Life On A B-I7

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Danger: political commentary ahead. Before we go any further, let’s talk about that. Just because I say that I like someone that you might not does not make me a bad person. Nor are you bad if you disagree with me. I do believe however that we have an obligation to listen to each other with open minds and a willingness to understand our differences in the light of facts, preferably not “alternate facts.” The tradegy of our time in my mind is that we are less willing to listen to each other than at any point in my lifetime, perhaps even in our history. It would be foolish (in my opinion) to see our current time as anything less than an existential threat to our Democracy…

There is no doubt that Dr. Anthony Fauci is a hero. After all, he has thrown out the first pitch at a Yankees/Nationals game. I can’t imagine the pressure that experience would create, nor can I imagine the professional pressure he has been under for the last 15 months. In a recent interview he was asked to explain why vaccinated people should continue to mask and distance. The interview did not seem to go very well. Essentially he said that vaccinated people could unknowingly transmit the virus. OK. But it’s what he didn’t explain that seems to me to be even more important. He should have explained that until the population (and here we are really talking about the world’s population) reaches the point where the virus can no long spread, i.e., the so called “Herd Immunity” threshold, the virus can’t be considered exterminated. In the mean time, the virus can mutate into different forms that could further prolong the pandemic and could even reach the point where the current vaccines are no longer effective against mutations (we really don’t know). Scary stuff indeed, which could be why he frequently appears to be dumbing down his answers. Another reason for taking that approach could be because there are a lot of Americans out there that really have trouble processing new knowledge that is developing on a daily basis.

There is a large percentage of our population that just wants simple black and white answers to all the hard questions. Why is that? I’m sure the answer is complex and will take someone a lot smarter than I am to explain, not to mention years of sociological study. But, here is my short answer anyway. Those people looking for simple answers aren’t necessarily uneducated, but they have been conditioned to think in simplistic terms. Social media and cable news have found the magic formula to motivate people. Instill hate and make the “other” guy your enemy and you can control peoples thoughts, as well as their votes. As an alt-right YouTuber recently explained, “Focus on conflict, serve the algorithm and feed the hate. Don’t worry about the truth.” If you can do those things, you can build a following. As recently demonstrated, even a following that can be pushed to attack the very institutions that our Democracy is founded on. All in the name of political correctness, and baseless lies.