AMERICA is the land of the free and the home of the brave. All throughout the history of our nation, we have proven how we all collectively and bravely fight together to defend and protect our freedom and the greater good of our people.
The tragedy of September 11, 2001 — when we were attacked on U.S. soil in New York by terrorists killing close to 3,000 people —is a recent concrete example of how despite our differences inherent in our uniqueness as a nation built by immigrants from all over the world, we came together and rebuilt our nation from the rubbles of that tragedy. We were the United States of America.
Twenty years since, our nation and the rest of the world are fighting a global war against COVID-19. The pandemic has already killed more than 672,000 Americans in the resurgence of the invisible enemy with the more contagious and deadly Delta variant driving the uptick in infection, hospitalization and death, mostly among the UNVACCINATED, attacking even children who could not get the shots on their own.
According to John Hopkins University, new COVID cases are more than 4x higher than one year ago — from 34,433 cases in September 2020 to 144,316 cases on September 12, 2021.
Children’s cases are 3.5x higher in areas that do not ask people to wear masks — worse, where local government officials go against and vilify wearing masks!
The number of kids hospitalized with COVID-19 grew more than double from six months ago.
Those who refuse to protect themselves with lifesaving vaccines and masks, argue that these are infringements on their rights and liberties.
Others parrot the disinformation and conspiracy theories that the pandemic and the vaccines are just being used by rich powerful countries and big pharmaceutical companies to control people and enrich themselves. They listen to crazy scare tactics about the dangers of vaccines that are not founded on hard facts and verifiable truths. These, even after the Pfizer vaccine has been granted full approval following strict scientific protocols.
Such manipulation of powerful emotions of fear and doubt rob these people of their rational, critical thinking minds that make them blind to the fact and the truth that 99% of those who die of COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
In breakthrough cases among those who are vaccinated, the shots saved them from deadly symptoms, while a fraction of less than 1% who died had underlying medical conditions.
In the same way that we were able to save lives in the past from infectious diseases by mandating vaccination to attain herd immunity, President Joe Biden needs to use all lawful and reasonable means to save and protect the lives of the American people.
Our Commander-in-Chief is duty-bound by the Constitution to lead our nation in defeating the enemy in the war against COVID-19, and that includes mandating vaccination and wearing masks.
Sadly, there are public officials who choose to treasonously side with the enemy by peddling lies, disinformation and conspiracy theories to pander to their base for political expediency. They do this without regard to the fact that their constituents are getting infected and are dying because they, the supposed public servants, chose to serve their own personal and political interests instead of shepherding people to make the responsible, life-saving and patriotic choice to get vaccinated and wear masks.
In fact, at least 23 Republican governors oppose President Biden’s vaccine mandate. Who are they truly serving?
Seventy percent of Americans have chosen to be vaccinated with 54% fully vaccinated, yet one out of three remains resistant to vaccination, especially any vaccine mandate.
While the minority has been hostaging the safety of the American people and the chance for the nation to rebuild back our lives and our economy, more Americans now realize that the pandemic isn’t over and therefore more will have to be done to keep us all safe and to go back to normalcy faster.
A narrow majority of us support President Biden’s move to mandate vaccination, in order to attend school and work, and hopefully even wearing masks.
Such mandate started for those who serve in government, the military, and the teachers.
Many private-sector employers have also proactively been mandating vaccination as a condition for continued employment to protect the workforce and the public they serve.
A new CNN poll released on Monday, September 13, found that “Americans have grown more supportive of coronavirus vaccine mandates for workers, students, and in everyday public life”.
As CNN reported:
“But there’s greater backing for requiring vaccines in many specific instances. More than half of Americans now say they support requiring vaccinations for office workers returning to the workplace (54%), students attending in-person classes (55%) and patrons attending sporting events or concerts (55%), although fewer (41%) support requiring vaccinations for a shopper to enter a grocery store. Support for these mandates has risen across the board since April, growing 6 percentage points with regard to students, 8 points regarding office workers and event attendees, and 15 points regarding grocery shoppers.”
It is truly unfortunate how ideological and political differences have been causing a wider and deeper rift among the American people instead of us working together to defeat our common enemy.
Perhaps it is important for all of us to discern, especially those anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers: what are we really fighting for here. Freedom? Liberties? Rights.
We cannot be truly free unless the enemy is upon us and we are not equipping ourselves and our people with the arsenal to fight against the enemy.
Remember the true meaning and soul of rights and liberty. In liberty, our personal rights end when we encroach on the rights of others.
What can be more important than the right to live? Can we not think of what is for the greater good? Or are we so self-absorbed that we fail to realize we are all in this together?
So go get vaccinated. Wear mask. Let us heal and rebuild together. Celebrate life. The best is yet to come.
* * *
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
* * *
Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.