One critical lesson that I have learned in my life is to listen more and talk less. I realized this many years ago as I listened to people tell their stories when I was involved in law-enforcement investigations. I realized early that if I listened more and allowed people to talk, they would tell me whatever I needed to know.
I also learned that if you really want to get to the truth, you must allow people to explain their side of the story, and if you do, you will walk away with a good idea if they are lying.
After all, it is good to listen, even a broken clock is right twice each day, so there is that.
I said the foregone to speak a little on a subject that I have no training or expertise on.….… the subject of vaccines.
Across the globe, countries are going through varying stages of the COVID-19 virus and its variants.
Like pretty much all of the other countries, the United States, my adopted home, and Jamaica, my country of birth, are experiencing their own problems with curbing the virus.
Two of the issues that have seriously impacted how citizens treat the warnings from the experts in the United States have been (a) politicization by the Donald Trump régime & (b) mistrust of vaccines by certain population segments.
Trump believed that if he downplayed the danger the virus posed, he would be able to fool the populace, and he would cruise to reelection victory in 2020. It did not turn out that way, and as a result, over half a million people died, many arguably who would not have died had he done due diligence to inform the country about the dangers of the deadly virus.
Donald Trump’s lies caused his supporters, more than a third of the population, not to take the distancing and mask recommendations seriously. In addition to that, he held mass rallies geared at his reelection that experts said were superspreader events.
There are now several vaccines on the market; the Biden administration promised that in his first one hundred days in office, 100 million people would be vaccinated due to his one million per day pledge.
But with a nation of 330 million and a huge swath of the population leary of vaccines, how will the new president accomplish that goal?
New data show that a majority of white men say they will not accept the vaccine. If the men aren’t willing to take the vaccine, it is probably fair to assume that a large percentage of the women in their lives will also refuse to take the vaccine.
For some white men, the reason for their refusal to accept the vaccine may be their free-spirit and a refusal to conform to anything that has a hint of a government mandate. Others may be refusing to take the vaccine on religious grounds.
Then there is the African-American community, roughly 40 million people that the American Government has burned at different stages with vaccines and treatments designed to destroy them.
How will this 40 million come around to trusting a government that has done so much harm to them?
One of the strongest arguments that the anti-vax crowd has in its arsenal is that the government has never allowed a tragedy to go un-exploited.
I suppose that if you do not believe that, you are not paying attention. After the September 11h 2001 attacks, George Bush and his cronies gave us the Patriot Act, a law which all but took away what little freedoms we had left — — This was done under the guise of keeping us safe.
A recent Pew Research Center survey found that only 72% of Americans would probably or definitely get a coronavirus vaccine if it were available. And that figure is even lower among Black Americans, at 54%.
Writing for quartz Olivia Goodhill said the following; Meanwhile, the same US Public Health Service was conducting the infamous Tuskegee Study. As part of a purported study on syphilis, Black men in Alabama were lied to, denied treatment, and left to die. “If Black people were suspicious of the polio vaccine, it’s because eugenics was still happening in this country at the time,” says Terence Keel, professor at UCLA’s Institute for Society & Genetics and department of African American studies. Forced or coerced sterilizations of poor, Black women were so common they were known as “Mississippi appendectomies.
Medical racism is still prevalent today. Black and Latino people have been killed by coronavirus at disproportionately high rates across the US. And racial disparities are evident across the medical field as a whole: Death rates from breast cancer are 40% higher among Black women than white women, for example, while Black mothers die in childbirth at three to four times the rate of white women.
As we ponder these facts, it becomes even more imperative that we recognize how important it is that every person is allowed the time and space to make their own decision about taking the vaccine, even as we are cognizant of the implications of non-action.
Many people, including those on the right, are extremely wary of the government’s propensity to overreach.
People want to be able to make that decision for themselves without government mandates. As I said before, even a broken clock is right twice each day.
Many Trump supporters are the worst messengers to be conveying the message that soon we will not be allowed on airplanes and in restaurants or government buildings or anywhere else for that matter, unless we can all produce a CODID ‑Passport.
But are they wrong?
So you have never heard of a covid-passport? This is a term already being bandied about in European capitals, so make sure that you satisfy those requirements before you decide to book your European vacation.
Jamaicans are probably one of the few nations of blacks that cannot be accused of not reading. Well, let me rephrase that. Not all of us are voracious readers, but we are all voracious consumers and disseminators of information.
It follows, therefore, that people in Jamaica would have strong opinions on the use of vaccines based on their own perceptions of what happened to American Blacks at the hands of their own government through the use of vaccines.
Every individual will have to choose whether they want to accept a vaccine hoping that they will be inoculated against a potentially deadly virus without knowing the potential long-term consequences to their health or hope that they will not get the virus.
Some believe the virus was created so that people could be forced to take a vaccine with elements that give the government control of their lives.
The idea that governments are considering limiting people’s movements unless they have a COVID-Passport adds fuel to that fire.
People of faith adamantly believe they are living the prophecy of the Bible; in Revelation 13:17, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark — the name of the beast or the number of its name.
Since no one is forcing those who are willing and accepting of what the vaccine has to offer not to take it, shouldn’t those who think otherwise be afforded the same respect?
Even if you believe they are yahoos who are far too unintelligent to be reasoned with, don’t you believe they have a right to their beliefs?
I do !!!
Mike Beckles is a former Police Detective, businessman, freelance writer, black achiever honoree, and creator of the blog mikebeckles.com.