Just when I thought we had cleared the summit (depths?) of recent political madness, there comes the news that a growing number of people, mostly conservative Republicans, are not going to get vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
They think it’s a conservatives vs. liberals thing.
There might be some good reasons for not getting inoculated against a pandemic disease that has created havoc: Killed hundreds of thousands, left thousands more with remnants of disability and decline, locked people in isolation and closed businesses and jobs and school classes and transportation and — well, maybe you’ve heard of it.
Perhaps you have some underlying condition that you know for certain creates physical danger for you — allergic history or whatever. Or you have a deep-seated fear of shots to the point that you’re willing to endure the horror of intubation and weeks confined to feeding tubes etc. — maybe you’ve heard of that, too.
Then, maybe you’re just not ready to adapt to reality. Like the dinosaurs weren’t ready for the changes that did them in. Climate change, so the scientists tell us.
But for some dinosaurs — er, folks — scientists are for the birds. It’s a patriotic duty to stand up for your individualism and defy big government.
After all these years, the word about natural selection and survival of the fittest has not made a dent in some heads. Some misunderstand it; or choose to misinterpret it, lest they be called a lib, or socialist, or worse.
It’s more than fight or flight. More than taking a stand: Being strong and fighting like hell, I think I heard somewhere. More than winning war games.
A big part about survival of the fittest is the ability to adapt. Some species are better at it than others. We’ve heard about the ones that have been good at it; the ones that were not so good, we read about it in books.
You might remember books. They came before talk radio, social media, cell phones and Fox News.
Newspapers? Printing presses, and a guy named Gutenberg? Ring any bells? No.
Adapting means finding the right lane in NASCAR. They all go fast, anyone can hit the wall, most lose more than they win, but the winners know how to adapt in any given race.
Adapting means changing how you pitch to a batter that has taken you out of the yard three times in the last four at-bats. It means, if you’re the batter, when to lay off the pitch that the pitcher has learned you can’t reach.
It means knowing when to run the football and when to kick.
Adapting means figuring out that your body does not do the same thing with six beers a day when you’re 35 that it did one night a week when you were 21. You were 21, right?
Humans have evolved at a much more advanced status than other mammals because of our brains. We learn; or so goes the theory (those lefty eggheads again, with their studies). But even at a very basic level, one learns how to hold a nail in one hand and a hammer in the other and keep the fingers out of the way when the two come together. A big part of this success comes from discovering it is easier when you have not had six beers.
That’s called experience, but if you’re politically opposed to formal education, you can call it learning by experience. Adaptation.
If you wonder how anyone can be politically opposed to education, you must be an intellectual, which means you are likely a liberal, which means you think we should continue to wear face masks even after you’ve had your COVID-19 shots until more people catch up and get their shots, too, just to be careful about the health of those who are still adapting.
But I’m no expert. I’m not a professor, not a scientist or even an educator. I just know this: I made it through my teen years because I made some adaptations that kept my parents from making some harsh adjustments in my attitude.
And it had absolutely nothing to do with politics.
Dean Minnich served two terms as a Republican commissioner but has adapted to become unaffiliated and writes from Westminster. His column runs Thursdays. Email him at Dminnichwestm@gmail.com.