Jim Crawford: A message to anti-vaxxers
You know who you are and, right now, it is not fun to be you.
You do not wear a mask anymore, even though that was to be the convention we agreed upon for those unable or unwilling to be vaccinated for COVID-19.
You do not want to be asked if you are vaccinated, because while you prefer not to lie in response, you have found that the truth is often met with distaste, disgust or outright indignation.
It must seem so unfair for your personal choice, your personal freedom, to be dismissed so easily by others, the vaccinated.
Well, it is time someone stood up for you, and your support comes from a source many Republican anti-vaxxers might normally refute. But, given the difficulty in finding any support for your refusal to protect all of us from variations in COVID, risks only reduced when a population is fully vaccinated, you should welcome support from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and embrace it.
You may already be reading the handwriting on the wall here in the U.S., particularly California and New York City, and across Europe (think France right now), about vaccination passports.
That trend is real and spreading. A second trend, employers requiring vaccination to work, is also thriving.
Neither of these growing trends favors your position, and both may soon impact you personally.
The ACLU does not so much adopt your arguments on this issue as it argues, lacking safeguards, there could be privacy issues with what we all suspect is coming — national and international vaccine passports.
Their concerns also recognize that the passports need to be digital or paper, so the folks lacking smartphones can still participate in society. Additionally, the ACLU argues that there should be no national database of the vaccinated because of privacy rights. And they are pretty much your only supporters.
The 170 million vaccinated know you have reasons for refusing the vaccine. They also know those reasons, weighted against the importance of herd immunity lost because of your selfishness, are an example of personal freedom that should end where it can kill the rest of us.
That is why the vaccinated are angry, and your arguing that the vaccines are unproven as safe, that it is a government conspiracy or that Trump loyalty requires you not get vaccinated (as reported in Missouri recently), just does not change the truth that those reasons are simply not good enough.
What you may not realize yet is that it is likely that within a few months you will not be able to board a plane, a cruise ship, attend a concert, ride a bus, board a train, dine inside a restaurant or attend a sporting event.
You may not be able to attend a university, work at a hospital or a nursing home. Your employer may terminate you for being unvaccinated and a risk to his/her business and customers.
Ultimately, there will be a price to pay for refusing to be vaccinated, and you will know that price.
You will retain your freedom, no one can make you put something in your body that you do not want. No one will ever force you to be vaccinated, it will always be your choice.
But some choices are expensive. This may well be one of the expensive varieties.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator, political enthusiast and award-winning columnist living here in the Tri-State.
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