Empathy for the Unvaxxed
Healing a wounded country requires empathy over anger.
I love the morning C-SPAN show where callers voice their opinion about the news of the day. Today, while discussing the newest strain of Covid, one opined that the deaths of the anti-vaxxers will improve the general IQ of the nation and it will be a good thing to be rid of those people. The anger in his voice was palpable. And as always, the moderator handled the call with professionalism and grace.
It would be easy to call that opinion hateful or childish. But I get it; people are dying and the situation is urgent. The people refusing the vaccine seem to be selfish, and with lives in the balance, this is seemingly murderous. This doesn’t seem to be a time for debate; it’s time to act!
Unfortunately, vaccine acceptance seems largely tied to political affiliation, and with a country so sharply divided across party lines, the likelihood of seeing each other’s perspective is slim. But let’s go tilting at windmills and see if we can understand our brothers and sisters on the other side of the aisle. Note: I’m a Libertarian, so I don’t usually get to be on either side of the aisle; we hang out at the video-game arcade across the street.
I’ll spill the beans on my own vaccination status first: I’ve recently retired from the military, and I’ve been exposed to burn pits, poo pits, rapid-fire multi-jabs, and all manner of bad stuff. Despite all that, I was hesitant to receive the vaccine. I got the jab, and don’t regret it. I don’t feel comfortable forcing it on anybody else, though.
With that all said, the government’s response was ineffective and, I believe this drove the hesitancy. In the early days, I watched the news intently and noted who was most at-risk. The first major outbreak was in a Seattle nursing home where several dozen elderly people died. Shortly afterward, a Navy ship had an outbreak where 600 sailors tested positive and there was one death. Now, I’m not a scientist, but I concluded that the elderly have a higher risk of death than healthy, young Sailors.
This turns out to be true. Healthy people are generally more resilient to disease, so we can assume that the government knew this and took reasonable steps to protect the elderly and immune-compromised, and advised healthy people on ways to improve their health so that we could minimize the suffering. They certainly wouldn’t do something like order nursing homes to take Covid patients, and they wouldn’t ban people from going outside to exercise, right?
Okay, that was bad. But we were panicked and people were dying, so maybe we made a few mistakes. But certainly, we got a grip on the situation and followed the science?
Science is confusing, and some science is better than other science. Some science is peer-reviewed, double-blind with large sample sizes and some is not. But never worry, Anthony Fauci says he is the representative of science, so problem solved.
For some reason, people tend to trust you less when you claim to represent science, and disregard the idea that science is a complex, ongoing process where dissent should not only be allowed, but encouraged. But I’m sure that when all this comes out in the wash, we’ll find out that Dr. Fauci encouraged a market of ideas and never tried to squash any dissent. Luckily, there’s been a freedom-of-information-act email dump, where I’m sure we’ll find he was searching for other solutions than max lockdowns and max-vax.
Turns out, Dr. Fauci and Dr. Francis Collins from the National Institute of Health allegedly conspired to quell the ideas of Harvard, Oxford and Stanford doctors who thought the lockdowns were dangerous. In their emails, Fauci and Collins referred to these doctors as ‘fringe’ scientists and hoped a Wired Magazine article would halt any further discussion.
If you have any distrust of the government or big pharma, you could probably see why some people might wonder why there is such a strong push to give healthy people their boosters and to vaccinate children. And why has there been absolutely no focus on a healthy lifestyle? But now it seems the left has been won over by big Pharma and the previous evils have been forgotten.
Even with the approval of the left, we call these vaccines ‘leaky’, which means that the vaccinated can still transmit the disease. We believe the rate of a vaccinated transmission is lower, but one side effect of a leaky vaccine is that rather than viruses meeting their evolutionary dead-end, they can produce more virulent and hotter strains. There’s not much discussion about this, though.
It’s also clear that some governments are losing their minds; please see what’s happening to the lovely people of Austria, and try to understand that there are people who put less faith in government than you. Can you see how a mandate, lockdowns, and vaccines for children are eyed with suspicion?
I know we’re angry, maybe even panicked, and you feel we should just trust the kindly Dr. Fauci. I remember what it was like to trust the government. Those days were nice, but when you see the damage a good-intentioned authoritarian can do, you might see why many people aren’t rushing to get this vaccine.
I don’t represent the science, but I believe had the government had a lighter-handed approach, more people would’ve made the right choice, whatever that is.