I was born while the Korean War was raging though I have no memories of it. But, as a child of the fifties, part of the ambience of the times was the public memory of the Red Chinese hordes and the corollary assertion that the Chinese – having so many people – did not value individual lives like we good Americans do.

          They threw waves of soldiers into our machine gun fire with no qualms because there were so many soldiers in reserve. Those godless commies just did not care how many soldiers died.

          Sounds like the blueprint for Donald Trump, Rupert Murdoch, Fox Faux News mouthpieces and their following host of anti-vaccine, anti-masking, anti-precaution followers advocating inaction instead of trying to protect their followers. (Then, when Trump finally changed his tune, the Trump-indoctrinated mob booed him for his heresy.)

          And, it is their followers who suffer the most. The bulk of those dying are people who refused to get vaccinated. But, fanatical polemicists do not care how many people die.

          Republicant governors, including Oklahoma’s own Kevin Stitt, still fight against public health measures in the name of a freedom of a personal choice that they would deny women. It is quite clear that they think they have many pawns to sacrifice to political posturing. This includes students, since those whose longest-term projections end at sundown have no regard for the future. These public Christians just do not care how many people die.

          That’s been their outlook the past two years. Now, they have company.

          “Pandemic Fatigue,” boredom and raw economics has encouraged the sports and entertainment industries to re-open and fill their venues with potential coronavirus victims.

          The stands have been full for the football playoff games – screaming hordes, mostly unmasked, shoulder-to-shoulder. It is as if the pandemic is in the rearview mirror. But, it’s not.

          The infection rate in the country was heading downward from a second spike lower than the first when, in early November, holiday fever swept the country. Predictably, this was followed by a third spike in infections that set new highs. COVID hospitalizations seem to be heading downward again, but, at the end of January, they were still 10,000 beds higher than at the same time last year.

          Broadway has reopened though a performance or two has been canceled and a few stand-ins have made it to the boards as stars got sick.

          Most TV personalities are back in their studios – and “so happy” to have guests joining them in person.

          And while all Oklahoma counties and most of the rest of the country remain in the highly contagious category, local boosters and promoters stage weekly events to draw crowds of expendables to boost local economies at the expense of their neighbors’ lives. Our good capitalists just do not care how many people die.

          Gregaryous guy, that I am, I do care. You can still get vaccinated. It might not keep you from getting sick, but it could save your life. You can still wear masks. They are not perfect, but every precaution helps. Limiting your exposure to others protects both sides of that equation.

          Take care out there.

          (Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party: scdpok.us or facebook.com/SCDPOK/.)

Devalued lives

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