A contingent of anti-vaccine, anti-mask demonstrators were lined up on Seattle’s North 45th Street bridge over Interstate 5 a few days ago, waving protest signs and encouraging people to honk their horns to indicate support for their cause.
The honks were very rare, I am happy to report.
Most people in this city not only support wearing masks and getting shots to fight off the COVID-19 epidemic, they are also increasingly irritated by those who refuse to do either. Thanks to the ready availability of a near-miracle vaccine that is both highly effective and free of charge, Americans have the means to end the pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens, threatens our unvaccinated children and continues to disrupt our lives after a year-and-a-half. Yet, because of those who refuse to get vaccinated, we remain far from that attainable goal, caught in a continual round of new spikes in the infection rate.
The time for tolerating the selfish crybabies may be coming to an end. From the U.S. military to a rapidly rising number of private businesses, vaccine requirements are being instituted. In this state, Gov. Jay Inslee has put in place one of the toughest vaccine mandates in the country. Inslee has declared that employees at state agencies, schools and universities must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face termination, with few exceptions. Getting COVID shots will also be a condition of employment for hundreds of thousands of people working in nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
For a majority of us, getting the vaccine is a no-brainer: Do you want to keep yourself and those around you safe and healthy? Of course. But for those whose brains are filled with crazy ideas picked up out in the loonier reaches of the Internet or from Fox News charlatans or from politicians pandering to the conspiracy crowd, the only thing that might make them come to their senses is a bit of public shunning and the threat of losing employment.
Want to rant about lost freedom? Remember the old adage: your freedom to swing your arms ends at my nose. Or, in the current case, your freedom to do as you damn well please ends when it becomes a health threat to me and the people I love.
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