Terrorism by white nationalists is a dangerous form of violence in our country. We have vaccines as safe as mother’s milk. Yet some whites spew out rage and cruelty towards others and refuse to protect themselves, their families, and communities. It’s silly, passive-aggressive behavior not to get vaccinated or wear a mask when needed. Why are we so naive?

Two reasons come to mind:

1. Many of us are misled by Republicans who weaponize disease to get elected on the backs of the dead. Some of us get ‘news’ from social media and ignorant talk show hosts. Three anti-vaccine hosts have died of COVID in the past month; I take no pleasure in that fact.

2. Many of us trusted doctors who recommended opioids for pain. The result was (and is) catastrophic. Doctors prescribed the stuff like candy. When the government stopped them, addicts switched to heroin tainted with fentanyl. Many died. We no longer trust experts.

Don’t get me wrong. I get it—burn me once, your fault; burn me twice, my fault—but this isn’t that. A good vaccine, and the ones we have are fantastic, fights disease. The right mask, worn properly, protects us all, including our children.

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Here in Fargo-Moorhead, I watched Moorhead agitators demand the local School Board bring kids back to school without masks. It was a sad sight. Parents should serve as role models for kids. Instead, I saw ignorance, rudeness, and disruption. (We’ve since learned from Mike McFeely that the most disruptive attendees showed up, like drunk juvenile delinquents, when the chairman of the Clay County Republican Party triggered them to make trouble.)

In Fargo, disgruntled parents want to recall responsible members of the Fargo School Board. Why? Because, one parent says, it’s “tyranny” to protect children from a virus that can put them on ventilators or kill them. No ma’am, it’s not tyranny. Far from it. You must have missed class the day they taught how viruses make us sick. It’s common sense. It’s science. It’s freedom. It’s good citizenship to wear masks to protect your kids. Doing otherwise, putting us in danger so you can shout slogans, isn’t liberty. It’s disregard for the facts.

The vaccine is good medicine. The Pfizer vaccine is now fully approved. (There goes one of our excuses.) Once vaccinated, our chances of ending up ventilated or dead are not zero, but they’re way better than walking around without a mask or vaccine while the delta variant rages. It’s trusted medicine made specifically to combat the virus. So are monoclonal antibodies if infused in an infection’s early stages. Use what works. Trust the science, not the internet. The vaccines are free, by the way, so it’s not as if we need to use bleach or horse dewormer (which fights parasites, not viruses) to save money.

When it comes to masks, I get it. I don’t like wearing them. But I do. We can find a style that fits and lets us breathe in close quarters until delta subsides. Not because we like them—who does?—but because they help keep us safe through a public health crisis.

If you’ve had COVID, you have some protection, but there’s no live virus in the vaccine. We can’t catch COVID from it; it makes our immune response stronger.

I’m not a scientist, far from it, but I didn’t miss class the day they taught this basic stuff. I’m one of you. Let’s stand with our brothers and sisters of every race and creed. Get vaxed. Wear a mask.

Alan Davis lives in Moorhead.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.