As a young boy growing up in Brooklyn months after World War II had ended, I can still see the blue light bulb in the bathroom of our apartment. If my memory is correct after all these decades, my parents said that this low wattage bulb was used with blackout curtains to prevent German submarines from silhouetting ships to torpedo. Up until light restrictions became mandatory along the entire east coast, the submarines had a field day sinking U.S. and other allied merchant ships.

If history records any significant dissent to the mandatory blackouts, I have never read it. In fact, I never read about any dissent concerning it despite the certainty that some people weren’t happy about it. Yet that unhappiness didn’t carry over to ignoring what sane people understood to be a necessary safety precaution for the greater good.

Debate will continue beyond my lifetime about how much former president Donald Trump had to do with the expeditious development and production of the two major vaccines to combat the coronavirus. At this point, while we are fighting a new variant of the virus, does it really matter? Let the historians and academics duke it out in the decades to come, and let medical science and those in positions of power work together to educate people on the importance of getting vaccinated.

What is so puzzling are the people who denounce President Joe Biden’s efforts to get everyone vaccinated. They believe Trump should be given the credit for the success of Operation Warp Speed, the name given to Trump’s project. Yet at the same time the same people refuse the vaccination because of concerns about side effects or other unknowns. Is this a case of serious cognitive dissonance?

I think of the missed opportunity for Trump’s legacy in not going public to urge people to get the vaccination, to point out how he and his family got it just before leaving the White House, to repeat the mantra over and over through all the media variations and at Trump rallies. How many people today remember Ronald Reagan’s and John F. Kennedy’s words at the Berlin Wall and the impact they had? One small phrase repeated by Trump over and over would associate him with a positive good for all time. Instead, he will more likely be remembered for his relentless carping about how he was cheated out of winning reelection.

Some people claim they won’t get vaccinated because they don’t know the long term effects. They do know that covid can strike overnight, though, and that it can be very fatal very quickly, and that if you survive you may have long term serious side effects from it.

Others question the “ingredients” used to make the vaccine and don’t trust the government and pharmaceuticals concerning what “isn’t” in the vaccines, that it is a whole new development in this field. My guess is the same people have no idea what goes into making the hot dogs and sausages they eat without a care or concern for their health. The ones dying or getting deathly ill today of the delta variant are those who aren’t vaccinated, not the vaccinated. Shouldn’t that influence these people’s thinking?

There is no argument that some people whose immune systems have been compromised shouldn’t take the vaccine. To those who demand that their individual freedom to put something into their body is a personal choice, perhaps they should consider the risk they put the less fortunate with compromised immune systems in by exposing them to the contagion. I wonder if those advocating their freedom have any close relatives or friends who are undergoing treatment for cancer?

Meanwhile in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis, a free market Republican, is going to court to fight cruise ship lines that demand proof of vaccination before sailing. I thought this was a business decision, one designed to protect the crew and passengers, and to prevent both from bringing back covid to the U.S. from foreign port stops? Considering liability issues, not just with cruise lines but all private businesses, shouldn’t the owners be able to decide who can or can’t come into their establishments consistent with EEO and other laws? Isn’t that true conservatism? Didn’t conservatives support the bakery owner who refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple? Is this the new definition of a radical socialist Republican?

The NFL has promulgated new guidelines with stiff penalties involving teams with unvaccinated players resulting in forfeits because of the virus. One conservative radio talk show host I listen to regularly blasted the NFL for not firing players who take a knee during the National Anthem. Yet he is now blasting the NFL for trying to infringe on the individual freedom that players should have to take the vaccine. Is this selective free market ideology? I happen to be one who believes the NFL should be allowed to make its own rules just like any business consistent with all laws, and consistent with what they believe to be in their best interests and that of their consumers.

There are some conservatives who I share little with politically but who in my opinion deserve a shout out. Hew Hewitt is one of them for his advocacy in requiring all of our military to get vaccinated. How can we be sure that our armed forces would be able to respond in an emergency if their various units and ships can’t perform because too many are in the hospital or actually dying? Same for the police and other first responders. An unanswered 911 call would get some people’s attention if there were too few officers out sick or dead.

We have lived in more rational times. The blue light bulb is a reminder of that.


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(2) comments

David Glass

I have often wondered why President Trump didn't/doesn't push the vaccine. It was developed under his direction, but then you must remember, he is not interested in moderate vote, he wants to divide and hope he's on the winning side. See where that got him.

Oliver Halle

I'm guessing it was a political calculation that Trump made, and sadly, it could have benefited all Americans and even himself. Thanks for your comment.

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