I just read over my column from last Thanksgiving. Yes, I keep articles and letters to the editor written by myself and others. I spent most of last year’s column expressing thanks for the results of the 2020 presidential election and pointing out the continued attempt by Trump to cause disruption and chaos.

Not much has changed in that regard, we had the Jan. 6 attempt to overthrow the results of the election with resulting deaths and later suicides connected to that attempted overthrow. Trump continues to spread lies about widespread voter fraud and issuing threats of revenge. We are still seeing daily deaths resulting from complications of being infected with the COVID virus with the number of deaths in this nation surpassing 770,000 as of last week and most people who become infected are not vaccinated.

Does anybody remember our former President starting in 2019, “the virus would miraculously disappear once it warmed up?” I’ve heard people state, “it’s no worse than the flu”, “ it’s survival of the fittest” and “this will prove to be one of the greatest hoaxes in history.” Haven’t those statements proven to be false?

As of last week, Minnesota led the nation in the number of citizens per capita who became infected with the COVID virus. We have counties where less than half of the people are vaccinated. Our hospitals and health care personnel are being overwhelmed with COVID cases of the unvaccinated while trying to care for their normal caseload of patients.

If past generations had the same resistance to the polio, measles and smallpox vaccines, would people still be dying from those diseases today in large numbers? It appears a segment of the population has become so distrusting of authority they resent being told what they should do, but would rather believe “talking heads” who reinforce their mistrust and fears. At some point, you who have not be vaccinated, don’t you have to ask yourself if you are being manipulated and for what reasons?

I recently listened to a person in charge of combatting COVID saying we are in a global war against the COVID virus and we have to decide as individuals which side we are on. Are we on the side that accepts the reality that the vaccines are overwhelmingly effective in preventing or greatly reducing the harmful side effects of COVID, or are we on the side that believes they will survive even if infected without regard to the other people they may infect?

If it is a question of survival of the fittest, I am sure there are people who have been shocked to realize they are not as fit as they thought they were. Does a parent, spouse, sibling, a child or grandchild have to die from the complications of COVID before the unvaccinated will accept the reality of COVID?

We have people who say that want to get back to life as normal, it makes sense to get vaccinated so we can get back to normal does it not, or are some people using this pandemic to further their own self interests? What do you think?

Phil Heim of Medford, husband of Gail, is the father of four adult children, a son-in-law, hope-to-be daughter-in-law, and grandpa to four grandchildren.

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