What the Politicizing of COVID Has Done

I just lost another friend to COVID, this time, a 69-year-old father and grandfather, an elder in my home congregation, as faithful a Christian man as you will find. He joins the list of other friends and colleagues in the States who have died in the last year from COVID-related complications, along with an even longer list of loved ones and colleagues of some of my very close friends in India.

At the same time, the extreme politicizing of COVID makes it difficult (if not almost impossible) to know who to trust when it comes to preventing the spread of the disease. This is a terrible shame.

Personally, as much as I dislike wearing a mask, especially on long flights, I would wear one the rest of my life in public if I knew by doing so I was saving other people’s lives. With joy.

When it comes to being vaccinated, if I was sure the vaccine had no long-term side-effects or dangers, I would get vaccinated every month if I knew I was helping to protect my family, my co-workers, and even strangers whom I met. (And yes, I’d gladly to do it every month if I knew it would protect me as well.)

The problem is that I’m not sure about any of this, and not simply because of the many conflicting reports.

It’s that things have become so politicized to the point that, depending on what news network you watch, you’ll have differing views about: 1) the origins of the virus; 2) the threat of the virus; 3) the merits (or demerits) of lockdowns; 4) the safety (or danger) and efficacy (or worthlessness) of the vaccines; 5) the proper role of the government; 6) the best course moving forward, especially for our children.

That’s why I say that this is a terrible shame. At times like this, we must do better. But will we? I’m not holding my breath (no insensitive pun intended).

Is Big Pharma just in this for money? Is Dr. Fauci a devil or a saint? Is the WHO in bed with China? Can the CDC make up its mind? Should I believe CNN or Fox (or neither)? Are the feds trying to save our lives or take control of our lives? And on and on it goes.

Except now, this is not just a question of true news or fake news. This is a question of what decisions we should make as individuals, decisions which could affect our own lives and the lives of others. This is anything but a game.

A friend in New York just wrote to me, saying, “I know about 6 people who got COVID after the vaccine.  I also know about 4 people who got some very strange, serious symptoms after the 2nd shot. My sister was extremely tired for weeks. A 29 year old young man, who is supposed to get married next week, was taken to the hospital two days after the second shot. His vision was very blurry, so dizzy that he couldn’t stand up and extremely tired. He was in the hospital two weeks. They don’t know what is wrong with him. Sent him home. We’re praying for a miracle.  I know others too.”

Yet a comment like this might well get censored if posted on social media, allegedly spreading misinformation about the vaccine. How can this be right?

At the same time, a colleague with a Ph.D. in chemistry has been posting articles in which he claims to debunk concerns about the vaccines, extolling their efficacy and challenging the views of those who are still not vaccinated.

Who, then, should I believe, the friend with a list of personal anecdotes (which are then added to countless scores of similar reports)? Or the academic colleague offering careful scientific research?

These days, even this question cannot be asked in a dispassionate way, since any source I turn to, be it online, in print, or on TV, seems to have a political bias as well. Who will fact check the fact checkers?

When people press me for my own views on the vaccine, my answer is always the same: do the research for yourself and make an informed decision, all the more so if it involves your children.

I am not qualified to say anything beyond that, nor should anyone really care about my opinion in this case because of my lack of qualifications.

Unfortunately, I can’t point people with confidence to a particular news source (or even online source of information) without wondering how much political or philosophical bias has colored the research and the reporting.

And this leads to the obvious question: how do we fix this problem?

Candidly, I do not know. And so, rather than end this article with my normal word of encouragement or challenge or call to action, I end here with a question. What would you propose? How do we move beyond the political gamesmanship and concentrate on our national health and safety?

M. Brown

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

2 thoughts on “What the Politicizing of COVID Has Done

  1. Great post! I agree with all of it. All of the information is overwhelming and you don’t know where to turn. I’ve been praying the decision I’ve made for myself is right and continue to pray asking for guidance on what I should do.

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  2. Just think about it this way: most of the people who say it doesn’t exist or are so busy pointing fingers they’re not focusing have ultimately gotten it. The people who have taken precautions have also gotten it. It is not a political thing, nor should it ever have been. It’s not this country or that country’s fault. It’s here and it has to be dealt with. Catastrophic loss of life while the focus is on everything but getting proper medical assistance is absolutely barbaric. The people I know in India would give their left arm for a vaccine and walk around with masks and are terrified of this disease and rightfully so. I don’t care where it originated. That’s not the point. The point is, people are getting sick everywhere, and everyone is at risk.Everyone has a covid related story – I have several.

    My cousin’s didn’t take it seriously either. They went on vacation and got it. They didn’t believe they had it and gave it to their 21 year old daughter who ended up on oxygen – they thought for the rest of her life, which they deemed to be short. She did not test positive for COVID. They didn’t know what it was. She was in the ER, and a pediatrician happened to be there too because of a child that was brought in. He took one look at her chart and asked if she had childhood diabetes. The answer was yes. He said it’s covid, they said it wasn’t. He asked if he could give her the same treatment as the children and the parents agreed. She’s off the oxygen. Her parents have learned nothing. They are still out and about knowing those they are with were in contact with covid, but they won’t admit that they gave it to her. She lives with them and is in school. She now wears a mask in her own home. She hasn’t been reinfected. Her parents won’t get the vaccine because Covid isn’t real (even though they both had it but not extremely severely, AND tested positive) and their daughter had it. She’s counting down the days until they OK her for it – she still has too many residual effects. I hope she gets it soon.

    My entire immediate family has gotten both shots. I still wear my mask as do they when we’re out and about or dealing with people at work (although some people get angry I’m wearing a mask at work or even in the store because it’s not real – that’s fine, I don’t believe it’s fake, don’t touch me or my mask!) We did not know it, but another cousin had it – they hadn’t started showing signs until the next day, We were all around this person – none of us got COVID, but my cousin did. Worked in a COVID unit and didn’t believe it was real. Gave it to all of her children and her husband. They all survived because she recognized the symptoms and had them go to the hospital – because of something that didn’t exist. We didn’t get it.

    The vaccine won’t work for everything, but even if it’s a little bit – I’m happy knowing I have it. And I will go for whatever boosters they deem necessary. If I go to another country, I get the vaccines they say I need to go to those countries. I don’t see why it’s any different. There’s a disease that we cannot fight but a vaccine can help. Get the vaccine. And keep your mask on, for yourself and others.

    And forget the news. They deal only in fear at this point. Medical professionals are administering this vaccine, not some guy on the corner. The states are backing it and making centers for it to happen. Pharmacies are offering it. Some people have gotten Covid after the shot, but the majority don’t. Just like when you get the flu vaccine there is a percentage of people who will get the flu because of it (I am one of those people). But if me having the vaccine keeps my 2 year old nephew and 1 year old niece safe, even for an extra week, then it was totally worth it. Make the decision for yourself. Don’t let fear sway you. What you think is right, is right for you. Just make sure to respect those that don’t agree with you. And whatever you decide to do, please stay safe.

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