be some who are vaccinated who still get infected. No vaccine is 100% effective nor without side effects. Nobody said they would be. Stop arguing as if a minute fraction of cases represents serious evidence against the efficacy of the vaccine.
Disclosure: I have been vaccinated since February (Moderna). My only side effect was a mild hangover feeling the day after the 2nd dose.
E. Understand that private companies can force you to do things on their property. Yes, Walmart can force you to wear a mask. Yes, your employer can force you to get vaccinated.
Now for the “pandemic catastrophists”:
A. Stop lying, misrepresenting the data, and exhibiting double standards. It started with lying about the masks. Then two weeks to slow the spread. Then the riots. How many politicians were caught eating out or getting their hair done during the lockdowns? The list goes on and on.
B. Certain groups are more at risk and others are much less at risk. Quit acting as if everybody is going to die and requires the same level of protection/caution. Young people just aren’t dying from the pandemic nor is there much if any evidence they spread it. Open schools. Don’t mask kids. Don’t force vaccinations on children.
C. Stop thinking you can force people. This mainly applies to the governments. There are many common sense areas where mandatory public health measures can be taken (think nursing homes or hospitals), thinking you can enforce outdoor mask-wearing is not that. The little authoritarians running rampant the past year have done nothing but create a divisive and counterproductive environment.
D. Stop punishing those who have been vaccinated. At this point, getting vaccinated is the most you can ask of someone. Don’t turn around and tell them they’ll still need to wear a mask because they may still transmit the infection. WE ALREADY KNEW THAT. The vaccine is to protect yourself, not others. Now that the vaccine is widely available (and largely free!), those who have made the decision to not get vaccinated will have to assume those risks.
E. Stop name-calling. There are studies that show calling people racist who aren’t actually racist makes them more racist. What do you think calling someone who is being cautious about the vaccine a “killer” or “stupid” is going to do? I doubt it’s going to warm them up to your position.
I blame both sides for many of the issues during this terrible time. Most of all I blame our political class and media. The inability to have an intelligent and good faith discussion is completely on them. The political football played with the virus in 2020 entrenched millions of Americans into defensive positions, many I think for political reasons (although they won’t tell you that). It’s sad. It didn’t have to be this way.
Growing up, to be “conservative” was to be for smaller government. The other side of that was conservatives were for “good” government as well, and by good I mean effective. Being smaller would enable a more efficient government. While that’s changed some in recent years, that’s what I still believe. Unfortunately, we’ve been operating under bad government for quite some time. A lot is written about the costs of bad government. The pandemic has caused the bill on those costs to come due.
I think H. L. Mencken would say we’re getting it “good and hard”.Published in