Back in 2006 I was dating a woman who was a nurse, and that was my first insight that the job was more hellish than most people thought, even back then. I was a blood donor and had been since I was able to donate. Every time the Red Cross sent me a notice I was sticking my arm out to be stuck. Most of the people I worked with would donate, too. At one point management put us in shifts so the office wouldn’t be empty.
Giving blood wasn’t something that we were being paid to do, or that we thought would benefit us in some way, no, it was an easy way to help other people who really needed the blood, so everyone was happy to give.
In 2006, the Red Cross sent me a letter saying that I had come down positive for what they called a “NAT Test” which mean my blood had tested positive for one of the antibodies found in HIV. A retest came back negative. But because the first test was positive, from that point until the day I died, I could never give blood again. My nurse friend was overly cautious, as you can well imagine. I was tested for AIDS once a month for six months, and each test was negative. I get tested once a year on my annual checkup, too. Nothing but negative tests. But I keep getting tested.
But let’s go back even further in time. Before anyone could go to a public school they had to have a series of vaccinations. measles, whooping cough, and a host of other diseases were still around and still making people sick. I had a smallpox vaccination as a child. I had another when I joined the Army, which is an organization which believes in people getting shots. The biggest fear the military has is a plague running unchecked through the ranks. Once, and not very long ago either, a soldier was more likely to die of illness than war wounds.
Here we are in the present day. Not only are people not wearing masks, not getting the vaccine, and not doing everything they can to help others, but they are deliberately doing the exact opposite. They are also taking unproven and dangerous medications, simply because they heard someone say it might work.
Cattle dewormer is the latest fad in the anti-vaccination crowd, and it’s gotten to the point of absurdity. Even as I write this there are college football games being played with packed audiences, hundreds of thousands of people, as if there isn’t a plague raging across America.
Some of what is happening is driven by the Greedists, who put money above all other considerations. Some of it is driven by people who view every action in their lives as a political statement, and no matter the consequences, they will vote with their actions right down the party lines. Some of this is driven by people who simply do not have the wherewithal to understand science, and that’s a debate to be had about the American public school system.
But the end result is we’ve stopped caring about one another. We’ve stopped putting America first. We’re so wrapped up in what we want, what feels good for us, the individual, that the whole nation can suffer if it makes each one of us feel good.
AIDS, by the way, got out of hand for the very same reasons, among the infected, who refused to care, or be careful.
There are lessons to be learned from other plagues, but we refuse to learn them.