I have to ask, gentle reader, if there comes a point, any point, when you will accept your responsibility for what your decisions have wrought upon your community? In an age of personal non-accountability (with President Bill Clinton as the era’s poster-child) the current phase we are in appears to be setting a new bar for reckless turpitude.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not writing this piece to rehash the subjective arguments some of you are pretending to have. Rather, I am writing because it is past time to recognize, with the demise of this year’s Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, that national political divisions and biases are now hitting us at home, where we work, live and play.
Or put another way: The free exercise by some people of our “freedom” have killed the Pumpkin Festival (and too many people to count) for this year. Those personal exercises of freedom have thus materially harmed everyone in our community, costing us more than $1 million in revenue to the community.
It should be blatantly obvious in a functioning society that your personal choices are fine, at least up to the point where they harm someone else. When your personal exercise of your “freedom” to not mask up, or perhaps even more importantly to not get vaccinated, results in mass deaths, and even the cancellation of important events in our community, then it is time to take a deep breath and acknowledge that freedom is not just the right to do whatever you want, it’s also a societal right not to be unduly harmed by the reckless actions of other people. (This is why we have speed limits that obviously interfere with your “freedom” to drive at whatever speed you wish. They protect the community and you too for that matter, and we obey them for the obvious reason that to fail to do so places others at risk — and ourselves at risk of a ticket.)
Simple math shows that our latest local casualty — the loss of the Pumpkin Festival — is without question attributable to those of you who have chosen not to be vaccinated as a matter of choice. (Rather than for an ostensibly legitimate health reason, for which I confess I cannot imagine such a thing, but still …)
It is fact that the choice to remain unvaccinated is now affecting our community (and our nation) and it’s time for those who have made this choice to personally acknowledge that fact and reckon with both the damage that you have done, as well as the damage you are continuing to do by remaining unvaccinated.
Before you protest too much, let’s be honest once again: The math proving your culpability is inescapable. In the current surge of cases, roughly 90 percent of infections and more than 99 percent of hospitalizations are in the unvaccinated population. This disparity, despite the paradoxical truth that 54 percent of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated and 46 percent remain unvaccinated.
As to the role your choice to remain unvaccinated is playing in the current outbreak, please consider that on Sept. 9 there were roughly 149,000 infections confirmed in the United States. The 179 million Americans who have been vaccinated infected a paltry total of approximately 14,000 people. On the other hand, our 150 million unvaccinated folks managed to infect 130,000 fellow Americans.
Right now, the unvaccinated among us are infecting other Americans at a rate of nearly 1 million people per week! And a quarter of those people are children.
All of which brings me back to the beginning of this piece and the idea of personal responsibility and accountability. When I meet you in the market, or on the street, I have no way of knowing if you have been vaccinated or not. For the most part I also don’t know your politics. None of us do. Only you can possibly know these things, as only you can choose to accept what is real and what isn’t.
It’s past time for all of us to accept our responsibilities to our community, our neighbors, our family and ourselves. If we don't, this is not going to be the last Pumpkin Festival we will miss, and this pandemic will continue to extract its deadly toll on all of us, one life and one festival at a time.
David Eblovi is a resident of Half Moon Bay.