Good ideas are not partisan. In a mature, freethinking society, good ideas should operate as currency for progress. Instead what seems to be transpiring is a sort of gamification of ideas by staunch adherents to the polarity of left versus right politics. Frankly it has gotten plain ridiculous.
Over the past two years, conversation in the area of healthcare, civic discourse, human/civil rights, culture and spirituality have turned into the ropes in the ever gestating tug-of-wars between the perceived right and left. Personally, certain acquaintances and family members have pretty much been relegated to occasional contact category. While most people seem to lose friends over having chosen to be more ideologically left than right or vice versa, I find that I cannot stand the friends who refuse to engage an idea from the opposing side because their leader of the left or the right has diagnosed such an idea as belonging to the opposite camp.
For example: Healthcare; We watched the entire world panic about the COVID-19 pandemic. Rightfully so. For an entire year and a half, the entire platform of global news revolved around containment due to infection. Unfortunately, the way this was handled in the United States led to much polarization. One area that led to unnecessary divisiveness was the area of vaccines. There were two camps:
- Vaccines came with agents that would be harmful and thus were to be avoided at all cost.
- Vaccines, especially the mRNa variation were an advanced vaccine product that would not only immunize against the first strain of the vaccine but would inoculate against all subsequent strains and thus ought to be mandated for safety of the entire population. It was a product of SCIENCE ( the new god).
What a load of crock. You mean we could not allow for the Center for Disease Control to attempt a vaccine or if they did everyone was to be mandated to be part of the experiment? How childish. Of course, everyone who was against the vaccine was now a right-winger and a Trump supporter and all who were for vaccine mandates were now neo-fascists.
So if you wanted to try at least one dose of the vaccine you were a slave to the government according to the skeptics and if you were unwilling to participate in the first rollout of the vaccine experiment you were an uneducated conspiracy theorist who was anti-science. No happy middle here. And if the person reading this still adheres vehemently to either side of this imperative, you are probably a little triggered right now. And that’s understandable but let us look at what has transpired since then.
Several people who took the vaccine especially multiple doses, still ended up getting infected and sidelined by COVID. Several people who rejected the vaccine also got infected and succumbed to the disease. Vaccinated and unvaccinated died from the disease. But somehow only one of these is considered anti-science. What if, instead, we used both data sets of vaccinated and unvaccinated as healthy starting points for further exploration of the disease as a whole and how to proceed henceforth. Naturally, that is what eventually happened but hubris is stubborn and those who survived from either camp attribute their survival to their viewpoint and any variation to the theme is staunchly unwelcome.
Most irresponsible has been politicians who got into the kayfabe. People with little to no medical expertise intimidating their opponents or those with opposing viewpoints. Those in politics stirred the folly and reasonable administration was further and further from consideration. Here is the sad part; neither side really won. Those who were for a mandate won the vaccine-makers some more profit which I doubt they would share. Those who were against the vaccine, some have survived and consider themselves heroes but are now complete skeptics of anything pharmaceutical while others succumbed and will not live to tell. In all this, I have not seen a single person who was for mandates admit that was a poor administrative move given that they did not prevent infection and several survived in spite of it. I have not seen a single person who survived sans vaccine admit perhaps the vaccine did save some lives given the unvaccinated people who succumbed to the disease.
At this point, we should be willing to put the ideological swords down and just be grateful to have survived. So, what is the good idea here?
Experimentation in healthcare need not be at the mercy of political polarization but the companion to observing clinical data objectively. Is that so unreasonable? Or is it that it is too reasonable since conflict creates engagement and the caution of public misdirection is thrown to the wind?
I don’t know about you but I think we deserve better.
by Julian Michael Yong.