I'm Losing My Capacity for Empathy Thanks to People Who Refuse to Get Vaccinated

I want to see things through other people's eyes. I really do. I want to understand why they believe the fucked-up things they do. Those of us who truly understand the MAGA crowd, who have attempted to put their barbarism and belligerence in some kind of context that makes sense, who have considered their "economic anxiety" and their manipulation by nutzoid media and mad evangelicalism, we know that it all comes down to racism, whether they wanna admit it or not. And in moments of empathy, I get that they are victims as much as they are perpetrators, that decades of GOP fuckery in gutting and dumbing down the education system, not to mention an unending stream of lies spit at them from politicians and alleged "news" outlets, not to mention generations of ignorance being passed down as wisdom, the ultimate in bullshit taking the place of rational thought, that all of this has an effect on their brains, contorting them into a grotesque version of an engaged citizen, one that couldn't give a fuck about the society as a whole, just themselves and their group of fellow racists. 

I never said I liked them. I just said I can find empathy, having grown up among the very same people.

But when a young white man I was talking to this week told me, "I'm not getting vaccinated," I lost my capacity for empathy. I asked why, and he said that he didn't trust the vaccine because of how quickly it was developed. When I did my usual rap about how it's actually taken 20 years of work to get to this point where the vaccine could be developed, he said, "I know. I've heard. I just don't trust it."

I said, "Oh, someone's been watching YouTube too much."

"No," he said. "I don't watch that stuff. And I'm not conservative. I don't even watch the news." To be fair, when someone tells me "I don't watch the news," I just think that means they get their news from idiots around them rather than a news source, but, hey, might not be worse than Fox. 

"Then I don't understand," I responded. "You're a smart person" (he is) "so you should know the science."

"I just don't trust it," he said. I left it there. And that was the moment I thought, "Fuck it. Get sick. I'm vaccinated. I'm covered."

Yeah, I know there are legit medical reasons why some can't get vaccinated. And, of course, there are kids under 12, who can't get it yet. But otherwise, I just don't give a fuck about your queasiness. I don't give a fuck about your worry that scientists have played fast and loose this time. I just don't fucking care. Your misgivings are bullshit. And your feelings don't fucking matter to me. And they shouldn't matter to anyone. 

Because, see, what you're saying by not getting vaccinated when you can is that you don't give a fuck about anyone else. Yeah, the chance of death is still pretty low, but the chance of long-term damage to your health in even mild cases of COVID is not quite as low, with a greater chance to die in general because you had it.  But it's not that you can get it. It's that you can give it to someone else. 

And I don't fuckin' care that you know someone who tested positive of COVID after getting vaccinated. Get back to me when you've heard about thousands of people getting badly sick or dying. Because that's what the vaccine prevents, also.

I'm fucking exhausted with the vaccine refuseniks. I'm especially exhausted with Republican refuseniks because their goddamn president, the one that made this whole situation so much worse, still brays like a drunk jackass at a cheap petting zoo about how he personally ejaculated the vaccine for everyone. Which is it, GOP? If you love Trump so much, why not take his cold, hard injection? 

The same thing goes for masking. I stopped wearing a mask outdoors except in crowded places a few months ago, even before I was vaccinated, because the science said I could. Most of the time, I wear a mask just to make others feel comfortable, even in places that don't still require it around here. I'd bet that the majority of people who wear masks indoors in places like Texas or Iowa or Florida are vaccinated. I get that. I have empathy there. We just went through some scary shit that's still going on. I understand that you might be really freaked the fuck out. But there's gonna come a day where I think, "Yeah, I'm done wearing a mask if I don't have to." Probably on a day that hits 90 degrees. At some point, you either trust the vaccine or you don't. I'm Modernaed up, motherfuckers. 

Of course, the refuseniks are gonna be total lying twatmites about mask-wearing, demanding that they be able to go without, even if the science says they shouldn't. Some of them have started saying the snarky, transphobic "I identify as vaccinated." To which you can only say: Okay, you dumb bitches, then when are you going to transition to vaccinated? By the way, you can get a t-shirt that says that shit. In fact, there's a whole line of anti-vax tees because of course there are. 

Look, we're never going back to "normal." The pre-COVID normal doesn't exist anymore. For instance, I learned that I can wear a mask at the house of my friends who have cats, to which I am savagely allergic (please don't tell me what to try - I have). But the mask allows me to hang out, shoot the shit, do some edibles, even pet the cat. I'm not going back to normal: my eyes watering, stuffed nose, face freaking out. And my face is like the world in general. We're figuring out how to negotiate this post-pandemic world, trying to figure out what works for us. 

And the assholes who won't get vaccinated are making it that much fucking harder.