Stay Home If You’re Afraid

There’s a lot of talk these days about personal accountability. How much do we value the ability to make our own decisions? How should we weigh the options that seem right for us versus how they will impact those around us?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought these issues to the forefront of national (and worldwide) discourse. There are protests against vaccines and mask mandates. Public health recommendations have been widely ignored by a sizable portion of the country. The reason for this pushback against measures that can have real and measurable impacts on the spread of the virus are often summed up in one word: Freedom.

Here in America, we like to scream about how we’re the freest country in the world (even though we’re not) and use that idea to justify selfish and increasingly dangerous behavior.

“Fuck you, don’t tell me what to do,” has become a rallying cry for people pushing back against the vaccine that is readily available, proven safe, and free to all Americans.

Here’s a great example:

A man who was recently hospitalized from COVID-19 was asked if he would have taken the vaccine if he could go back in time before he got sick. His answer?

“No,” Roe responded.

“So, you’d have gone through this?” asked Begnaud.

“I’d have gone through this. Yes, sir. Don’t shove it down my throat. That’s what local, state, federal administration is trying to do,” Roe replied.

“What are they shoving, the science?” asked Begnaud.

“No, they’re shoving the fact that it’s their agenda. Their agenda is to get you vaccinated,” Roe said.

He went on to say the reason he won’t get the shot is that there are “too many issues with the vaccine.”

However, the vaccines are safe. There have been three deaths associated with blood clots from the J&J vaccine. There are currently 164 million people in the US that have been fully vaccinated.

That makes the death rate from the COVID vaccines in the US a whopping 0.0000018%

But still, even with this minuscule death rate, a large percentage of the unvaccinated cite the unreliability of the vaccine as the reason they refuse to get it.

But hey, you can’t discount somebody’s discomfort with subjecting themselves to a medical treatment they don’t fully understand. They’re afraid of the vaccine, and that’s fine. But if they’re not afraid of the vaccine and still choose not to get it, the only other reason we have is “Fuck you, don’t tell me what to do.”

As a longtime Rage Against the Machine listener, I totally understand that viewpoint. But pushing back against authority for the sake of pushing back against authority doesn’t make much sense when the authorities are simply trying to keep you safe.

It’s like hopping over a fence along the side of a cliff and splattering on the rocks below because you don’t like being told not to.

The recent riots in France are a result of the fact that the government has proposed a “health pass” that would require proof of vaccination from COVID-19 in order to visit restaurants, theaters, and other recreational establishments. Those that refuse to get the vaccine won’t be allowed entry.

So, they’re protesting.

The US has struggled with this idea. Vaccine passports have received condemnation from the right as an unacceptable trampling of our beloved personal freedom. We get to make the choices of what happens to our bodies. Not you. And I’ll be damned if that’s going to impact my ability to go to Burger King.

Many large companies have started requiring their employees to receive the vaccine and, you guessed it, people are pissed. Many employees want to retain their god-given right to refuse a painless treatment that will not only keep them from getting sick and dying, but potentially keep innocent bystanders from getting sick and dying.

There are large portions of the population that don’t want to receive the vaccine because they are afraid that it isn’t safe. They don’t want this personal decision to impact their daily lives. They want the freedom to live their lives as normally as they like whether or not the rest of the population agrees with them.

And here’s where the contradictions come in.

Let’s go back to 2020 for a moment. There is no vaccine fight because there are no vaccines. The main fight of the moment is whether or not people want to wear a painless mask that doesn’t impact your ability to draw breath and honestly you kinda forget about after a few minutes. But they don’t want to wear them because freedom.

A major refrain from people that didn’t want to wear masks and didn’t want to stop going to Burger King in large groups was, “If you’re afraid, just stay home.”

The idea was that anybody who took the virus seriously should just leave the rest of the population that wasn’t going to stop going to Kid Rock concerts alone. Your discomfort was not their problem.

Now let’s jump back forward to 2021. The people that avoided Burger King and Kid Rock concerts for the last year are now fully vaccinated. They’re ready to return to normal life. And if that so happens to include a need to provide proof of vaccination, all the better.

But now the people that wore mesh masks as an extra “fuck you” are saying that they shouldn’t be excluded just because they’re afraid to get the vaccine.

It’s time for all of the rational people to say to the unvaccinated:

“If you’re afraid, just stay home.”

For the record, I’m not discounting the people that haven’t gotten the vaccine because of another pre-existing medical condition that prohibits them from doing so — your reasons are valid.

But everybody else who wears a ”Don’t Fauci My Florida” shirt needs to take a moment to consider how their viewpoint has subtly shifted over the last year. You were out boot scootin’ boogeying all 2020 without a care in the world. Now the rest of us are ready to get back to normal life and we don’t want infected carriers increasing our chances of a breakthrough infection.

If you’re afraid of the vaccine, then don’t get one. However, you are going to have to suffer the consequences of that decision. Your freedom doesn’t allow you to infringe on the freedom of others. And those of us that have chosen the safe route of taking the vaccine don’t want to be put at risk because you believe Bill Gates put microchips in the vaccine or that it’s going to change your DNA.

I’m sorry if you really wanted to try the new Ch’King sandwich, but you’re going to have to prove that you are capable of critical thought, risk assessment, and the ability to think outside of your own stupid fucking bubble strictly informed by social vultures that prey on your fears while receiving the vaccination themselves in order to try one.

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