A letter to the editor in the Denver Post asks: Is it “conservative” to resist urgings of health professionals?
Responding to a story on the low vaccination, low-mask tendencies in Wyoming, the letter-writer calls the linkage to conservatism absurd. He also assails the statement that Wyoming residents resisting vaccines are being “fiercely independent.”
The story in question is a report from Gillette, Wyo., with a vaccination rate of 20 percent.
Fierce independence? Or herd behavior?
The latter, says the letter-writer. For one, just about all of these people had the vaccines that spared them polio, pertussis and more. So do their children, vaccinated prekindergarten, because Wyoming requires it.
The difference now for them? He cites two.
(1) “Browsing social media for evidence-free things people with no expertise say.”
(2) “The ironclad cult conformity of being on the Trump/MAGA/Q team.”
Throw in Fox News. That’s some triumvirate.
Sure, some Americans, regardless of political slant, were firmly anti-vax before this. But what explains today’s red-state, anti-vax, anti-mask phenomenon? The letter-writer nails it.
It’s not independence. It’s not conservatism. It’s pure arrogance, and recklessness.
It is traits modeled by the man who as a defeated president sought to blow up democracy in January.
South of Denver, in Republican-dominated Douglas County, these very traits are on display.
The high-income county has been identified by the CDC as a COVID high-spread community. Against the reasoned measures laid out to combat the disease, it also is a high-pitched-whine community. And we’re talking really high pitches – decibels generally audible to a select few, headed by Tucker Carlson and some Republican governors.
The county has withdrawn from a joint health district with two other counties. Now a newly contrived health district has revoked the school mask mandate of the previous health district, which was supported by its school district.
We’ve heard the song and dance before about the so-called oppression of masks and how they harm the young. I laugh about this when I see a 4-year-old sporting a SpongeBob mask and bounding up the aisle at the grocery store. So oppressed.
A mask opponent at the Douglas County hearing laid on a violin chorus: “learning cues, social-emotional cues, and developmental milestones missing.”
If keeping children safe in an unvaccinated setting isn’t enough, a school official offered this reason: “to keep the schools open uninterrupted.”
The mask foes say “severity should be the metric” for mask mandates and the virus doesn’t affect kids like it does adults. Tell that to the families of the 700-plus children who have died in this pandemic.
It’s true that most cases of COVID in children are mild by comparison. That is not the point. The point is that this is a disease that doesn’t show its face like the flu or chickenpox. It is not just about what the children might acquire but how the disease spreads.
That is why experts call it a pandemic.
More than 140,000 children in this country have lost a parent or grandparent to the virus.
Once upon a time, “conservative” meant “prudence.” Wild-eyed liberals were the ones who flaunted convention.
Where are so-called conservatives headed with their claims that masks and vaccination infringe on their freedom?
They are headed down Interstate 95 on Florida’s rightward coast, turning east toward Atlantic swells and setting anchor at the Mar-a-Lago Golf Club, where a cult leader plots his return with help from those who want to control the country and maybe the world.
They will disregard everything about his reckless reign, his corruption, his fomenting of an insurrection, his impeachable acts, his lies about the pandemic, about masks, about everything. They will disregard everything, because to them, he is the ideology. All else – even what health experts say — is “fake news.”
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.