OPINION

On anti-vaxxers, climate change, and...Chris Stapleton?

Mike Christopherson
Mike Christopherson

Well, I’m down to two columns before my time at the Crookston Times comes to an end, so for my penultimate installment, let’s take one last voyage to the Land of Random Topics. I don’t want to leave any of them stranded there, like those poor souls stuck on the Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

    • Less than half of Polk County residents are fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. That’s ridiculous and embarrassing. That’s basically the story across the entire United States, with around half of the population refusing to be vaccinated for a variety of reasons, ranging from a computer chip being injected with the virus, to a show of support for Donald Trump and Q’Anon, to the vaccine altering your DNA, and blah, blah, blah.

    Those who refuse to get vaccinated say that those who have been vaccinated shouldn’t care whether they get the shots or not. We’re protected from COVID-19, they say, which means we’re protected from them even if they are stricken with the virus. So we should just let them be, and if they get sick it’s their problem, not ours. Let us not forget, though, that the unvaccinated continuing to get sick and circulate this virus is also the problem of the health care workers who must treat them, and our health care system as a whole that faces the burden of responding to and supporting their willful ignorance.

    Their reasoning, no matter the logic that’s driving it, is a crock. It’s not about me. It’s not about you. It’s about us. It’s about everyone, and it’s about dramatically reducing everyone’s risk of getting COVID-19 by getting a couple of quick, simple pokes in your arm.

    But we’re supposed to be nice and respectful to the anti-vaxxers. The apparent word on the street is that the more pro-vaxxers try to explain to them that the vaccine is safe and effective and that they need to get it for the greater good, the more they feel like they’re being lectured to and belittled. Oh, so you’re not only selfish, you’re childish, too.

    A guy on Twitter I think said it best when he noted that if what is currently transpiring in this country in regard to COVID-19 and the vaccine was the basis of a movie we were watching on TV and the plot involved heroic efforts to produce in record time a safe, effective vaccine against a nasty virus, and yet half the population refused to get vaccinated, we’d turn the channel halfway through, concluding that the movie is too colossally stupid to watch any further.

    • This super-hot, super-dry summer is certainly one for the books, and we’re all talking about it. But let’s flip the narrative. Full disclosure: This isn’t my brainchild. A woman who has been engaging in many casual conversations about this summer’s record heat and historic lack of rain brought up the subject the other day to her dad, a climatologist, and, she wrote in an online article, this is what he told her:    

    Stop looking at this summer as being the “hottest one ever,” he said, think of it instead as being the “coolest summer you’ll ever experience again.”

    The daughter wrote that she’s been having a hard time sleeping ever since.

    • This might amount to breaking news for a lot of you, but I can be pretty snarky sometimes. Obnoxious, even. Case in point, when I’m with various friends and the setting includes music playing in the background, over the past few years whenever someone has voiced their adoration of critically acclaimed country singer Chris Stapleton, I’ve always been counted on to chime in with something like, “Oh, let me guess, you love Tennessee Whisky.”

    Tennessee Whisky is Stapleton’s first big hit that really put him on the map. Cranking up my snark meter, I’ve often then asked the self-proclaimed Stapleton fans to name one more song by Stapleton. More often than not, they haven’t been able to do so. That in my mind has somehow validated my challenging of their apparent Stapleton fandom vs. their actual Stapleton knowledge, but, in all seriousness, wouldn’t it be a lot easier for me, and wouldn’t it make the world a better place, if I’d just keep my mouth shut and leave people alone sometimes? After all, they say, it’s nice to be nice to the nice.

    And then there’s this: Last Saturday night, as my wife sat in the back porch enjoying some music, she played Tennessee Whisky from one of her playlists on our Bluetooth speaker, and I committed myself to giving the entire song my undivided attention. My verdict is that it’s a fantastic song, which means I, too, love Chris Stapleton. (And, yes, I can name another Stapleton song title. Let’s go with “Cold.” Just don’t ask me to produce a third.)