It’s been bandied about for quite a while now that perhaps the government should simply mandate vaccinations in one form or another. There are two sides of that argument that are both valid, and which side you land on depends on your philosophy about what it is to be a citizen of the United States. Whichever path we choose moving forward will result in some form of harm to one group or another, and in the end it will determine what kind of people we are going to be in the future.
Obviously, it makes a lot of logical sense to force people to take something that will slow or stop the spread of the virus so it stops being an issue and we can move on with our lives. I don’t think any reasonable person will deny that an effective vaccine is something we should all want to spread around as much as possible to make sure we have as much of a chance of being safe from it as possible. Forcing people to take the vaccine is probably the most efficient way to accomplish this, and I don’t think many people would disagree with that either.
However, the problem on the other side of this thought process is twofold: people don’t like to be coerced and the vaccine was obviously rushed beyond what is normally acceptable for development of medicinal technology. It typically takes several years to develop a vaccine for a new virus, if the standard processes are followed. There are many small steps that must be taken to minimize the damage caused to those who are participating in the study of the virus and of the various ingredients being used to combat it. It doesn’t take much to seriously harm a human being, and part of the ethics of medical research is grounded in taking time to avoid unnecessary harm.
The COVID-19 vaccine, however, was developed in less than a year, which makes it very difficult to trust. We have all seen the consequences of important things that ended up being rushed for one reason or another. Some of the worst disasters in history have been caused by people cutting corners to meet deadlines, and most of those were localized problems that affected a comparatively small number of people. This vaccine is being distributed on a global scale, and if something was missed in the mad rush to get something distributed, who knows how bad the consequences might be.
Of course, it doesn’t help that the government hasn’t given us any reason to place any faith at all in them. Contradictory statements combined with policies that are provably ineffective, many of which continued to be enforced long after it became apparent they were useless, has eroded our ability to trust anyone who says anything about the virus. For many of us, it’s far more reasonable to simply ignore what they say, avoid participating in the chaos, and go about our lives as normal. In the end, that’s all we really want anyway.
This is where we start to get to the place where conflict is starting to look inevitable. There is one side of the community who has wholeheartedly bought into the narrative that the vaccine is good and everyone should be partaking of it, while a significant portion of the population has very good reasons to be mistrustful of anything having to do with COVID-19. Now we have a growing demand to find ways to force people to participate, be it through preventing people from working or even going so far as to physically force people to comply.
The problem with this attitude is that you might get some people to lay down and suffer through such a thing, but there will be many who will fight back. No one wants a war, but when it comes to our individual agency, when backed into a corner many of us will choose to fight back, with lethal force if required, to avoid being forced to inject ourselves with a chemical for which we have no faith in. We have been given no reason to trust anything about this vaccine, and even though many of us don’t subscribe to the “anti-vax” philosophy as a whole, when it comes to this particular product we have good reason to be suspicious.
It is my hope that the people in government, as clueless as they might be, recognize the powder keg that is this coercion of people into taking the vaccine and are too fearful of the inevitable consequences to actually go through with such draconian measures. Unfortunately, we’ve seen over and over in recent decades that many people are blinded by the power they wield, refusing to learn from the past and believing in their own superiority. Everyone always believes they will do it better than those who came before, and it’s usually to the detriment of people who just want to live their lives in peace.
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