It’s not about ‘you’

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O P I N I O N


Image via Facebook

On Wednesday, Oct. 20, employees for the General Electric (GE) Aviation Company in Hooksett organized a demonstration outside the workplace to protest a GE corporate mandate that all employees must receive a COVID-19 vaccine, or potentially lose their jobs.

From some pictures shared on social media, the scene was unsurprising. The protesters[1]—composed largely of white males—carried American and Gadsden flags[2] and held Anti-vax signs as some like-minded drivers passed in their cars and honked their support and approval.

Unfortunately, the pandemic failed to stop and honk.

For what it’s worth, I fully support the First Amendment rights[3] of the workers who chose to assemble and peacefully protest, as well as the workers’ rights to opt-out of the mandate due to faith-based conflicts.

However, I also support the business’s right—in this case, it’s a major corporation and a paragon of blessed capitalism—to enforce the mandate[4]. GE has every right to establish conditions for a work environment that they oversee for the employees whose wages they pay.

This is not a mandate passed down by President Joe Biden and the federal government.

But I’ll admit that people still resisting the vaccine—especially those whose obstinance stems from political disdain for progressives—confound me. Their reasoning, with the exception of those with legitimate religious exemptions, seems, to me, ethically nonsensical.

Why?

Because the pandemic, and our nation’s painstakingly slow effort to put an end to the virus and its spread, is not about the individual.

In other words, this is not about you.

This is about the collective, as a nation; it’s about all of us. And while I understand the aforementioned statement may come perilously close to drifting into that dreaded socialist lane, the fight to overcome this pandemic requires that we all do our part, as people and Americans.

While I understand a person’s reluctance get the shot[5], whether it be a fear of needles or weariness about putting the vaccine in your bloodstream, I repeat: This is not about you[6].

This is about the over 700,000 people who have lost their lives to this virus. This is about their grieving families. This is about doing our best to assure that more people don’t needlessly die from this virus when we have a scientific means to stop it.

This, in short, is about being a caring human being.

And for those people still drinking FOX News’ misinformation Kool-Aid cocktails, please stop. Again, the vaccine doesn’t vote for Democrats, and the noble scientists who worked tirelessly to assure that the vaccine is safe and effective deserve our respect and admiration.

Because science deals with fact, not political dogma.

I wish people would stop making the vaccine a Constitutional issue and treat it for what it is: a way out of a public health crisis. If everyone were to roll up their sleeves (not because their jobs were being threatened, rather because it’s a kind, unselfish and altruistic decision) there would be no need for flags or signs or cars honking.

After close to twenty tumultuous months of this pandemic, we could all use—and need— a little quiet time.

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[1] It’s unclear how many of the protesters were GE employees versus outsider-activists condoning the protest.

[2] In regards to the Gadsden flags, I can’t help but wonder what our Founding Fathers would have done had scientists discovered a smallpox vaccination during The American Revolution. How would Gen. George Washington have handled a soldier who refused to take that hypothetical vaccination before crossing The Potomac River, citing: “My body, my choice”?

[3] N.B. You’re reading this on a news website, and those of us in journalism tend to have an affinity for said First Amendment rights.

[4] Until the COVID-19 vaccines rolled out under President Joe Biden’s watch, the issue of vaccines was only marginally politicized, groused about by a relatively but vociferous contingent of anti-vaxxers.

[5] I was never one to get flu shots due, solely to the fact, that I abhor needles and would’ve rather gotten the flu than the prick. COVID has made me rethink this.

[6] The pronouns matter here.