Dying to Win

I saw this meme near the start of the pandemic: A cemetery, stately, over crowded with graves on a bright, sunny day. Dialog bubbles pop up from two headstones, the words of the dead.

“We owned the Libs!!!”

“Hell yeah we did!!!”

Kind of funny, really not.

I read an article this morning. Conservative talk show host Phil Valentine died of Covid. Like most (all?) conservative talk show hosts, Valentine trash-talked the vaccine. He never got one, and he encouraged his listeners not to either. From his blog:

I’m not an anti-vaxxer. I’m just using common sense. What are my odds of dying from COVID if I do get it? Probably way less than one percent. If you have underlying health issues you probably need to get the vaccine. If you’re not at high risk of dying from COVID then you’re probably safer not getting it.

Phil was confused. So far in the United States, three people have died from receiving the Covid vaccine. They developed blood clots after receiving the Johnson & Johnson shot. Compared to the 627,175 who died from the disease itself, the number might as well be zero. Phil’s position isn’t about common sense, it’s about winning.

Early in his presidency, Donald Trump seemed to pick his stance on issues primarily to tick off the left, the Libs. In truth, I believe his entire presidential platform was simply anti-Obama. If an issue was something Obama supported, Trump opposed it. His party followed his lead. By the time Covid came around, this knee-jerk ideological polarization was solidified in place. It wasn’t possible for the right to accept mask mandates or belief in science. Covid was an issue of consequence. A dissenting opinion was the only option. The vaccine as a flash-point was preordained.

I talk with my father a couple of times each week. He’s ninety years old. For him, staying out of public places is an act of survival. The chances of dying from Covid increase with age. At ninety, catching the virus is like playing Russian Roulette with a mostly loaded gun. In every conversation we have, there’s always a point where we both voice our confusion over why so many Americans refuse the vaccine.

The big news story coming out of Mississippi yesterday was that many people who rejected the vaccine over ‘safety concerns’ have used the livestock deworming drug ivermectin as a Covid prevention measure. Seventy percent of calls to Mississippi poison control centers recently have been people concerned about ivermectin toxicity. When this came up in my conversation with my father yesterday, the phone line went silent. There’s simply nothing to say about that.

When Valentine became gravely ill in July, his brother released a statement:

“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine’, and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air.”

I’ve read this same sentiment a dozen times in the news. Of course, the news I read is the Washington Post and CNN—liberal news outlets that I’m told work hard to make conservatives look foolish. But seriously, I doubt there are many people plugged into ventilators thinking “boy I’m glad I didn’t get that vaccine!”

So I ask, is winning worth it? And have you really won if you’re about a hundred times more likely to catch Covid 19? Some things have nothing to do with politics, and Covid is one of them. From this perspective, the population isn’t separated into Republicans and Democrats, but vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Be vaccinated.

12 thoughts on “Dying to Win

  1. Older Daughter worked a COVID unit at the hospital last night. It wasn’t the ICU, but the only admit people who need oxygen or remdesivir. All of her patients were younger, “healthy” people.

    And my Younger daughter is *still* dragging her feet about the vaccine. She doesn’t have a reason, or one she can articulate, and it scares me. Her sister tried talking to her, I’ve talked to her… she offered to not come over anymore, and I told her she’s in more danger FROM us, than she is TO us. We’re all vaccinated, even Ben.

    The politicizing of it is ridiculous, but I think there are a lot of people like my Younger daughter too. I wish they’d treat it like small pox, and make everyone get the vaccine. I’m sure most Healthcare workers feel the same way.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It simply makes no sense to me at all. School is starting up all over the country over the next few weeks and you know what will happen, We’ll be breaking covid records again by November. I’m not sure how america got this way… or maybe I am, just read my last blog post. We’re screwed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bob and I got the vaccine but we did not let the kids get vaccinated. There was too much going on with heart issues developing and just general concerns about what the long-term effects may be for their developing bodies. They are not opposed to getting it. And in due time and more research, we will let them get vaccinated. It feels like a game of chance for us right now. Which will be worse for them – long-term vaccine side effects or long-term COVID side effects? I am finding this is a really sensitive subject especially when you are on the “let’s wait” side. We found the choice to be a tough one for us to make.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is a leap of faith to inject a vaccine that’s just been created, but remember, no one has ever been exposed to covid for more than two years. Same sort of issue there. Any lasting/recurring issues from infection? We don’t know yet. It’s a weird virus, seems kind of evil. You know how I can’t help but make ‘predictions’ about what’s coming, and what I see is the virus is going to be freaking everywhere this winter. If you look at where we were at the start of the last school year and compare it with today’s infections, things look beyond bad.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. well said, Jeff, and I couldn’t agree more. I often wonder how much of Trump’s decision to overturn everything Obama did is tid back to when Obama poked fun at Trump at the White House correspondents’ dinner one year…

    Liked by 2 people

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