When Miss Watson was attempting to sivilize, er, civilize young Huckleberry Finn, she explained to him that he needed to cut out all that smoking and swearing and all that other stuff that made life tolerable because, if he didn’t, he might wind up in “the bad place.”
“She was going to live so as to go to the good place,” Huck recollected. “I couldn’t see no advantage in going where she was going, so I made up my mind I wouldn’t try for it.”
These days there are a lot of people who fancy themselves modern Huck Finns, refusing to live by the rules of civilized society, just because no old maid is going to force them to sit up straight and button their collars and learn about “Moses and the Bulrushers” and hold off eating dinner because “you had to wait for the widow to tuck down her head and grumble a little over the victuals.”
No, by golly, they’d rather form a band of pirates.
Very American, all that, with much to commend it. Also the thinking of a child who — while he was about to embark on a journey that would cause him to care about another human being, marking a major turning point in our national conscience — is no example for responsible adults, much less elected officials.
The other day, Chris Stewart pitched a bit of a Huck Finn fit and announced that, for him, “the good place” is now Vivint Arena. The home of the Utah Jazz has proclaimed that there will be no admittance to the facility for those who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 so, in protest, Stewart will not attend any games there this season.
Even though he says he has been vaccinated. And encourages others to get vaccinated as well.
One might expect that a good Republican such as Utah’s 2nd District congressman would respect the right of property owners to make their own decisions about who will and will not be invited in, on the grounds that admitting too many of the wrong sort of people will threaten the lives of their staff and other customers.
But, I guess, the Jazz don’t refuse to sell wedding cakes to gay people, so it must be different.
“I will never allow a private company to require that I show proof of any medical procedure to visit their facility,” Stewart posted. “I will never carry a vaccination passport. I will never share any of my private medical information with anyone except my health providers.”
Except, by posting his vaccination status on Facebook, he has shared his “private medical information” with the entire world. Unless, of course, one’s vaccination status is not private at all, but a matter of very clear public concern. Which it is.
Stewart’s ridiculous behavior is another example of how most of the people in his party really have nothing to offer their constituents in the way of building a livable society that takes care of its own. So they play to the lesser devils of our nature and encourage us to put individual foolishness ahead of the national interest and every individual’s safety. For fun.
Stewart’s fellow Republican Mike Lee the other day introduced into the Senate nine separate pieces of legislation, all designed to stop the government from implementing vaccine mandates or using federal safety regulations to require vaccines in workplaces.
One of those bills, which would require the feds to disclose any data it has on adverse reactions to COVID inoculations, is really not a bad idea. The rest of them are a childish fit likely to do nothing more than increase the death rate.
Here in Utah, Gov. Spencer Cox demonstrated more intelligence and concern. Even though he doesn’t have the guts to impose any vaccination or mask mandates, he did tweet his support for the Jazz jab requirement.
He even went as far as promising to veto any state legislation that would prohibit employers from making vaccination a condition of employment. The governor still opposes vaccine mandates imposed by government. But he seems to see that, if enough businesses figure out the benefit of such requirements, and the government just doesn’t get in their way, there may be hope.
The New York Times surveyed some big employers, mostly blue state health care systems, and found that employee mandates have pushed compliance upwards of 90%. There have been similar results at American Airlines and Tyson Foods, reaching the levels of coverage we need to get to have the “herd immunity” we’ve been hee-hawing about for a year and a half.
Vaccine mandates work, and we need more of them. They will get us to the good place.
George Pyle, opinion editor of The Salt Lake Tribune, is insufferably proud of himself for getting his third coronavirus shot the other day.