Today I got my second vaccination shot. Lots of people have strong opinions about the vaccine. People have strong opinions about everything these days.
When I got sick from that awful virus in October, I formed a few strong opinions of my own. I never want to be that sick again. So, when the vaccine became available, I wanted to take it.
This was not my first vaccine. I have a scar from a smallpox vaccination. Most readers don’t have one of those, because Americans stopped getting that vaccine in 1972 when smallpox was declared gone in the United States. If it ever comes back, though, I’m ready.
I am also vaccinated against measles, mumps, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, rabies, and kennel cough. Maybe those last two were for my dog; it’s hard to keep track.
I’ve been meaning to get one for shingles. Everyone I know who had shingles hated it. When the health department can start doing those again, I think I’ll ask for it.
Some folks don’t want any vaccines. That’s really none of my business. I don’t intend to ask anybody about their status.
If they want to risk infection from any of those things, it’s their choice. I believe that the vaccines I have received do their job. I do not fear polio, because my vaccination works.
I will not criticize you publicly or privately for your personal health decision.
Not everybody feels that way, though. Today, I made a friendly social media post to announce my vaccination. Don’t make fun: most of you have posted a picture of your dinner plate.
I got some friendly comments from several folks. One person, though, messaged me to tell me that people who take the vaccine are “pure evil.” Apparently, according to this person, I “bought into the devil’s lies.”
Now I don’t get called “evil” every day — this got my attention. I thought for a second about what nefarious act I might have committed by protecting myself from a disease.
Just a second, though. I quickly concluded that I don’t have to have the same beliefs as other people. I told the person to have a nice weekend, then I turned my attention to something else.
Why would a person insult a stranger like that? The Lord told each of us to treat others the way we want to be treated. There are thousands of laws and rules in life. Most of them are covered by just doing that.
Treat other people how you want to be treated. Be an adult.
Most of us use social media for important things. We post pictures of our dinner and of our pets. We wish one another happy birthday. We share really silly jokes, and we share videos of people doing funny things.
Some of us aren’t happy enough in life to do those things, though. Some of us have to pick fights.
We all have political views, and everyone has expressed a negative political view on social media at one time or another. We’re human.
We should, however, try to act like grown-ups. We should act that way at work, at home, in public, and online. Have you ever watched a parent scream at the officials in a children’s sporting event? Don’t be that guy.
We can do better. We can disagree without being jerks. We can have the strongest of opinions, and still treat others the way we want to be treated.
Someday maybe a smart doctor will invent a vaccination that keeps adults from acting like reckless children online.
I’ll go get that one, too. We all should.
Mike Daugherty is Judge of the Clinton County Municipal Court.