This country was founded on the rights of the INDIVIDUAL. First and foremost we have the right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Each of us, not some group, but each individual person in this country has that right. We are so driven by Identity Politics these days. It is everywhere. Who are you? Who am I? I am a Scottish American, white, heterosexual, sis-gender female, older than dirt, and politically Libertarian, Spiritual rather than conventionally religious. Do you really care about these labels? Are they more important than who I am as a whole person? Can’t we accept people even if some of their “labels” don’t fit with ours?

People everywhere seem to need to know all these facts. They want to judge others before they can decide if they are going to fit into their world or become one of the “OTHER”. Identity trumps character for the “Woke”. This is anathema to me. The fact that I must revere a person who is clearly a bad man, just because he died in police custody is wrong. Teaching children that a man is a hero when he clearly is not, sends a terrible message. No one is perfect. Our founding fathers were flawed. But in their time they were exemplary men who risked their lives, their fortune, and their sacred honor on an idea of a free country where all men were created equal (an extraordinary idea at the time). They imagined a land where everyone would have the opportunity to succeed. By everyone, they actually meant EVERYONE. Even freedmen and people with different religions and skin color were allowed to own property and expected to become part of the whole country. All men (but not Women)could own property. But since we have come a long way, Baby!!!
Now we can add Vaccines to the mix. Are you vaccinated? Or are you “Other”? (Read “unclean”) Are you Woke to the danger of COVID? Or are you one of those who believe their immune system can fight it off? I would call that AWARE of your own individual body.

I spoke with one of my oldest friends on the phone the other day. So proud that he had had his second shot, he could not wait to tell me. Now, he feels safe. But he is worried about other people. He said “We have to have a badge or something like that to show if we have been vaccinated. Everyone who has had their shots will know with whom they can associate. We need a visible sign, so we will know who it is OK to be with or have to our homes.”

His words struck me like icy water down my back. What was he talking about? I said “You can’t be serious? Do you want to mark people who do things differently from you? That sounds like putting yellow stars on Jewish people so that you can tell them apart from the Aryans. It is a horrible idea. You are speaking of discrimination of the worst type. You want to avoid certain people because you feel they are dangerous to you because of their beliefs.
What we need is to find ways to come together, not separate ourselves even more than we already are… And yet that is what he was suggesting. It all has to do with fear. The entire world is scared of COVID. But I am not. I believe that it is up to each individual to manage their own health. I am NOT my brother’s keeper. I do not feel the slightest bit responsible for anyone else’s health out in the world. If I were to visit a sick person in the hospital I would be more careful. It is like asking me to refrain from drinking because someone else has a drinking problem.

This is what should have happened.

The vaccine is not in my future. It is unconstitutional to force me to have a medical procedure I don’t believe in. But they are trying to pressure people in different ways so that they will conform. I resist. Why should I take the vaccine? I have had COVID and I believe I am immune. And even if I am not I believe my immune system will fight it off just as it did when I caught the virus in November. The virus is highly treatable with several different types of easily attainable drugs.
How did this vaccine issue become yet another part of identity politics? Those who are vaccinated against those who are not. It is very sad. And it scares me. I could tell that my friend really believed what he was saying. He did not see the hypocrisy.

Yet he is well educated, Christian, conservative and kind. I don’t understand how he could NOT see that separating people in groups is the worst possible thing for the country. We are already struggling with these made-up identities which have nothing to do with being American. For some time schools have been teaching children about the evils of this country. They disparage Capitalism and make fun of dead white males. To hear them talk you would think that the “Founding Fathers” were monsters. And yet here we are, a country which is still the freest, most prosperous, safest due to our geography, and most diverse in terms of land and climate. We need to appreciate the luck we as Americans enjoy, just being citizens of this great country. Do not forget it is a melting pot. Rejoice in that fact. The differences are what give us such a marvelous flavor, and so much to be grateful for. We are all part of a whole. It is OK that we have different ideas and goals and ideals. But please remember, we are in this together. Each of us in our own identity independent individuality.

Copyright©. 2021 Bonnie B. Matheson

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