What do we owe the unvaccinated?

Ira Lacher: Should a person who has done the common-sense thing be mindful of others who have chosen to stay unvaccinated for COVID-19?

In Texas, a doctor can legally discriminate against trans patients, as well as women who have had abortions.

While this seems to empower healers to substitute their Hippocratic Oath with legal immorality, it is hardly an aberration of human behavior. The researchers Fang CuiNing Ma, and Yue-jia Luo have found that the human response to the pain of others — described by some as morality — can differ based on whether we perceive that person to be worthy of a moral response.

“What distinguish[es] moral judgments from other items such as preference, aesthetics or non-moral good and bad,” they wrote, “is that moral judgments entail a belief that someone should be rewarded or punished.”

Or, as Nahum the beggar famously says in Fiddler on the Roof, when given less than his usual alms of two kopecks, “If you had a bad week, why should I suffer?”

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Our failure of federalism

Ira Lacher: Federalism leaves the U.S. with an inability to centralize a means of combating a disease that has killed 607,000 in America. And counting.

“The country is facing a strong resumption of the epidemic touching all our territory. The equation is simple. The more we vaccinate, the less space we leave this virus to circulate.”

Way to go, President Biden! That’s what . . . huh? Oh. That wasn’t President Joe Biden. It was French President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address Monday, explaining why all health care workers in that country are being ordered to vaccinate against COVID-19, and why everyone in France will need proof of vaccination to shop in a mall, eat in a restaurant, or travel by air or rail.

Instead, this was Biden, speaking to reporters in the White House’s South Court Auditorium on July 6:

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What July Fourth Means

A year ago in The New York Times, David Brooks asked us on the Fourth of July to renew our national spirit, asserting that failing to take pride in America has caused many of the inequities and inequalities that have led to our comprehensive failure to conquer the pandemic.

Any such feeling has to include the reality that America was never a single nation to begin with. And that we remain separate nations today, kept apart by ingrained notions that bar too many of us from achieving this country’s promise: that each of us can use what our creator has bestowed upon us to the best of our abilities for the betterment of us all.

We began as a confederation of thirteen separate states, settled by different peoples, with different philosophies of how to live, achieve liberty and pursue happiness. (Many of us did agree, however, on driving out and killing the indigenous peoples.) Other “settlers” of diverse backgrounds came to these shores and added to the stew.

Today, separate Americas remain:

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America is mentally ill. Let's treat it

One in four American adults believe the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” One in four say they won’t get a COVID vaccine. About one in five Americans believe one or more QAnon conspiracy theories.

But it is interesting how closely those numbers correlate with this one: Nearly one in five Americans (52 million) “live with a mental illness.”

The evidence is mounting that our dysfunctional politics are the result of mass mental illness.

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Greater Heights

Ira Lacher ponders growing diversity and anti-immigration sentiment.

I’m coming down off an incredible high — not from a substance I ingested but from a substance I viewed, specifically In the Heights, director John Chu’s cinematic interpretation of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s 2008 Tony Award-winning musical about the dwellers of the Washington Heights neighborhood of Upper Manhattan in New York City.

Many of those residents, and the actors, actresses, and dancers who portray them, are descended from Latino immigrants. Movies being what movies are, all of them display an energy that derives strength from their ancestry, whether from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Ecuador, or other.

But regardless of “cinema o-verite,” that energy from the actual residents is real, and is pure American; the energy of hope, anticipation, and freedom.

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Our pre-existing condition

Ira Lacher: Institutional racism is America’s pre-eminent pre-existing condition. And until we can acknowledge this, we will never rid ourselves of it. -promoted by Laura Belin

Japan has apologized for its actions that precipitated World War II in the Pacific.

South Africa has apologized for apartheid.

Pope John Paul II apologized for the Catholic Church’s historic treatment of Jews and other sins.

Germany has repeatedly apologized for the Holocaust.

America has not only refused to apologize for its institutionalized racism against Black people, but Qpublicans are enacting laws to penalize the fact that it has been a linchpin of our structure throughout history and continues to exist.

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