A tremendous amount of debate is apparent around the convergence of two themes I’ve posted about recently on this blog: “Divided We Fall May Be COVID’s Underlying Purpose” and “Revolution Needed, So Our Corporate Overlords Are Fanning The Flames For Civil War.“
Just yesterday I saw this post from a friend on Facebook:
He was making reference to the many people posting sentiments like “Let the unvaccinated die at home rather than taking up an ICU bed when they catch COVID.” Besides the creepy tone of wishing death on others, my first thought was that it would include all children under 12. Wow.
The same source shared an excellent article on medical ethics by Dr. Jay Baruch: “It’s easy to judge the unvaccinated. As a doctor, I see a better alternative.“
Dr. Baruch points out that when people ask him how he can provide care to a COVID patient who is unvaccinated, it’s analogous to asking how he could treat a drunk driver for injuries, or a burn victim who lit a cigarette while on oxygen for emphysema.
But nearly every COVID response has been politicized to the nth degree in order to drive us ever further from common ground.
Whether to mask, whether to vax, whether to distance, or open schools, or mandate public health measures in public places like schools — all are subject to hysterical name calling aimed at opponents and coming from both sides of any of these issues.
I’ll stop with the examples now. Compiling them all would require several websites.
My friend Pat Taub who has a background in group facilitation wrote a letter to the editor that was published this week by Maine’s biggest daily paper: “Creating listening circles to heal our divisions.” An excerpt:
I wish the media would stop reporting on the deepening clashes between the vaccinated and the anti-vaccinated as if it were a fait accompli, rather than suggesting ways to heal this division.
The vaccinated look down on the unvaccinated as irresponsible because they fail to consider that being unvaccinated means, if they get COVID, that they also can infect others and spread the virus. The unvaccinated feel that government-mandated vaccinations are an infringement on their personal freedom. Others opposed don’t trust the vaccines or believe in their efficacy.
These divisions, which are becoming increasingly violent, are distracting us from coming together to build strong communities. We are lacking in mutual understanding.
To bridge this gap, I suggest local listening projects, where individuals representing opposing views meet in a supportive environment led by a moderator experienced in communication skills. Schools, churches, synagogues and libraries are logical settings. The listening groups would be composed of pro-vaccination and anti-vaccination volunteers.
Seven of the eight comments on her letter expressed contempt for the idea of listening to the other side. Only one affirmed her diagnosis while suggesting an alternative cure:
Meanwhile, teachers and college instructors heading back to the classroom right now are sounding a note of desperation about keeping themselves and their families safe in the face of the highly infectious Delta variant.
An example from Dalton State College in Georgia:
I just retired from teaching and I’m about to turn down two invitations to volunteer because the part of Maine I live in isn’t all that different from Georgia. With an older husband who already has respiratory issues, it’s not a gamble I feel like I can take to be indoors among unvaxxed or unmasked adults.
I’m disappointed in people’s choices, but I’m going to keep listening.
I’m not going to wish them dead.