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Jerome Christenson: Gravity isn’t an up or down choice

Jerome Christenson: Gravity isn’t an up or down choice

From the COLLECTION: Recent Jerome Christenson columns in the Daily News series
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Jerome Christenson

Jerome Christenson

Rep. Mary Franson isn’t a doctor, she just acts like one speaking from the steps of the Minnesota state capitol.

A week or so ago, she told a sign-waving crowd rallying to protest wearing masks and getting vaccinated. “Only you know what’s best for your health…”

That’s nonsense, and we all know it.

Left to our own devices we make horrible decisions regarding our health every day – the corporate profits of Philip Morris, McDonalds, and Seagram’s attest to that.

And if we’re all autodidact medical experts, what’s keeping all those clinics and hospitals in business and making the payments on your doctor’s new boat?

Yeah, one of the things most of us learn while we’re growing up is that more often than not we’re not gonna be the smartest person in the room – especially when we’re in the doctor’s examining room, talking about sickness and health.

Truth is, the closest most of us come to medical school is a middle school health class taught by the gym teacher and reruns of E.R. or Gray’s Anatomy. We know about Tylenol, Nyquil, and Imodium, but that pretty much draws a perimeter on our pharmacological understanding. We can tell you when our feel-bad hurts, but are at a real loss as to what to do to make it better.

That’s why we go to see the doctor.

Then do as we’re told to do.

Y’know, I’d be willing to wager that Rep. Franson actually does that in real life.

Then we should do as she does, not as she says.

And what are virtually all doctors – real medical school graduates – telling us to do about masks and the COVID vaccine?

Wear them.

Get it.

Why? Because people who aren’t vaccinated, who refuse to mask up are getting sick.

People who’ve gotten the shot, not so much. Not nearly so much.

But Rep. Franson insists this is really all about “choice.”

No, it isn’t.

Without vaccination, viral infection isn’t a matter of your choice. If Franson were a virologist rather than a politician, she would tell you that. The virus doesn’t care if you want it in your nose, your lungs, your body, or not.

If you’re not wearing a mask and you’re infected, it isn’t a matter of choice if you spread it to your grandma, your kids, the pizza delivery guy… You’re spewing infection with every unmasked breath, if you want to or not.

No choice there either – for your or for the folks you’re infecting.

Even so, nobody – certainly not “the government” should tell anyone what to do…or so the argument goes. We’re talking rights, talking freedom here…

That’s wrongheaded too.

Often times, it ain’t up to you.

That’s the way the world works.

There’s no opt out for gravity and getting in the way of Newton’s laws of motion is fraught with dire consequences. And when it comes to putting limits on what we can and cannot do, the folks we live with pretty much pick up where Mother Nature left off. Civilization means taking those choices that would be bad for the lot of us off the table as options for you, me, or the guy down the street.

By and large we see the good sense in that. So we stop at stop signs, yield to pedestrians, wear pants in public, and refrain from acting on homicidal thoughts – even when we feel like doing otherwise. It doesn’t take a particularly deep thinker to understand that, ultimately, what’s good for everybody is good for me too.

Wearing a mask and getting a shot to help stop a pandemic is good for everybody. Good for you too.

If government can require wearing pants in public, adding a mask to your wardrobe doesn’t constitute tyranny. If we needed to be vaccinated for kindergarten as kids, getting one more shot isn’t too much to expect of us.

A matter of choice? Really, who chooses to get sick?



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