My First Covid Shot, Thoughts Of WWI Boys In 1918 Pandemic

It has been a mighty long fifteen months as we have traveled the pandemic journey. But today there was real light at the end of the tunnel when James and I received our first vaccination shots. For the occasion, I wore one of my favorite T-shirts, one that made for smiles decades ago….and again today as it still fit! Months ago when the vaccine was starting to be available I knew exactly what I would wear when the needle met my arm.

The enormity of the pandemic, along with the scientific surge of research and discovery that allowed for the vaccines to be manufactured has not lost their power even as my desire to get vaccinated was in overdrive. It was my need to fully feel the moment that led me to ask a question when finally getting close to the shot being administered. I wanted to know something I could always recall about the woman who was holding the needle.

She always wanted to go into the world of medicine as her dad was a doctor. While sports medicine held much sway over her for years she finally decided to become a medical assistant. When I asked her if the pandemic seemed surreal she responded by saying such massive outbreaks can occur if not dealt with properly at the start. She nailed that one!

With that, she wheeled herself to my right arm and asked me what I was going to do the rest of the afternoon. I uttered about four words and got to the part of giving the title of the book I was reading when she informed me we were done. I truly did not feel it. Just like that, I had my first shot of Pfizer.

A few hours later as I type this post there is a slight soreness. But I feel psychologically different, a part of my being has caught up with the facts I had been reading for months. A part of the personal dread about the virus, and the impact it could have had on this home is already dimming.

As I got up and ready for today I thought of the boys from my hometown area (Hancock, WI)–the ones I have been reading and podcasting here and here a lot about lately–who fought in WWI during the 1918 pandemic. The local newspaper at the time, The Hancock News reported on the ones who died in Europe. They all did not die from a German bullet, but also from the influenza pandemic.

I strongly suspect if all the young men who left my hometown area for Europe had been able to remedy the influenza pandemic with a vaccine shot they would have quickly rolled up a sleeve. Perhaps even ripped off the sleeve and thrust their arm forward!

We live with so much technology along with the power of medicine and science. We have umteenth ways to become informed on the ways a vaccine is made and works once inside the body. Yet too many rebel about why they have ‘the right’ to not take the shot. We hear nonsense about ‘freedom’ and the weak-minded who try to equate not taking the vaccine to some principled stand rooted in our nation’s founding. Try to inform that group that George Washington believed in the science of his time and knew why inoculation for smallpox was vital.

As such I ask how would Edward Cutsforth respond to the naysayers and vaccine deniers that we hear about today?

The rejection of the vaccines must end. So please, if you have not received your vaccination, make an online appointment today.

Thank you.

Why Are Republicans Sore Losers?

I do not mean to start another post with a personal touch, but the topic of voting does touch very close to home for me. My dad was elected for 40 continuous years to the Hancock Town Board. Having served in WWII, the Pacific Theatre, and feeling a connection to his hometown area and the people, meant he had a sense of public service. But I know if Dad had been defeated at the polls he would have taken it in stride, thanked the people for the opportunity to serve, and went back to the garden where he took pride in his potato patch.

What I know he would not have done is kvetch about the election, who voted, who did not, or whine about the voting procedures. The reason would have been due to knowing such behavior was not decent. I would phrase it because he was above such behavior, but dad would not have cared for the idea that he was somehow better than others. That sentiment, too, is a reflection of the man he was.

So it really does touch a nerve to read of the continuing assaults on voting access across the country which are being created by Republicans. (And, yes, my dad was a Republican until President George W. Bush invaded Iraq. I was so proud of him for telling people why he had switched parties, and even watching him hang up the phone on attempts to raise money for the GOP.) The latest episode that simply confounds me with attempts at voting manipulation by conservatives are the new restrictions in Florida. Recall that Donald Trump won that state in 2020.

What makes the GOP nervous in the Sunshine State is that 680,000 more Democrats than Republicans voted by mail in Florida in 2020. That makes for anguish when the party leans more in tune with autocratic foundations than ones rooted in democratic ideals. The new Florida law would limit the use of drop boxes by having them available only when early voting sites are open instead of 24 hours a day.

But the blowback from losing the White House does not end there. Florida Republicans have also gone after absentee balloting in several ways, too. There are now more needless ID requirements, above and beyond what is already regarded as the safeguard for protecting the voting process. The new laws get rid of the standing absentee voter list and force voters to ask for an absentee ballot for every election! That is absurd.

And not to be outdone for meanness and to be akin to Georgia, it doesn’t let voters standing in line to be given water or food. Perhaps the brainy ones in the GOP base are fearing microchips will be in the cold water and make a voter become a raving socialist by the time they enter the voting booth.

The bottom line in Florida, like so many other states where Republicans are showing their true Brown Shirt character, is that they are doing everything they can to stop people who are likely to favor Democrats from voting.

Perhaps the Republican Party should follow the path my dad took those 40 years in public service. Act with honor in office, help people understand the issues, and never be petty about the will of the voters.

And so it goes.