MINOT, N.D. — Our public authorities seem perversely intent on undermining their credibility at a time when we desperately need them to be credible.

They have been since the beginning of the pandemic.

Motorcycle rallies and right-leaning protests against lockdowns were castigated as super-spreader events, but the often violent and chaotic Black Lives Matter protests last year got a pass because ... politics?

It was once deemed so racist to suggest that this COVID-19 outbreak we're all afflicted with started in a Chinese province that the social media giants would censor you for even hinting at it, but it's increasingly looking as though that's a plausible-to-likely scenario, and suddenly we're allowed to talk about it again.

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When the Trump administration first reacted to the outbreak last year with international travel bans, they were deemed unnecessary and racist, but just weeks later, we were even banning travel down to the local pub.

The masking debacle is its own pathetic saga. The needlessly politicized issue has been muddled by experts who first said they were unnecessary, then demanded we all wear one or else, then deemed them unnecessary for the vaccinated, only to, in this present moment, call on the vaccinated to put on masks based on a byzantine maze of recommendations from the CDC.

Even the messaging on the vaccine is confused. Our current president and vice president, back when they were on the campaign trail, saw a political opportunity in sowing doubts about the vaccines in development under the incumbents. The Biden administration is now, correctly, touting the efficacy of the vaccine. Yet the public receives a mixed message when they're also told the vaccinated must comply with new mask mandates and other restrictions.

Since the vaccines work, how about we act like it?

Speaking of which, the FDA still hasn't given final approval to the vaccines millions upon millions of Americans have already put into their bodies. A vaccine that, increasingly, is a requirement for employment at certain businesses and government agencies.

Isn't that a mixed message? Just in the United States, we've seen over 343 million COVID-19 doses administered. How much more data does the FDA need?

A lot of people are out to scorn the anti-vaxxers and, hey, I get it.

They're frustrating.

But not every vaccine-hesitant American, not every citizen dubious toward the often conflicted and ridiculous pandemic policies, is a moron. Some of them are completely rational, entirely thoughtful people who are having a hard time trusting people who, at best, can't seem to help to step on their own feet and, at worst, are motivated by ideological interests.

I believe in the vaccine.

On my doctor's advice, I put it in my body.

On the advice of our pediatrician, I consented to my kids getting the shot.

Despite the foolhardy way the politicians and public health officials have handled the pandemic, I hope you choose the same.

To comment on this article, visit www.sayanythingblog.com

Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.