Federal Employees News Digest

It’s not fair, but it’s life

Although the pandemic has put us all in the same boat, some people have much better cabins than others. By a lot. And while saying something is not fair can seem almost childish, especially with half a million American deaths, some things aren’t fair. For instance:

 Big pharma and the government have done the near impossible and  pulled off a minor miracle,  developing, testing and dispensing several vaccines with a very high efficacy rate, if that is the correct term in less than a year.   That is warp speed in that business.  Bottom line is that those of us who get the shots have less chance getting COVID- 19 than we do, most years, of avoiding the regular flu and its regular mutations. The devil, as always, is in in the details.  Now that we have several excellent vaccines, the problem is getting them into arms.  Starting with whose arms:

The nightly news is full of film of massive turnouts of people who want the vaccine.  And, according to the different state and county standards, deserve or need it first.  It also shows politicians and athletes getting the shots which, in theory, is supposed to persuade those of us who are suspicious about its safety.  Many suspect that rich people—from movie stars to athletes—managed to get a shot ahead of people like them who aren’t rich. But life isn’t fair. Some people even bribe schools to get their kids a spot. Stuff happens. 

But what irks my neighbor Harry, is the fact that politicians and officials who are making up the rules for the rest of us got their first.  Irks me too.

It doesn’t bother me that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other top professions got at the front of the line.  They deserve it. And we need them around.  Okay for the president too (sometimes depending on who that is, of course), I guess.  But members of the cabinet, members of congress, my grinning governor and other officials urging us to get our kids back in school when there’s go to private schools with much more space and equipment?  The problem with those deciding officials—and their spouses, kids and who knows else—getting the shots is that it removes 100 percent of the reality from the equation.  Sure, some of them want what is best for us. But some are also looking for votes, or political prizes and the fact that they are off the hook means they, the voice of the people, have no idea what sort of reality the rest of us are living with. 

The only people I know who got shots are, believe it or not, a bunch of men who are 65 or older and residents of Washington, D.C.  I have a friend in Montgomery County, Md., but he had trouble.  So his wife manned the computer, leaned on the refresh button and finally found him a spot and a shot in neighboring Prince Georges County.  Prince George’s has the highest infection rate in the state but lots of folks from more affluent Montgomery get their shots over the line. And out of line.  Not fair, but that’s life.

Governors and legislators, and health officials are now formulating plans for the rest of us.  Some are based on medical data; some on pet projects; some on political correctness and some on compassion. But the people who are deciding who, what, when and where we get the hots, already have theirs.  My daughter, her son and husband got COVID.  They are apparently going to survive but are still having a rough time.  With symptoms we can only imagine down the line.  I have a couple of friends who died.  As, probably do you. Sorry.

But back to the folks who are making what, for some of us, will be life or death decisions. I understand how they got to the front of the line in getting vaccinated.  What I really don’t understand, or agree with, is why? Why them and not the guys who pick up trash once a week? I (we) need them much more than our governor.  Or senator.  Or head of the board of education.  Would officials be in such a hurry to open things and send kids (and even more vulnerable adult teachers) back to the classroom if they had a stake in the issue? Some of them are no doubt married to teachers, have children, etc. But odds are, the teacher spouse has an office job that doesn’t put them in touch with 30 to 40 kids five days a week. And for those with kids, odds are good they are in special schools because they are gifted, talented and can pay for it.

Life isn’t fair. Never was, never will be.  But before the next catastrophe, why don’t we change the rules so that most if not all of us—the grunts—get our shots BEFORE our glorious leaders. Might change the speed and efficiency of the rollout of a solution.  Fast.

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