The Seeds of Dysfunction

I’m not a religious man – like the old Tom T. Hall song, “Me and Jesus got our own thing going” – but I understand the biblical concept of sowing and reaping – and the importance of acceptance and forgiveness – concepts that seem quaint and antiquated in a nation horribly divided by, of all things, one’s vaccination status.

This now engrained divisiveness was never more evident than last weekend when I posted a heartfelt condolence on the loss of local radio icon Marc Bernier to a social media platform – a natural human response to loss – something I hoped would comfort his family, friends, and associates – a gesture that was met with the basest, most despicable form of hatred and ridicule, a low point even in the anything goes environment of the internet. 

Trust me.  It takes a lot to shock my conscience – and I can give as good as I get on matters of politics and public policy – but these post mortem and ad hominem attacks on Mr. Bernier, ostensibly because of his opposition to government mandates and a personal reluctance to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, defied what I know of common decency and the idea of empathy as a foundational aspect of our shared humanity. 

Most of the vile comments and laughing emojis were sent by anonymous posters, hiding behind fabricated profiles, which allowed the faceless cowards to provoke the emotions of others – many grieving the loss of a friend – without fear of accountability or retribution. 

I found this goading, bullying, and personal disparagement disgraceful – but not surprising.

Nothing surprises me anymore. 

Several people messaged me offline asking that I delete the hurtful remarks – and despite my natural aversion to censorship in all forms – I removed some of the more outrageous comments. 

It was then I realized that it is impossible to eliminate hatred and fear with the push of a button, and my post was not the only one that prompted a venomous response from those oh-so-virtuous keyboard warriors. 

On Wednesday, The Daytona Beach News-Journal eulogized Mr. Bernier in an editorial entitled “Long time voice is silenced by COVID,” which read, in part:

“It’s a tragedy that, in death, Bernier is being denied that courtesy. As a vocal opponent of vaccination, his death of COVID-19 has drawn mockery from people who try to reduce his death to one factoid. The comments turned so vicious that WNDB was forced to moderate comments on its Facebook page.”

How did we get here? 

Perhaps more important, what are the long-term ramifications of this cruelty – clearly defined battlelines with American’s taking sides – Red vs. Blue, pro-vaxx vs. anti-vaxx, Republican vs. Democrat – where family, friends, and neighbors are now willing to dehumanize their perceived enemy in this pitched ideological war?

Perhaps the seeds of our dysfunction were sowed the minute a public health crisis was seized by self-serving politicians during an election year, a time when the concept of statesmanship has been replaced by demagogues and virtue-signaling elitists – firebrands on all sides of the political spectrum – who have now brought the fringe elements to the mainstream with a constant “us vs. them” drumbeat – further dividing the masses along racial, ethnic, political, patriotic, and economic lines.

And our local and national media was all too willing to jump on the bandwagon and sensationalize the crisis to sell newspapers. . .

Now, one’s personal healthcare choices – once the exclusive domain of the individual and his or her doctor – have become a flashpoint, an excuse for prejudicial demonization, a moral justification for discrimination and intolerance.

Bullshit. 

On Tuesday evening, the Volusia County School Board met in an emergency session to discuss the imposition of a “mask mandate” – something many angry parents saw as a personal affront to their liberties, their parental rights, and a reversal of the optional policy they were told to expect when school began last month. 

I don’t want to argue the virtue of the board’s intent – but it was perceived by many as a “bait and switch” maneuver with few choices remaining for those who seek to keep face coverings optional.   

In my view, this continued confusion and rancor is the natural result of an abysmal lack of effective communication between Volusia County school administrators and the parents, students, teachers, and staff who have grown suspicious of the district’s mercurial approach to any crisis – and its insular, circle-the-wagons mentality when dealing with criticism and outside input. 

Perhaps most confounding to both sides of the issue – in a meeting that quickly descended into bedlam, with angry parents shouting from outside the board chamber, others offering boisterous jeers and comment from the gallery – was that the “emergency” mandate apparently designed to stop the rapid spread of coronavirus was given an effective date of September 7 with a week-long grace period to give parent the opportunity to obtain medical opt outs for their children.

That means the board’s urgent mandatory mask order won’t be enforced until September 13 – with an end date on or about October 12. 

Confused?  Me too. 

I happen to be a proponent of vaccinations and personal protective measures – having received the jab at my first opportunity – because, after doing the research, it was the right decision for me – and I wear a mask when appropriate and wash my hands with a frequency that boarders on compulsion. 

That’s my decision.   

I could care less about your personal healthcare choices – until you shove them down my throat.

However, I abhor government mandates and diktats – especially in a time when our public health agencies have become uncommunicative, and speculation runs rampant.

In my view, the idea that local, state, and federal entities would stop reporting hard data, replacing sound recommendations and education with the removal of personal choice and subjugate citizens to conform to state ordered inoculations and practices against our free will is frightening.

Now, it appears logical discussion and debate has been lost in the fog of battle and the din of speculation and conjecture.    

Are the unvaccinated infecting the vaccinated? 

Are the vaccinated infecting the unvaccinated? 

Do cloth face coverings have any significant affect on viral transmission?

Is it morally and ethically acceptable to shun someone based upon their vaccination status – to diminish their worth and socially ostracize them – even to the extreme of denying advanced medical care or publicly mocking their death?   

What ultimate responsibility does the media, and our elected “leadership,” bear for their role in hijacking a public health crisis and turning it into a political shit-show, then fanning the flames of divisiveness for purely self-serving reasons?

The answers change hourly. . .

All I know with certainty is that, in the last few days, I have had both vaccinated and unvaccinated friends succumb to complications of COVID-19 – and their loss is equally profound and heartbreaking.    

The seeds of our dysfunction have sprouted – and the invasive fruit is spreading like an aggressive malignancy – sending its foul roots into the very heart of American society. 

If we ever stop fighting amongst ourselves long enough – perhaps we might take a minute to consider who planted them – and why? 

10 thoughts on “The Seeds of Dysfunction

  1. I had two close friends that passed away within a week of one another. Both stayed home except for Drs. appointments. Had people deliver groceries to them. Both died as a result of one having lupus and the other’s choice of not being vaccinated. But they caught Covid from a vaccinated family members. Also have read several articles on the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine. Pfizer makes several vaccines and the vaccine that most people have gotten is the Bio N Tech vaccine and it wasn’t approved but for only emergency use. The vaccine that was approved was the Commernatie vaccine in which hasn’t been produced or never will be because they’d get sued billions of dollars. When the FDA approves a drug/vaccine that makes it open to lawsuits !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are misleading people with wrong info.
      BioNTech, Pfizer vaccine
      COVID-19 vaccine
      OverviewNewsEffectivenessSide effectsSafety
      Main Results
      About
      BioNTech, Fosun Pharma, Pfizer vaccine is a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by FDA and recommended by the CDC for use in the US for a limited population.
      Manufacturer/developer: BioNTech, Fosun Pharma, Pfizer
      Research name: BNT162b2
      Vaccine type: mRNA
      Administration method: Shot in the muscle of the upper arm
      Source: cdc.gov
      For informational purposes only. Consult your local medical authority for advice.
      Feedback
      Common questions
      Is Comirnaty vaccine Pfizer?
      It’s the same exact mRNA vaccine Pfizer has producing through the emergency use authorization, but now it’s being marketed under the new name. Comirnaty is administered in two doses, three weeks apart, just like Pfizer doses have been all along. The vaccine name is pronounced koe-mir’-na-tee.Aug 24, 2021

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      1. This is a post from the man listed below. If you don’t like the facts ,then pass it by ! Don’t shoot the messenger !

        LeoHohmann.com

        MENU AND WIDGETS

        BOOM! Major law firm confirms FDA deceived America with its confusing ‘approval’ of Pfizer vax
        When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Aug. 23 it had granted full approval to the first Covid “vaccine” under the brand name Comirnaty, the mainstream media immediately ran with the narrative.

        Joe Biden jumped in front of a microphone and told businesses they needed to “step up” the mandating of vaccines for their employees.

        Dr. Anthony Fauci told national media outlets he expected a whole host of new “mandates” to be fueled by the “approval” of the Pfizer jab.

        There’s only one problem. The “approval” given by the FDA was not for the Pfizer jab currently available in the U.S. market.

        The devil is always in the details. Some of us weren’t fooled.

        See our article, which has over the past three days received nearly 150,000 reads: FDA ‘playing bait and switch’ with Americans, tricking them into believing shots currently being offered have been granted full approval when they have not.

        But because we and a few others looked beneath the facade and checked the facts of what the FDA actually did and not what the media and Joe Biden’s administration said it did, we took some heat. Even some of our own subscribers questioned whether maybe we got it wrong.

        No, it was the corporate media who got the story wrong. And as a result, thousands of Americans no doubt capitulated and went ahead and rolled up theirs sleeves, thinking they had no other choice legally than to succumb to their employers’ mandates.

        Today, on Aug. 27, the Orlando, Florida-based Liberty Counsel, perhaps the most respected Christian legal firm in the nation, issued a press release that confirms our story.

        Below is the release, published in full from Liberty Counsel.

        WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has done a bait and switch by announcing it approved its “first COVID-19 vaccine” in order to push the “vaccine” mandates and protect the Pfizer pharmaceutical company from legal liability. However, there is currently no fully licensed COVID shot on the United States market.

        Albeit confusing, and probably intentionally so, this summarizes the current status of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots:

        All existing Pfizer vials (in the hundreds of millions), remain under the federal Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) (meaning people have the “option to accept or refuse”);
        The third or “booster” Pfizer shot is identical to the above and remains under the EUA with limited use to certain categories of people;
        BioNTech received FDA approval for people ages 16 and above under the name Comirnaty, but there are no Comirnaty doses available in the United States;
        In other words, there is currently NO FDA approved COVID-19 injection available anywhere in the United States. Every COVID shot in America remains under the EUA law and thus people have the “option to accept or refuse” them; and
        Even when an FDA approved COVID shot becomes available, individuals are protected by federal law and many states laws from being forced to get these shots based on their sincere religious beliefs or conscience rights.
        On August 23, the FDA issued two separate letters for two separate injections. There are now two legally distinct (Pfizer vs. BioNTech), but otherwise identical products.

        The first letter is regarding FDA’s biologics license application approval for the Pfizer Inc/BioNTech COVID-19 injection which has been named Comirnaty. Yet Pfizer has not started manufacturing or labeling this drug for U.S. distribution, so it is not even available in the U.S. It is unclear whether or not it is protected by a liability shield, but web-based U.S. government communication indicates that the same program that provides compensation for COVID vaccine-related injuries will apply Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program (CICP) rather than the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program). At this point, there apparently has been no compensation paid to people injured by one of the COVID shots via the CICP.

        The Pfizer injection, on the other hand, is still considered experimental under U.S. law. There is a legal difference between products approved under authorization of emergency use (EAU) compared with those the FDA has fully licensed. The FDA issued another letter for the existing Pfizer shots which confirms they are still under EUA, are not fully approved, and has a liability shield.

        EUA-approved COVID shots have a liability shield under the 2005 Public Readiness and Preparedness Act. Vaccine manufacturers, distributors, providers and government planners are immune from liability. People who have been injured can file a lawsuit if they can prove willful misconduct, and if the U.S. government has also brought an enforcement action against the party for willful misconduct. No such lawsuit has ever succeeded.

        That means people must be told the risks and benefits, and they have the right to decline a medication that is not fully licensed. The federal Emergency Use Authorization law and the FDA, including the FDA Fact Sheet, state unequivocally that each person has the “option to accept or refuse” the shots. In addition to federal law, the FDA includes the Nuremberg Code and the Helsinki Declaration on its website, emphasizing the fact that people cannot be forced to take experimental drugs without their full consent.

        The FDA’s approval letter to Pfizer regarding the BioNTech injection, Comirnaty, states: “Under this license, you are authorized to manufacture the product, COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA, which is indicated for active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 16 years of age and older.”

        This letter affirms the FDA has not approved the Pfizer/BioNTech injections for the 12- to 15-year age group, nor any booster doses for anyone.

        Regarding the Comirnaty injection, the FDA admits, “We have determined that an analysis of spontaneous post marketing adverse events reported under section 505(k)(1) of the FDCA will not be sufficient to assess known serious risks of myocarditis and pericarditis and identify an unexpected serious risk of subclinical myocarditis.”

        Therefore, follow up studies will be required with children six months to 15 years as well as six studies for up to five years regarding the adverse effects of myocarditis and pericarditis.

        In addition, the FDA bypassed and disregarded the normal advisory committee and public comment process for this license.

        The letter states, “We did not refer your application to the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee because our review of information submitted in your BLA, including the clinical study design and trial results, did not raise concerns or controversial issues that would have benefited from an advisory committee discussion” (emphasis added).

        The FDA also acknowledges that while Pfizer-BioNTech has “insufficient supplies” (in other words, it is not currently available on the U.S. market) of the newly licensed Comirnaty vaccine actually available. However, the letter also states there is “a significant amount” of the Pfizer-BioNTech shots which has been produced under the EUA and will continue to be offered under the same EUA status. In its approval letter, the FDA specifies the Pfizer shot under the EUA should remain unlicensed, is still available for use, and can be used “interchangeably” with the newly licensed Comirnaty product. According to the FDA, the newly licensed Comirnaty injection and the existing Pfizer shot, while “legally distinct,” are not any different in terms of their “safety or effectiveness.”

        Despite whether these COVID shots are licensed or not, they cannot be mandatory under Title VII. In general, employee vaccine religious exemption requests must be accommodated, where a reasonable accommodation exists without undue hardship to the employer, pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many people hold sincere religious beliefs against taking the COVID shots or taking those derived from or which used at any stage of the development aborted fetal cell lines.

        Title VII defines the protected category of religion to include “all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(j). Moreover, as the EEOC has made clear, Title VII’s protections also extend nonreligious beliefs if related to morality, ultimate ideas about life, purpose, and death. See EEOC, Questions and Answers: Religious Discrimination in the Workplace (June 7, 2008), (“Title VII’s protections also extend to those who are discriminated against or need accommodation because they profess no religious beliefs…Religious beliefs include theistic beliefs, i.e. those that include a belief in God as well as non-theistic ‘moral or ethical beliefs as to what is right and wrong which are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious views.’ Although courts generally resolve doubts about particular beliefs in favor of finding that they are religious, beliefs are not protected merely because they are strongly held. Rather, religion typically concerns ‘ultimate ideas’ about ‘life, purpose, and death’”).

        Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The FDA has apparently tried to deceive people by issuing its two confusing letters without proper explanation. Despite the FDA’s slight of hand, there is currently no FDA approved COVID shot available in the United States. Even if there were an FDA approved COVID shot available, people still may request that employers, schools, and the military accommodate their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

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  2. And it just continues. Take a look at Derrick Henry’s post. Had an extended exchange this morning with an ideologue there who’s original entry was a lie and I called her on it. I’m for choice….make the choice if you want to wear a mask or not, make the choice if you want to get vaccinated or not, but do it on your terms for the reasons you determine. My reasons may….and I expect are…..completely different. But no amount of bullying, insulting or peer pressure is going to encourage anyone to do either and making despicable statements about someone who has passed away is truly sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mayor Henry is paying people to get vaccinated, Sherriff Chitwood is planning to do the same, with everyone’s tax dollars, they both know that folks, low on cash, will line up for the $$$…….
      That’s just not RIGHT!

      Like

  3. dee, de dee.
    Reunite Gondwanaland!
    No to public use of federal money to erect lighted, concrete prayer monument adjoining I95 northbound.

    Like

  4. The most important thing stated within your eloquent writing was presented in the form of a question in the last paragraph. If this country is ever to save itself that one question must be answered. Another important question: Is the devide within our society self inflicted or is it being orchestrated by outside influences as a means of divide with motives to either substantially weaken and or conquer. In either case your absolutely right, the disfunction has become a malignancy which has gotten way out of control. Both the media and some of our politicians have found that fanning the embers of hate gets a lot of attention by which they seem to prosper. Unfortunately it also brings the feeling of empowerment to a lot of societies crackpots and left handed wingnuts that often hide their identities within social media platforms while further recruiting societal hate. These are rather scary times.

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  5. As a retired small businessman and committed anarcho-capitalist I normally despise government employees (such as yourself). BUT, if more government employees were like you I might change my mind.
    Have followed your posts since the beginning and continue to be impressed–KUDOS!
    Mike

    Like

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