injection (n): something that is inserted into something else, such as a method of administering a vaccine with an injection; or, a method of distributing public funds to stimulate economic activity.
Spoiler Alert, we will cut to the case: Tuesday, after work, we received the first of two injections of the coronavirus vaccine!
As health care workers, granted in a support role of those caring directly for patients with Covid-19 in the hospital, we were offered the opportunity to receive the vaccine. We had the option to opt-out if we chose. We will continue to follow Covid-19 precautions. Getting vaccinated is not a hall pass to do as we please. Hundreds of millions of folks in the USA, and billions around the world do not yet have the options we have.
The same day Congress passed another stimulus package to send the President’s desk. I will not rehash the past half year to wrangling, posturing, back-room-dealing, or Twitter-storming; nor, dissect the feel-good-to-some-special-interest-group amendments that it took to secure votes. Politics as usual.
What is on my mind is the concept of liberty. For some years, I have been observing that any time “the government” (usually vaguely defined) promotes something, those who most loudly proclaim liberty refuse whatever simply because the government offered or required it.
Prior to the first round of coronavirus vaccine becoming available a week ago, about 40% of those polled said they would get it. A week later, those polled now is about 60%. That suggests that 40% of us and our neighbors will opt out. I speculate they will claim they are asserting their liberty. I would speculate that they are the same group who refuses to wear masks, wants to go to the store/restaurant/bar/sporting event/church at will, etc. all in the name of liberty. Would getting vaccinated be more acceptable if the pharmaceutical company made it, insurance paid for it, or someone could pay directly, without the government weighing in on the decision?
I do not spell “L I B E R T Y”: “S T U P I D” nor “S E L F I S H”.
Part of the road-block on the federal stimulus bill seems to be also around concepts of liberty. Democrats have advocated that individual citizens should receive assistance through unfettered additional unemployment benefits, to use for whatever financial priorities they chose. Similar ideas that individual should have the liberty to spend the money revolved around another possible lump-sum payment to all tax payers (like the $1200 payment earlier in the year). Again the idea was individuals can make decisions about how to spend the funds, which would go into the economy thereby helping businesses, utilities, etc.
Republicans have argued that giving money to individuals does not assure that it will be spent wisely. (When the first stimulus check came out the first purchase that I heard someone make was for a slip-and-slide for herself and her boyfriend to have fun this summer… sort of seemed like a good metaphor for how people would be stimulating the economy if left to their own liberty of choice). Republicans argued that the stimulus money should go directly to businesses, who seemed to be better positioned to make wise choices… like the tax breaks a couple of years ago which they used to buy back stock which jacked up the stock market so that the CEO’s and board members who got stock options could cash out on the high selling market?
Okay, cynicism aside, this all begs the question of whether people can actually use liberty wisely. If you have read the Hebrew prophets recently, you probably will bow and shake your head.
We will see how the American Experiment of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness progresses.