By Johnny Trlica
Commentary: All too often people stay in their own little bubble, rarely venturing out to see what’s happening beyond their own comfort zone. Fox News viewers never change the channel to get a different opinion, Whataburger lovers won’t be caught dead at an In-N-Out and gay men will not frequent a bar that doesn’t have a rainbow flag flying outside. (That one, I get!)
We as a society, have become tribal, so entrenched in our thoughts and ways that stepping away from them is frightening. Our own opinion is the only one that matters.
Periodically I venture away from the LGBTQ stratosphere to see what the rest of the world is up to. I recently had a Letter to the Editor published in the Galveston Daily News, the oldest newspaper in Texas. It addressed my theory that polls showing Republican’s reluctance to take the COVID-19 vaccine are political.
Most of the people in my circle of friends couldn’t wait to get the vaccine and proudly show their vaccination cards or an image of themselves getting their shot. Replies to my letter to the editor reveal a different mindset.
The Daily News reported all Texans 16 and older are eligible for vaccination next week (“Virtually all Texans will be eligible for vaccines on Monday,” The Daily News, March 24). The day before, the newspaper reported half of Galveston County residents aged 16 or older has received at least one COVID-19 shot (“Half of Galveston County residents have received a vaccination,” The Daily News, March 23).
While that sounds like good news, one must wonder if we’ve reached an impasse. A recent poll from NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist found that 47 percent of people who supported former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election say they will not be vaccinated.
Even though their leader received a vaccine, albeit in private, is the Republican game plan to sabotage President Biden’s vaccine effort?
Republicans have become so brainwashed from decades of right-wing pundits demonizing Democrats that they’re willing to sacrifice themselves and their loved ones to make Biden’s vaccination rollout fail.
This is the same group of people who politicized the wearing of masks, supported the insurrection in January, and have chosen sides with Russia’s Putin over their own president. And to this day, they refuse health care because a Democratic president created it.
Republicans have spent a year complaining about lockdowns and losing their freedoms; now with a chance for a return to normalcy, they balk.
Responses to this letter predictably went along party lines. Conservatives and Trumpers clutched their pearls while ranting about freedom, conspiracies, and praising Trump.
Carlos wrote, “Sorry, it has NOTHING to do with Trump. It has to do with FREEDOM. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate is their choice. President Trump was vaccinated in January and he has urged others to do likewise. With herd immunity do we have to have 100% vaccinated? The SCIENCE says NO.”
Robert chimed in with, “Herein lies the difference between Democrats and Republicans. Your Democrat is a group-think mind-numb robot who does whatever the herd does. If the herd wants to run headlong over a cliff to certain death, they will join the stampede.
Republicans, on the other hand, use their God-given intellect to analyze information and make the best decision they can regardless of what the herd is doing. If the herd wants to stampede over a cliff they will stand aside and allow them to do so unimpeded.
All these vaccines are experimental and the side effects are unknown.”
Charles came in with, “It is baffling that a member of the LEFT would dare (grab pearls now) ask a question like, ‘Why would Republicans try to sabotage the vaccine effort!’ The reason is if it were not for GOD, working through President Donald J. Trump, there would be no vaccine period! The ‘PARTY OF SLAVERY’ never gives up on deceit, deception, and duplicity! They are forever seeking to pull the proverbial WOOL OVER SOMEBODY’S EYES!”
From the voices of reason came Maris with, “Thank you so much for writing this letter. Yes, it is such a disgrace that Republican citizens are putting partisanship and political power before ‘normalcy’ and the good of our country and its people. Boggles my mind and hurts my heart. What happened to decency, character, and true patriotism, i.e., placing the ‘common good’ over person and party?”’
Our nation is so polarized that people will refuse life-saving measures like wearing a mask or taking an FDA-approved vaccine. That’s their choice and unfortunately, they will live or die with the consequences.
Vaccines truly are the light at the end of the tunnel and our best hope for a return to normalcy. Now that all Texas adults are eligible to be vaccinated, make your appointment, and let’s leave this nightmare behind.