Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: A message of unity in the New Year

Division. Really? Is it possible to divide the human family? I believe not, but it is impossible to deny the many attempts throughout history. Ultimately, we all live together on this beautiful planet, breathe the same air and end up in the same place in the end. In quantum physics, it is called “quantum entanglement,” meaning that no matter how far apart two particles may be in space, they share a common, unified quantum state and their states remain linked. And so it is for the human family.

Attempts at division have ranged from religion, race, country of origin, gender, sexual orientation, and the list goes on and on. The newest form is what people are referring to as “vaccinated vs. unvaccinated.” The concept is basically that these two groups of people are a threat to each other and there is no room for understanding or acceptance of the other group’s view.

Of course these views and reasonings will always be present and indeed are valid and should be respected. One group states that everyone who can should get vaccinated to help curb the spread of this virus and protect the vulnerable. Furthermore, they point out that the vaccines have been proven safe and effective. The other group states that they are worried about vaccine side effects, and that many of the highest vaccinated countries and states are experiencing higher surges than their less-vaccinated counterparts. They insist that they would rather take the risk with the virus than the vaccine and use the phrase “my body, my choice.” These are just a few of the main talking points from each group, but what I really want to highlight here is that it seems neither group is likely to change their position any time soon.

This brings us to the very important crossroads we find ourselves at presently. One where, I believe, our next steps may have crucial long-lasting effects. There is a movement now to limit the rights of those who have chosen to not become vaccinated, and these limitations include the right to work. Now, in a capitalist society, one needs money to provide for self and family. If one cannot work, it can be argued that one cannot survive, or at least cannot adequately provide for self and family. And we are not talking about a minute percentage of the population here. Currently, roughly 27% of the adult population of our country is unvaccinated against SARS-CoV-2, and there are racial and economic disparities. So, regarding vaccine mandates, we are faced with the question of whether we are willing to disallow over one-quarter of our adult population the right to work. What will the individual and societal costs of limiting the rights of the unvaccinated be? Would we, over time, be further widening the illusionary divide between people and even potentially create a separate class of people who may eventually choose to revolt to reclaim their basic human rights? These questions are complex and involve morals, science and, unfortunately, politics.

I don’t pretend to have the answers to the above questions, but I do believe we should think long and hard about our critical next steps. Is there a way we can live in peace with one another despite our different views? Is it really possible to create a peaceful society which values gross domestic happiness over gross domestic product? Real human interaction over virtual worlds and A.I.? To these questions, I do know the answers, and so do quantum physicists. The only real question is when we will get there and how.

David Nulsen

Middlebury

 

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