To start my day, a friend emailed me an article regarding a ‘Right wing talk show host who died from covid,’ to which I responded, asking why he felt compelled to send me the article.
He said it was in my industry and he thought I would be interested, and he expressed he was happy the host had learn from his mistake of spewing misinformation. I responded further, asking if my friend if he took special delight in a political opponents dying, to which he reminded Covid is a life or death issue. I haven’t responded because I know it is a losing battle. To my friend, the right wing talk host deserved to get sick because he was spreading misinformation about vaccine hesitancy; he was putting people’s lives in danger.
In our country today there is no such thing as a conversation about anything. You either agree with consensus, as in the consensus of people who believe taking the vaccine is the only way to fight Covid, or you are a deniar, a dangerous person who can spread misinformation.
It’s the same if you have a conversation about race, gender or climate change. There is no dissent, there are only those who are dangerous because they don’t comply with consensus. This is my friends position and he is not alone.
It makes no difference that free speech is stifled to people who want dissenters to remain silent. It’s about safety, survival, or self-preservation to trust the experts when they tell us danger looms when we don’t take the vaccine, or we don’t accept racism as a racial inherent, or when we fail to separate our garbage.
And for those who do not comply, you are the threat. JUst this week it was MSNBC’s Nicole Wallace who still blames Trump for sowing seeds of distrust about Covid, or Joy Reid saying parents who refuse to mask their kids are abusing their children. This kind of rhetoric builds to tension and causes lines of division.
Israel has the most per capita number of people vaccinated (62%), and yet, the new Delta variant has caused a surge in new cases. The CDC and the FDA says we will need boosters; Dr Anthony Fauci says people who don’t vaccinate might create a new variant, which means we may all be helpless if a new strains resistant to current vaccines. Don’t any of these positions demand a level of scrutiny or even a debate?
I would have loved to talk to my friend, who is actually pretty smart when it comes to some science, but because the only thing that matters to him is people taking vaccines and shutting down people who deviate from the message, no conversation ensued.
Many people have questions about COVID because what seems true today may not be true tomorrow. The sand seem to be shifting. We still do not know, for example, the long-term efficacy of the vaccines we now have. One year? five years? We don’t know and won’t know until we get there. We also don’t know if the vaccine prevents people from spreading the virus, which begs the question if taking shot still allows me to be sick, or be a spreader, what’s the point of taking the jab. These are questions we should all ask. But no one is allowed to ask them without fear of being shut down or marginalized.
What the science does tell us that Covid has killed over four million people in the past twenty months. Science also tells us on average six million people die every year from respiratory illness, and three to five million more die from heart attack, and Covid looks to be more like influenza and less like small pox, or ebola. Which means the portrayal of the unvaccinated as “threats” or “a danger to society,” is highly-overblown. We would behave the same for those who refuse to get a flew shot?
But for me to state these things is to challenge consensus-society, and it is surprising to this author that so many supposed lovers of freedom so readily accept the new social paradigm where dissenters on a host of issues, some more dangerous than others, must remain silent or risk persecution.
The real virus spreading at an alarming rate is enmity, and we have no vaccine for that