March 5, 2021

Stevens County Times

Your spot for community news in Stevens County, Minnesota

Letter: Perplexed And Alarmed

I wish to thank, and commend, Reed Anfinson for the fine editorial of February 2nd entitled “Refusing Vaccination will Extend Pandemic.”

It was an excellent article, but it left me troubled, perplexed, and alarmed!

I am troubled because, reportedly, about 35% of rural Americans are refusing to get vaccinated. If a large (80%) segment of our population is not vaccinated, the virus will remain a serious danger.  More Minnesotans will continue to die from the virus; more local businesses will continue their downward spiral.

I am perplexed, because of the reasons given by local residents who are refusing to be vaccinated.  According to a few people interviewed by Mr. Anfinson, some said because 1) “Covid-19 is not real,” 2) “they are not worried about getting [the virus”]; and 3)“they don’t need it [the  vaccine.]

The belief  (and attitude) that Covid-19 is “not real” is troubling indeed!  How does a person reconcile that in the U.S. some 460,000 have died, which includes 6,000 Minnesotans.. (Closer to home in Stevens County, 715 people have suffered from the virus to some degree, and 8 beautiful souls would still be with us if it hadn’t been for this virus.

In light of the information from the Minnesota Department of Public Health website, how, on God’s earth, can anyone believe, or say, that the Covid-19 virus “is not real,”; “that they are not worried about getting it.” ?

And now for the really alarming (and scary) part!  First, why is it that the majority of the nay-sayers are political conservatives.  I have always thought of American conservatives as being very patriotic, very law-abiding, very successful in business.  But now, so many conservatives, nationally, are 1) coronavirus deniers, 2) climate change deniers, 3) Biden election victory deniers, and the list goes on.  (Thankfully, my observations do not apply to all Republicans.)

The implications of this are frightening, because I believe we are losing our ability to even govern ourselves.  Democracy has always involved a robust conflict of ideas and values.  But the resolution to such conflicts always comes down to the conservatives and liberals being well informed about the reality of the situation.  If one party or the other can no longer acknowledge the validity of verified information provided to them (by non-political scientists, medical professionals, economists, journalists, etc.,) then the very functioning of our government is in peril.  Our elected legislators need to use valid information to make good and just laws.  Just as importantly, we, as citizens who pledge our allegiance to the flag and to the Republic for which it stands, must also acknowledge the validity of “verified facts,” and respect and obey the laws by which our Nation is bound. (This includes following government-issued guidelines even mandates, in order to stop this pandemic.  Yes, this means wearing masks, social distancing, and, for periods of time, closing schools, some businesses, and recreational facilities.

Thus, I remain alarmed — much beyond the issue of the coronavirus pandemic!

Vern Simula

Morris