opinion | Of all the ways America is divided, this may be the worst

Everyone I know or dimly aware of now falls into one of these two categories. There is no middle ground, nor is there an easy way to avoid the question, especially during a holiday like Thanksgiving. I count strongly in the group that was vaccinated, forced to move away from Nearly 20 percent of American adults who still did not receive a single dose. I don’t like the strict lines I had to draw between myself and other unvaccinated people. But I have no choice. This is about staying. Besides wanting to protect my health and the health of those in my direct circle, I simply cannot accept anyone’s refusal to keep all we Our community is safe.

Week after week, CDC Update By CDC Update, vaccine resistance reminds us that Americans today are taking the idea of ​​interconnectedness less and less seriously the moment they need to do the opposite. Of all the forms that radical individualism takes these days—people who arm themselves to the teeth to “protect their liberties” come to mind—unvaccination has become the most consistent and bloodiest. For me, it’s also the most confusing. The pedestrians’ nature of having a shot that’s proven to be both safe and hugely effective, not to mention free, is what makes refusing to do so so trivial and insidious. Not so American.

I do not take this word lightly. Throughout my life, I have maintained a strong willingness to believe in America, even if it is small, seeing itself as working towards becoming one people. As an African American, I’ve always felt outside of the possessive pronouns ‘we’, ‘our’ and ‘we’, yet it didn’t make me indifferent – on the contrary, it made me more passionate about claiming my rightful home in all that, about the struggle of In order to become part of the American “us”.

But for the first time, this passion began to wane. Avoiding a vaccine that has steadily become an American norm builds in me a sense of loss that is deeper and more enduring than I had anticipated. On Thanksgivings past, I’ve always assumed that a critical mass of Americans was looking for communication as much as I was: In my opinion, we weren’t one person, but we wanted to be. The arc of interdependence was long, but it was always bent in the right direction. I can no longer believe this.

The most confusing thing about the new dichotomy is how nearly it replaces the racial dichotomy of black and white that has shaped my view of America, and my view of its moral sense, my entire life. There is no doubt that race and racism deeply divide and threaten the cohesion of our society. But not drawing the vaccinated and unvaccinated lines, and simply agreeing not to agree to a vaccine-resistant one, is life-threatening in a way that is more urgent than racism.

People of all colors are on the wrong side of this line. It’s more than ironic – to me, it’s tragic – that vaccine-resistants are not only MAGA types, but members of my black community as well. The number of neighbors, family and friends who did not receive the vaccination is not high, but it is enough for me to feel betrayed. It suffices to eliminate the black “us”–an important subset of the larger American “us”–which has long complied with pact to seek each other’s well-being because America neither cared nor disinterested. Not vaccinating, and thus not protecting the lives of other black people, means breaking that agreement, with horrific consequences to be expected: Black Americans, who are already represented in a whole host of poor health outcomes, Being hospitalized and dying of Covid at higher rates than white Americans.

For those who like to cite the Tuskegee experiment that began in the 1930s as the reason for rejecting the Covid vaccine now: it’s not that. Tuskegee was a medical experiment in which black men were maliciously used as guinea pigs, refusing their life-saving treatment. The Covid vaccine was a product of a public health emergency and was developed in record time with absolutely no regard for race, which is fine in a given context.

It may sound strange, but I recently discovered a degree of hope for American interconnectedness not in reality but in fiction: the Marvel and DC movies. In this perpetually common multiverse, there are black and white superheroes, fantastic individuals who have disparate stories, but live and die as a group. In The Avengers and the Justice League, the true heroism does not belong to any one character or any one action or inaction, but rather belongs to all of them simultaneously. And it illustrates that cool, mundane heroism of just getting together, illustrating years of different sequels, competitions, and projects to save the world from evil, never-ending individualism. Even in the comic book world’s darkest moments—especially its darkest—the bonding championship is always up in the air.

Yes, it is the fantasy of popular culture that hardly suffices for the kind of progress we need now; In some ways, it’s likely to be a distraction. I still think our enthusiastic embrace of these comic book novels, and the idealism embedded in them, is real. Many of us still want to become heroes. I’d like to think we’re confused as to what that might look like. Vaccinations are a good place to start.

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