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Face Masks? Vaccine?

I’m reluctantly crawling back into my cozy cave of isolation since many fellow earth dwellers are either unwilling or unable to roll up their sleeves and get the Covid vaccine.

I understand why people in parts of the world are not vaccinated: they don’t have access to this life saving drug. But those who can get the tiny prick in their arms and choose not to leave me mystified. 

Actually, my emotions run more toward anger than bewilderment. I hear the argument we should be free to make our own decisions about what goes into our bodies. I get that. However, as a friend said recently, freedom doesn’t mean getting everything you want. Freedom comes with obligations, and those obligations are living in a society where there are rules that keep us all safe.

For instance, we are obligated to stop at stop signs and red lights for the good of all ,including yourself. There are rules about parking, seatbelts, helmet usage, children’s inoculation before coming to schools, because living in a free society requires us to not endanger other citizens in order to get our way. 

So where do my rights start and yours end, or vice versa? How do we shield ourselves and others while exercising our individual freedoms? And when do individual rights outweigh the rights of others?

These are tricky questions with varying and heated answers. Apparently appealing to the ‘goodness’ of people or their ‘caring for their neighbors’ approaches aren’t convincing those dedicated anti-vaccine believers to expose themselves to a needle stab. 

And that is what I don’t comprehend. People are dying, and yet, some of us don’t seem to care, or at least don’t care enough to get a shot with the hope it will help everyone stay well and alive.

I’m attempting to take the politics out of the equation, while knowing that may be an impossibility. But if we clear away the red versus blue, or the right vs left, I have to ask, do I have an obligation to help protect others? And do I have a right to expect others to help protect me? 

I heard a mother say at a school board meeting, “My child hasn’t seen her teacher’s smile because it is hidden behind a mask,” as though a teacher’s smile was a requirement for her child’s education. 

Honestly, I never knew a facial expression was part of the criteria spelled out in a hiring manual. I can’t imagine any company or organization demanding an applicant to smile in order to be employed. If so, my junior high school math instructor Mr. Dumas would never have entered a classroom. And my senior year English teacher would not have brightened any hallways with her serious, uncompromising stare as she explained the flaws in my poorly written essays. 

To wear a mask or not? To get vaccinated or not? To save a life or not? Do we care for others or not? What’s the cost and consequences, emotionally, economically, physically, spiritually, of our decisions? 

Only you can answer those questions, if you bother to ask. 

An ‘I’ or ‘me only’ society does not long exist as a free civilization. We must focus on what is good for the greater ‘we’, honoring those who want to exist as free individuals while accepting obligations that come with freedom.

17 thoughts on “Face Masks? Vaccine?

    1. My niece’s school board in Utah just voted down the mask mandate after one teacher made an impassioned speech about how “masks interfere with children’s cognitive development.” She didn’t even crack a smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You have just stated my thoughts exactly. I heard this morning that a man I knew and worked with on a fund raising campaign in the town where I lived until last fall died this morning of Covid. He was not vaccinated, and he traveled halfway across the country recently for a family reunion – his choice, but how many others have been infected because of his choice? I am sorry he paid the full price for his choice, but that sympathy is muted because his choice was, in my view, a very selfish one. His wife also has Covid, but is not in the hospital and is improving, I’m told. Hopefully she’ll now jump on the “get vaccinated” bandwagon.

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    1. I swing from sympathy to sadness to anger and back when I hear of people dying from this awful pandemic. I want to shake them and say get the damn shot. But, alas, my yelling and urging seldom results in changed attitudes.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Wanderings of an Elusive Mind and commented:
    In this blog, Margo expresses my views very eloquently and precisely. When will we stop being such a selfish society? Will we ever stop being such a selfish society? It is hard to feel much sympathy for those who get infected by Covid because they didn’t choose to get vaccinated, endangering others for their perception of “freedom”.

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  3. I was wondering where the science was going to come into your well thought piece?
    I am a stop at Stop signs person too BUT I proceed after I’ve looked for those who might not. Personal safety is always a personal responsibility and those who indignantly proceed through the intersection because they’ve done their part and followed the rules, without looking, must think our world is a perfect and safe place. Your assumptions are virtuous to the point of condescension, (as well as, scientifically unsound) but you’re not alone and absolutely free to assert them. 😉

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    1. Susan, I’m not certain what you mean by ‘the science’ of my blog, and certainly didn’t mean it to be condescending. I’m for each individual seeking out accurate scientific information about the various vaccines and benefits of mask wearing, but I do think as members of a society we are obligated to consider and abide by rules/laws/mandates that promote the health and safety of others. Of course people will break those rules, run stop signs, ignore speed limits, etc., but if caught they are held accountable.
      I’m glad to get your response to my post.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank-you. You’re most gracious.
        The scientific information that people who don’t get vaccinated are driving the variants and increasing the spread, are wrong if not purposely,

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      2. Sorry… my phone posted my comment prematurely. I’ll briefly continue.
        The vaccinated are creating the variants by addressing a narrow focused single protein. The virus is mutating to avoid being interrupted. Those who are being exposed and contracting the virus (which has weakened in its lethal ability) are actually the good guys. Our own immune systems provide a vastly wider protection and shut the virus down. The CDC is using data they obtained before most people even got vaccinated. They have no numbers they’re willing to release since June. They’re mantra that this is an epidemic of unvaccinated is a lie just to make virtue signaling folks blame everyone else. Still, safety is, and always will be, in a Free country, a personal not societal responsibility. Thanks for listening. Stay safe.

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  4. I agree with everything you said about vaccinations masks and choices. It shouldn’t be a personal choice, it should be mandatory.

    Most of my family are in education, either managing or teaching, as was I.
    Thankfully, School staff have changed a lot since we were youngsters. We no longer have miserable stern faced teachers who frightened the life out of us.

    Today the teacher training is first class. Job Interviews include being observed when teaching trial lessons; schools seek out the teachers who know how to get the best from their students; teachers who smile, encourage and interact with their students in the way our teachers never did. The old fashioned ways of teaching died a death some time ago and thank heavens for that.

    Facial expressions along with smiles convey much and it works both ways. Children are supposed to ask questions and are allowed to say when they don’t understand, and teachers are expected to be patient and are actively encouraged to smile.

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    1. Sue, I understand that softer, more approachable mannerisms may be beneficial in getting children to learn, question, explore. At the same time, I think to mandate teachers can’t wear because their full faces can’t be seen is worth getting or spreading the virus. Every individual has the right to make a decision, but I believe we do have an obligation to do right by and to others. Thanks for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry Margo, I was referring to standards under normal circumstances not during these strange times we find ourselves.

        I didn’t realise teachers weren’t allowed to wear masks in the US and Mexico, how awful.

        Over here, high school staff and students were told to wear masks and all are tested every couple of days or so.

        It hasn’t been as strict for those working in primary schools, though the staff are tested every couple of days.

        For those children under eleven years old mask-wearing is a choice. Many of their teachers have opted to wear face shields in class and masks when in the company of other adults.

        School has finished for the summer and the UK restrictions have recently been lifted, mask-wearing us now a personal choice.

        From what I’ve seen mask-wearing continues with the majority of the general public.

        Liked by 1 person

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