On Sunday, I wrote a piece that got a bit of attention. I blamed the GOP for NC State’s dismissal from the College World Series. I got a lot of blowback. Instead, of changing my mind, though, the comments just validated my point.
Half of the NC State players were unvaccinated despite knowing that if they were vaccinated, they would not be tested unless other players on the team were positive. In the case of State, four unvaccinated players tested positive for the virus after the coach mentioned that several players had a “bug.” When the whole team was tested, four more players turned up positive, even though four of them were vaccinated. The team was eliminated since the positives indicated there was obvious spread among State’s players.
Coach Elliot Avent said he didn’t discuss vaccines with his players because he didn’t want “to indoctrinate my kids with my values or my opinions.” He refused to answer reporters’ questions about whether or not he was vaccinated because it was too “political.” Clearly, Avent was more influenced by the people who believe the vaccine is dangerous or that the disease is not that serious. The people living in that reality are steadfast in their loyalty to disinformation.
According to people who took offense at my article, the vaccine is more dangerous than COVID. One commenter said, “there are plenty of people dying today from getting the vaccine and also from contracting covid and dying after they are vaccinated.” Another wrote, “This opinion piece is yet another attempt to pressure ppl into getting a shot that could possibly kill you. Wake up people, you cannot stop this virus, it has to run its course.” Still another complimented me with, “You are what is wrong with this country. You’re an idiot who can’t think for yourself, and you listen to the ‘experts’ who have been proven to be liars… You don’t even understand that these vaccines are killing young men and others.”
Some commenters who dislike experts are experts themselves. One woman commented:
The PCR test are NOT to be used for identification of any virus, disease or illness. Also at what cycle threshold was the PCR test ran at? Was it above 25 cycles? If so, the PCR test could throw a false positive as it is amplified above the recommended cycle threshold of 25cycles.
Now let’s talk about the “vaccinated”. These individuals have entered into a “human experiment” as these vaccines are experimental and NOT FDA approved and are currently in the last 2-3 years of their safety trials. It is UNSAFE for these individuals to be an elect group to participate in social activities such as baseball.
Another science commenter wrote, “The enormous amounts of graphene nanoparticles that are found in the vaccine must have already gotten to the writer’s brain.”
These comments don’t reflect differences of opinions. They reflect a grossly misinformed public that lives in a dystopian reality created and promoted by mostly right-wing communications outlets like Fox News and OAN. According to Pew, 67% of the people who say they will definitely not get vaccinated are Republicans. Their unwillingness to accept the danger of the disease or the efficiency and effectiveness of the vaccine is a threat to our health. Their inability to sort fact from fiction is a threat to our democracy. They are the Republican base.
Republicans who know better have stayed silent while the ignorant right-wing ecosystem has taken hold of their party. They now are too scared to refute the lies that permeate their electorate for fear of alienating their base. In the GOP, disinformation has become more the norm than the exception. Four years of accepting the dishonesty of the Trump administration has left them unable and unwilling discern truth from fiction.
Yes, the Republicans’ cowardice in standing up to the lies of Donald Trump and the right-wing media establishment led to the end the of State’s season. In North Carolina, they found the governor’s attempt to curb the virus more threatening than the disease itself. They spent the pandemic worked up over abuse of executive power while turning a deaf ear to the disinformation transforming their party into a cesspool of misinformation and dystopian nightmares. Now that we have a way out of the pandemic, they are silent as red America remains in the grip of the pandemic from which the rest of the country is emerging. Not only are they costing college baseball teams chances at glory, they’re costing people their lives.