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Posts Tagged ‘COVID’

06Jan2022

One year ago today, my journal entry ended with: “Self-medication was required.”

This year, it’s still too early to know what the day will bring.

What today is supposed to bring is suffused in mundanity—an appointment with a chimney sweep, a couple of deliveries, an inch of rain—but if 2021 taught me anything, it’s that we can never really know what the world at large will toss into the mix.

Looking back on the year between, though, I’d have to say the auspices are not promising.

Monday, we both got our COVID booster shots. Our immune systems kicked into high gear, building the desired antibodies and so, by Tuesday, as expected, we were a bit under the weather. Some of our social media contacts chided us for putting such “poison” into our bodies; one even sent us a ten-minute video on how it magnetizes our bodies. (FYI: it doesn’t.)

In a friend’s most recent letter, she told me that some people in her circle—all functional adults capable of holding down a full-time job—upon reading a book that could be classified as “magic realism,” were of the belief that because “back then, people were closer to nature,” the magic described in the book was real. (FYI: it wasn’t.)

Recently, heavy snows—in winter—are being pointed to as clear evidence that climate change is a hoax, while tornadoes and wildfires in December are dismissed with the label “God’s will.” (FYI: it isn’t and they aren’t.)

And, to bring it back around, two in five Americanstwo in five—believe that hundreds of individuals across the nation somehow conspired to flawlessly submit thousands of fraudulent ballots, all without leaving the slightest trace of their crimes, all to oust a sitting president whose approval rating on its best day couldn’t touch the 50% mark. (FYI: they didn’t.)

“I did my own research” has become the mantra of the age, with grand swathes of the American population opting to trust a few hours spent on Google, searching for what they want to hear, rather than give an iota of credence to the knowledge and experience of experts who’ve studied these topics for decades.

We are in a Desert of Reason, where logic and critical thought are as rare and precious as water in the Sahara. Common sense is not only uncommon, it is strenuouslyand at times violentlyeschewed.

Today will play itself out, ending as it will with a bang or a whimper, but either way, as it was last year, self-medication may be required.

k

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The Key

It is not a needle.
It is not a syringe
It is a key
that fits my front door
but now that I have it
will I use it?
Am I ready
to leave my distanced redoubt?
Is my unmasked heart prepared
to trust those I meet?
I cannot say
but the key turns
the dust-dry tumblers
the bolt withdraws
the door creaks open
I squint at the sun
of a different year
smell the aromas
of an unmapped summer
hear the surf noise
of my lifeblood’s anticipation
and I step outside

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Ages ago, I had a golden ticket.

It opened gates that were closed, gave access to forbidden lands.

My trusty US Passport, respected throughout the world, allowed me to depart the country of my birth whenever I chose, but could not guarantee entry to all nations beyond our borders. It was, simply put, insufficient to get me into the places I wanted to go.

I needed a golden ticket.

I needed my vaccine passport.

Should I have balked at the requirement? Should I have, with hackles raised in righteous indignation, told these other, these lesser, these pipsqueak nations to go straight to hell because by god, I was an American, and no one was going to put restrictions on my absolute sovereignty? Is that what I should have done?

Was I weak? Was it a sign of a lax morality, a milquetoast nature, or a spineless lack of patriotism when I subjected myself to these jabs? Was I exposing my cowardice when I exposed my arm to these vaccines? Was the mild ache in my shoulder from the smallpox, yellow fever, diphtheria, and tetanus jabs some sort of reaction to this un-American act? Were the symptoms of cholera and typhus I experienced (due to the live vaccines administered), were they merely a sign of my own turpitude?

No. Such sentiments would have been as ludicrous back then as they are today.

And yet, here we are, arguing about this exact thing.

Public health and safety are the primary purposes of government. A pandemic, such as the one we experience today, is a threat to public health. Our best tool against it is an effective vaccine, distributed as widely as possible so that, as a nation, we can grab the brass ring of herd immunity.

But not everyone admits this reality. For some of our nation’s people—certain demographic groups, political parties, and even entire states—public health and safety are set aside while, with a misguided sense of outrage, these folks stand up and shout to the rafters their creed of individual freedom. These sections of our society feel that their personal privilege trumps any greater concern, for others, for neighbors, even for loved ones.

And so, we are stuck on this carousel, spinning ’round and ’round, suffering wave after wave of resurgent infection and death, and the brass ring remains tantalizingly out of reach.

Vaccine passports are going to be a reality. Just as when I was young, fresh-faced and dewy-eyed, wanting to visit lands unknown and experience cultures as alien to me then as the beliefs of these deniers are to me now, nations are going to require proof of vaccination before entry is permitted. You can rail and shout your fleck-spittle manifesto of faux patriotism and American exceptionalism all you want; without proof, you shall not pass.

More to the point, due solely to the calcified stupidity of this sizable proportion of our society, we cannot even trust one another and this vaccine passport may be required domestically as well. Want to see your home team compete against the visitors? Show you’ve been vaccinated. Want to experience that arena concert? Prove you’ve had the jab. Proof, or go home.

This is the future, and ironically, it is a future that these deniers are making manifest by their very actions. They are causing this reaction, just as that typhus vaccine caused my body to react with fever, chills, and sweats. The body politic is fighting off the viral infection these deniers represent.

Don’t want the jab? Fine. Don’t get it. It’s your choice. You have that freedom in this country. But Americans are not demigods walking amongst mere mortals, and actions have consequences.

So don’t act surprised when you get turned away from a nation, an airport, a venue, a concert, a restaurant because you chose to value your privilege above the health of others.

Get your jab.

Get your golden ticket.

k

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Ordinarily, I try to avoid confrontation. Last week’s post, therefore, was out of the ordinary, and indeed, it did give rise to a few confrontations. Most were from expected quarters, but there were a few surprises. The conversations it engendered, though generally civil, were at times tense, and they definitely raised my anxiety level to DEFCON 3.

That, however, wasn’t what upset me the most. No, what had me flirting with DEFCON 2 was something entirely unexpected.

We were invited to a barbecue.

(more…)

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