Guest Column

The inconvenient truth is we will live with COVID-19 and its many devilish variants for the rest of our lives. As the nation approaches 80% with at least one dose, the kids can now get the vaccine, and a pill may be soon available. Maybe it’s time for a less polarizing discussion of COVID-19, the vaccine, and the mandates.

Government has multiple roles which at times of crisis are likely juxtapose and in conflict. On one hand they are responsible for setting and enforcing policies which protect the population in total. On the other they are the ardent protector of civil and individual liberties. Private citizens are also faced with similar conflicts. In a civil society we try to support and aid those most needy in our community while we also are passionate about our individual rights. We might be willing to temporarily yield our rights to help those in need.

The obligation to protect the general public and those most needy versus the rights of individuals to choose to cloud the issues surrounding the pandemic. We reluctantly support the social distancing and masks, within reason. We generally support the vaccine and its distribution. However, the imposition of government dictated mandates, to many, crosses the line of individual rights. Is it at all possible for both positions to be reasonably satisfied? Maybe, but the discussion needs to be open and without rancor.

What would be so wrong with both camps stepping back from the line of confrontation and agree on some common goals. Such as, individual rights must be respected and acknowledging there must be individual accountability. The government has the obligation of promoting and defending the greater public welfare by what means necessary, until the crisis is abated.

Therefore, in due consideration, let business set their own standards and policies. Let the government, at all levels, as a major employer, set its policies as it deems necessary and stay out of the private sector decisions. Each company, government included, might consider a decision tree approach to this issue and let the employees decide their own fate. Corporate policy should be to require vaccination but allow for an alternative. Employees who are vaccinated are within compliance of the highest standard. Employees who decide not to be vaccinated should be required to have a weekly test, at their cost, and their insurance rates should be increased commensurate with their probability of elevated medical costs. There shouldn’t be any reason why the taxpayers, or fellow employees, should be paying for, or subsidizing, any testing of those who choose this path. Their rights their responsibility, their accountability. The third branch of the tree is, if the employee chooses not to be vaccinated or tested then they should be terminated. Again, their choice, their accountability. In addition, companies should be allowed to require proof of vaccination or proof of negative test, as well as masks for entry, if they so choose. If a company wants to exclude those with masks or those vaccinated that’s all right as well; it’s their shop. Furthermore, those who knowingly expose others should be held accountable.

Each of us are responsible for ourselves and must be respectful of others. Yet, your rights, and evaluation of risk, should not place others and their families at risks which they deem unacceptable. We must live with this for the rest of our lives; but we don’t have to make it so darn hard. #NeverFeartheDream

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William Barron lives in Bend.

(2) comments

Skittish

oops a couple errors. The government protects individual rights, not the rights of the majority only.

The vaccines were never promoted to prevent infection. It has been studied...

Skittish

Two points. Sure, government can limit individual rights, but has to explain so in detail and prove its point. This hasn't been done with vaccination mandates. The main role of government is to protect individual rights, not minority rights, so protecting those who are in some minority group are protected.

Second, the vaccine was promoted to prevent infection. It has been studied to see if it prevents death and serious infections. Whether or not your neighbor is vaccinated doesn't mean they can't infect you. So why treat the unvaccinated like lepers, when the vaccinated could be argued to more likely infect others as they are more likely to be asymptomatic?

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