John Livingston News

Camper or Corvette?

My first love was a wonderful girl named Syd. We started dating in the 11th grade and were together off and on until our Jr. Year of college—she was in Nursing School. She finally dumped me for a staff physician who was 8 years older than us and much richer than me. He was driving around in a Corvette and I was driving a 1962 Rambler Classic station wagon. I was working board jobs and was a teaching assistant in the chemistry department, and he had a tee time on Tues. and Thursday at the Roanoke Country Club. I was sad to hear that Syd recently passed away. She was wise beyond her years. When she dropped me off for my last summer football camp I asked her to marry me. Her answer was something I will never forget: “No promises—Just hopes”. I should have realized that was a resounding “NO”—no was in the answer, but the words have actually given me pause for reflection over the years.

I think of those words not in the context of romance, but in the context of political philosophy, faith, and public policy. They imply an acceptance of risk, but also the idea responsibility. Over the past year during the pandemic I believe the soul of many of our citizens has been exposed. Fearfulness and not hope has been the order of the day. On the left progressive liberal Democrats are wearing 2-3 masks at a time, social distancing by not coming into contact with anyone, and those elites amongst them jumping to the front of the line for their vaccinations—politicians and hospital administrators, and young healthy Hospital Board members. On the right we have those of a more libertarian conservative bent who are suspicious of the new “experimental vaccine”. Everybody has the right to their own fears and to exercise their own mitigation strategy of those fears. If you want to wear 10 masks, wear 10 masks, but don’t ask me to wear 10 masks or any masks for that matter. My safety is my business. Your safety is your business. And unless you are wearing a properly fitting N-95 mask made in The USA, your “virtual signaling” means nothing to me. If you want to take the vaccine—take the vaccine. If not—don’t. The decision should be yours and yours alone—not the governments. If you want to eat meat grown in a Petri dish like Billy Gates—so be it. Don’t make me eat that stuff. I like a good bone-in ribeye, thank you very much—and I like bacon and sausage and hamburgers etc. My business what I eat thank you. I actually had a vegetarian friend give me a piece of tofu jerky. It was awful. I’ve swallowed goldfish that tasted better. Now there is a good reason to wear a mask—to mitigate against eating vegetarian tofu jerky. Even an improperly fitted cotton mask with a thread count of less than 600 might work for that. How little can you make tofu jerky for gosh sakes?

The conceit and pridefulness of the medical community in believing we can mitigate against an airborne respiratory virus, by using type 2 mitigation strategies—isolating everyone, instead of using tried and tested type 3 strategies—identifying and isolating those at risk—reverse isolation, has once again proven not to work. Compliance by the public was facilitated by a media with a preset agenda that understood how to use FEAR to manipulate the public. As the months wore on, we as a people became increasingly fearful. Not hopeful. We looked in the wrong places for HOPE. Government bureaucrats and public health commissars are not reservoirs for hope and they seldom keep their promises. In Hebrews we are told that “Hope is the anchor of the soul”. Without faith there can be no hope. Only faith can conquer fear and give us hope. Aquinas has said “Faith has to do with things that are not seen but known, hope has to do with things that are not at hand”.

90% of the time fear is an irrational emotion. Fear not grounded in experience is almost always irrational. My own faith has been tested several times in this pandemic—specifically as it relates to the mitigation our family used in protecting my daughter in law who recently completed a round of chemotherapy and a splenectomy for diffuse histiocytic lymphoma. Keeping Des away from lots of people and getting the vaccine early on was prudent and has allowed us access to our grandchildren—both my wife and I got the vaccine—not because we were afraid, but because we were prudent. For those not in our family do whatever you want to protect yourselves. That’s your business. If you want to come over for Easter Dinner let us know that you have already had the disease—I believe you would then have immunity. Let us know that you are two weeks out from your last vaccination. If you don’t want to be vaccinated—don’t come over. That is our call. You make your decision. Both of our liberties extend as far as the end of the other’s nose.

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A couple things I have observed and hopefully learned during this political pandemic. 1st, we are not as healthy a people as we thought we were. Obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes are all risk factors for Covid-19 mortality and morbidity. They are controllable by each individual. Only 5% of Covid-19 deaths occurred in patients under the age of 50 with zero risk factors. 70% of deaths occurred in patients over 65 with two risk factors—age being one. The second thing I learned was what I am most disappointed about. I am disappointed in the lack of faith, and because of that lack of faith the fear that so many Americans have had during this pandemic. Interestingly I have continued to work out with a group of men all over the age of 65 and who aren’t fearful, but have opined often about the fear they see in their children and grandchildren. These are devout Christian men, many have fought in wars, have battled cancer, lost wives and children over the years. They aren’t fearful. They remain hopeful. Why? Faith. Maybe the fact that younger generations have forgotten their faith is the reason for their fear? Maybe politicians and the media are exploiting that fear! Where are our church leaders and community leaders in this battle for the souls of our people? Where is our Governor, our legislators—heck they put their collective Covid-19 heads between their legs and got out of town when 6 out of 150 counting staff tested positive and none were symptomatic? Do farmers, small businessmen, truck drivers and grocery workers and heads of families (mothers and fathers—the most essential jobs of all) get to take a day off when they are asymptomatic and test negative or have had vaccinations or test positive for antibodies? Heck one of our Senate leaders was a Navy pilot and he flew planes off aircraft carriers at night. Courage? Duty? Lead by example? What happens to rational thinking in the face of “GROUP THINK” Fear is 90% irrational.

With faith there is hope. The promise of safety offers neither. And that is all our “experts” have to offer. Safety (a parenthetical government bureaucracy). Only Liberty and Free Will offer HOPE. The choice is yours—and ours.

Syd got it right for the wrong reason “No promises….just hopes (and may I add faith)

Funny how things turn out—but I have never owned a Corvette—my wife wouldn’t let me. I’d take my camper anytime over the Corvette. I wonder if Syd’s husband ever had a camper? He probably still has the Corvette and the Tues-Thursday tee time.

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