I have read various articles explaining the mentality in states like Arkansas and Missouri as to why they have such low vaccination rates. One prominent explanation is that many people in those states are offended at the notion that they’re being told what to do, and they’re being told to get a vaccine, wear masks and socially distance.
While those of us in this rarefied, overpriced and over-educated section of the Northeast would never identify ourselves with the likes of people in Missouri and Arkansas, I think there is a possible similarity.
Any of us who have been watching the news over the past few days realize that the Delta variant is on the rise, it is highly contagious, and the only defense against it besides being vaccinated is to mask up whenever possible and spend time in places where we can socially distance. I anticipate a huge blowback on the part of the people in this part of the country who also don’t like being told what to do.
In our case, we’re being told to suspend our party-going and socializing and do what is socially responsible. We are being asked to wear masks when it’s inconvenient and spoils our lipstick, and to remain socially distanced when we would rather be breathing all over each other while chatting at cocktail parties. I anticipate we will be offended by these demands and not want to believe that this nightmare is happening again.
So will we behave like the people in Missouri and not do the right thing simply because we don’t like being told what to do?
We were exemplary during the worst part of COVID, but we’ve now had a taste of what our old life was like, and it’s very, very hard to give it up. And yet that is what we will be asked to do, if not right now I assure you in the coming weeks.
We will be faced with asking ourselves, “Are we Missouri?”
Paula Angelone, Ph.D.
One fine body…