Closing Range

Don’t Be a Covidiot

I’m disappointed in Flathead County's low vaccination rate

By Dave Skinner

I have a confession to make: My name is Dave, I’m a conservative, voted (my ballot only) for Donald Trump. I tested positive (no symptoms) for COVID last fall, and had my Johnson & Johnson jab in mid-May this spring. Yep, I’m vaccinated.

Honestly, it went so well (so far), I’m disappointed that only 39% of Flathead County had been vaccinated as of last week, right down in the weeds with underserved Black and Hispanic demographics.

Keep in mind Montana’s supposedly-underserved “communities of color:” Montana’s Indian-heavy rural counties have “good” percentages, with Glacier over 50%, Blaine over 70%, Rosebud and Bighorn over 60%. That’s a clear indicator how, with will, there is a way to direct policy and resources toward otherwise-underserved demographics.

So why isn’t Flathead County at 95 percent? First, the jab (you can pick one of three different kinds) is free! Second, it’s easy! Third, the new Delta variant hits victims other than “age-60-and-up-comorbids,” and is much more transmissible. Fourth, the Flathead is drowning under a tsunami of visitation and new in-migrants, laden not just with cash, but Delta cooties. Fifth, while Delta is less deadly, it can still make you expensively ill, for a long time.

What’s the hangup? In one word, covidiocy. Early on, it was our local end-times hoarder covidiots – that kind of stupid isn’t caused, and can’t be fixed, by outside influences.

But the covidiocy we’re seeing now has an external cause – power politics. How else to explain why, in Montana, the urbanish vax “laggards,” Flathead and Yellowstone counties, trend conservative compared to the urbanish “leaders,” with o-so-progressive Missoula County running at 60%. How else to explain how, at least at first glance (there’s other variables based on institutional/racial trust), nationwide vaccination patterns are breaking out between conservative refuseniks and liberal jabmees?

Who is right? Well, I’m right, more accurately, correct. The Chinese communists unleashed evil upon not just America, but the world, period, and I’m watchfully picking through the misinformation, hoping I (and everyone else) get through what won’t be our last pandemic. I have my shot, my shot card, and pack a mask. My call, my right, my responsibility.

But anyone asking me for that card, or that mask, needs a darn good reason for asking. Which of course is why so many of a certain ideological stripe are calling for mandatory masking again, even for vaccinateds, and on top of that, mandatory vaccines? Then what the heck was the point of vaccine if they don’t really work? Or the point of “vaccine passports?” 

A recent column in The Hill exemplifies this mandatory, even totalitarian mindset. The writer declares society “must create ‘safe havens’ for vaccinated Americans.” Of course, “[l]eft outside the safe haven would be all those who resist vaccination with no good reason […]” She suggests that if “we put some parameters around who can enter certain buildings and regions, the balance of power shifts to vaccinated Americans and those who have taken the necessary steps to be safe from the virus. They can enter the safe haven at will.”

Balance of power – you caught that, right? She’s not really writing about safety, is she?

Who is this covidiot, you ask? Tara D. Sonenshine, familiar to me. Tufts political science; ABC Nightline producer; Clinton/Obama political appointee; George Washington University (DC) school of media and public affairs “distinguished fellow.” I’d say she fits the “profile” of leftist toff, revolving through the closed circles of America’s “distinguished” academic, journalistic and political “safe havens,” mmm?

I can’t resist putting her in the context of Ben Franklin: “Those who would give up their essential liberty to purchase temporary safety, deserve neither liberty or safety.” My reading of Ms. Sonenshine leads me to conclude she’s more than happy to sacrifice the liberty of others, because neither HER liberty, nor safety, is at issue. Worse, she’s not alone.

So yeah, while I am vaccinated, I’d never demand vaccinations or mask, nor support those demanding same, nor submit to such demands from anyone, ever. What I will demand, however, is the unvarnished, unpoliticized truth to make my own choices. I’m not a covidiot, and neither are you. 

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