The percentage of people in Montgomery County currently vaccinated for COVID-19 is lower than in many Indiana and American counties. The number of those recently infected here, primarily among those unvaccinated, is alarming. Please get your vaccination shots. This plea is not official nor from any authority — simply from your neighbor. No matter what your hesitation has been, please help your neighbors.
We don’t want to grieve any more debilitating illnesses or deaths, certainly not yours. Some people say that if you refuse vaccines, you get what you deserve. That doesn’t help anyone.
The number of unvaccinated and infected persons produces burdens on your neighbors. We must go back to wearing masks. Even those vaccinated run the risk of asymptomatic or mild infection and of passing the infection along to others. No vaccine is available for our younger children, so we have to take extra precautions and avoid gatherings to protect them. Schools hope to return to more normal practices in the fall, but that becomes increasingly difficult. Our stores and restaurants face decline and closure. The future of the economy remains clouded, even when the stock market rises, because the COVID Delta variant spreads rapidly here and around the world. A great danger is the anger, division and even violence occurring because those placed at risk take out their frustrations on vaccine resisters.
Each of us is free and has rights regarding what happens to our bodies. We don’t want to see others those rights restricted. However, each of us has responsibilities to our families and neighbors that cause us freely to restrict some freedoms and rights. Every ethical system of which I am aware includes some version of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have would have them do unto you!” (Matthew 7:12) even if it is expressed in negative form, “Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you!” (Confucius, Analects). Please don’t risk giving this terrible and deadly virus to your neighbors. Nor would you wish that neighbors harm you and yours.
Smart people regularly change their minds and their actions. It is no disgrace to do so and get vaccinated. It is easy, without pain or cost, and need not be disclosed to others. Please help your neighbors, your community, and your country. Save us.
Perhaps you have a family member or friend who has resisted receiving the vaccine. It is understandable that you don’t want argue with them. Perhaps asking them to be kind to you and your neighbors, using some of the points in this column, might avoid heated arguments and have some positive impact. If nothing else, share this column with them. If you are a religious leader, even if you have been a vaccine resister, please use your influence to help your neighbors. Please try.
Raymond B. Williams, Crawfordsville, LaFollette Distinguished Professor in the Humanities emeritus, contributed this guest column.