Serves you right

I’ve been mulling this post over in my head for a few days now.  Not what I should write, but whether I should write.  Death is sad, no matter where you come down on the question of an afterlife, for the deceased’s survivors and friends, so a post about someone dying seems, at first blush, unseemly.  Then I thought that if you’re reading my blog you’re probably not one of those blockheads out there refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or whinging about mask mandates.  I’m sure we don’t agree on everything, but I imagine we probably agree on a lot.  Like puppies — I think puppies are awesome, and you probably do too, even if we bat on different teams.  So I don’t imagine I have to convince many of you to get vaccinated or wear a mask.

So I questioned whether I should write this post, because ultimately I’m only confirming what you already know about vaccination and using someone’s death to make a point that need not be made to those I call, affectionately, my "thoughtful readers."  But then I thought about the misinformation being shouted through the bullhorns of Right-wing media and the dangerous lies being spread by some faith leaders and politicians, and I came to the conclusion that if the rational are silent the only voices heard will be the irrational, so banking on your rationality and censoring myself out of some quaint notion of “propriety” surrounding not speaking ill of the dead cedes the playing field to those who are causing harm.  And because the harm they are causing is, by virtue of the Delta variant’s increased communicability, of concern to everyone, the point of this post needs to be made, even if you are fully vaccinated awaiting a booster dose, and wearing a mask as you read this.

Earlier this month I told you about conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine, a vaccine skeptic until he ended up in the hospital with COVID-19.  As he was being put on a ventilator, he recanted his skepticism and vowed to use his radio platform to advocate for vaccination.  Sadly, he did not get that chance.  Phil Valentine died over the weekend.

My mother, of happy memory, had a saying.  I can be a bit headstrong.  Whenever I would do something she cautioned me not to, or would not do something she advised me to, and the inevitable, foreseeable consequence occurred, she would say to me, “serves you right.”  I remember her proofreading an essay I had written for a class and telling me I had misused a word; she suggested a more appropriate word, so I changed it to her word in my draft but back to my word on the paper I handed-in.  Sure enough, the word came back circled in red and I got marked down — she saw this, and said, “serves you right!”

When I heard of Mr. Valentine’s passing, my first reaction was to say, out loud, “serves you right.”  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that “serves you right” is only effective as a lesson, and Mr. Valentine is beyond lessons now.  His hubris, going so far as to write a song parodying the push for vaccination, is a lesson, though, for his radio audience, and, sad to say, not an isolated incident.  Let’s have a look at a few of the dingbats on the Coronavirus Dishonor Roll:

  1. In the “too late to say told ‘ya so” category…
  • H. Scott Apley, Republican official, Texas:  called doctors promoting the vaccine “enemy of a free people” — dead from COVID
  • Jimmy DeYoung, radio host, Tennessee:  called the vaccine “another form of government control of the people” — dead from COVID
  • Dick Farrel, radio host, Florida:  called Dr. Fauci a “power tripping lying freak” — dead from COVID
  • Jeff LeBlanc, Republican official, Texas:  called mask wearers “losers” — dead from COVID
  • Tod Tucker, radio host, Texas:  called vaccinated people “lab rats” — dead from COVID
  1. In the “hangin’ in there” category…
  • Marc Bernier, radio host, Florida:  compared state-sponsored vaccination campaigns to Germany under the Nazis
    — hospitalized with COVID
  • Raymond Burke, Catholic cardinal archbishop, Wisconsin:  said from the pulpit the vaccine is a government mind-controlling microchip injection
    — hospitalized with COVID

I’m sure there are more.  Why, just turn on Faux, I mean Fox, “News.”  Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham have all suggested to their viewers, on air, taking Ivermectin, a deworming drug used by farmers for livestock, as a COVID-19 preventative prophylactic and treatment, forcing the US Food and Drug Administration to Tweet:  "You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y'all. Stop it.”  Reminds me of that proud moment I saw Bozo the former-President suggest to the nation on national tv that drinking bleach might be the way to disinfect yourself!

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

So we end the month as we began, with me struggling to feel sympathy for someone that has been hoisted with their own petard.

best part of getting vaccinated

And in case you were wondering thoughtful reader, I needed a fancy word for ‘salary’ for a high school essay.  My mom suggested 'recompense.’  I insisted on using ‘retribution.’  She was right, I was wrong, and when I got the paper back with a less than stellar grade, all she said was, “serves you right!"

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