Blog favorite Elizebeth Bruenig has moved on from “Ivermectin: maybe OK, especially coupled with a vaccine” to Stop Death Shaming. Her argument is that pointing and making fun of people dying, such as giving them Herman Cain Awards, is bad because it short circuits the rational conversation we could be having with these folks:
And so: What would a genuine persuasion effort look like, with respect to vaccines?
It would begin by examining what the unvaccinated say about their hesitancy to get their shots—by inhabiting their point of view, in other words, honestly and seriously.
As a regular visitor to the Herman Cain Award subreddit, I will tell you what these people say about their hesitancy. Here’s an example:
You can “inhabit” Deena’s world more fully by visiting her Herman Cain Award citation. Deena, however, is no longer inhabiting her world — she died of COVID yesterday.
I see variants of Bruenig’s “stop making fun” argument all the time. The issue is that many of the vaccine “hesitant” don’t want rational colloquy — they want engagement with their stupidity, so they can trot out their dumb Facebook-inspired ideas. They are thirsty for attention, not for a free, easily obtainable vaccine.
In contrast to Bruenig’s unicorn and rainbows outlook on humanity, let me share two vaccine success stories. One is from a young man that I know who has two elderly grandparents who weren’t vaccinated. They live in NYC. What got them to get their first shots a couple of days ago was the new requirement that you must be vaccinated to dine indoors. There wasn’t a rational conversation. To be fair, these people weren’t nutty Trumpers — in fact, they’re very sweet people. Still, their kids and grandkids trotted out all the usual arguments, and the only thing that moved them was inability to get dinner in places they liked to visit.
So, that’s one approach. Another was related in a comment on the Herman Cain subreddit that I can’t find right now. The gist of it was that a woman was concerned about her friend, an unvaccinated single mom with 5 kids. She began sending her friend instructions on how to claim the burial reimbursement for death from COVID, instructions on how to apply for life insurance, and other useful advice for the vaccine “hesitant”. Her friend texted her a picture of her vaccine card shortly thereafter.
Unlike scaring your friends with almost-certain death, vaccine mandates are scalable. I also think that vaccine mandates and proof of vaccination to travel will work with a good number of these stubborn assholes, no matter how loudly they squeal. Unfortunately, the combination of their loud noisemaking, the unfairness of making essential workers enforce these mandates, and the fact that a lot of the loudest anti-vaxxers are cops who won’t enforce the mandate has slowed us down.