The Gazette ran an editorial cartoon recently by Michael Ramirez depicting a new arrival standing in the heavenly clouds in front of a winged admissions officer, perhaps an angelic St. Peter. The man was bewildered about the cause of his death and God’s reaction to it, leading to his premature appearance the Pearly Gates. He said, “I had faith. I took Hydroxychloroquine and Ivermectin … Why has He forsaken me? St. Peter replied, “We gave you an assortment of vaccines. What more do you want?”

If I interpreted Ramirez correctly, his point was that while the drugs the man took to treat COVID have had some success (but obviously not for him), it’s even better not to contract it in the first place, which is the role of the vaccines.

I should also note that Ramirez is absolutely brilliant in his craft and stands out as the preeminent, syndicated conservative editorial cartoonist in the country.

The editorial staff of the Gazette is, likewise, proudly conservative, as am I. The aforementioned, have taken a public stance in favor of public policy regarding the vaccines, as has the great majority of Americans. It’s one of the few things in these divisive days that the majority Americans of all political persuasions viewpoints agree about.

Many prominent Democrats and liberals publicly opposed the vaccines when Donald Trump was president simply because an election was coming up and they didn’t want him to get the credit for it. They hypocritically overcame that reluctance as soon as Joe Biden was elected.

While almost everyone favors the vaccines, disagreement arises over whether anyone should be required to take them. And the core of that opposition seems to be mostly on the political right. I like the Fox News Channel. I’m delighted it stands as a beacon of conservatism in the liberal-dominated TV media. But, in my view, Fox has gone overboard in showcasing those who oppose reasonable requirements to take the vaccines as a “matter of principle.” If they believe most of their audience expects that, they might be mistaken.

I emphasize “reasonable” requirements advisedly. I well understand the principle some conservatives are defending in their opposition to COVID vaccine requirements. They instinctively and sincerely don’t want to be forced to do things by the government. Neither do I. But in this case, I believe they’re taking that principle to an irrational extreme and causing unnecessary damage to others and to themselves.

George Will once noted that four vital words must always be considered when thinking about the Constitution and its protection of individual rights. Those words are: “up to a point.” Our First Amendment rights are not absolute. Free speech doesn’t extend to libel or slander, even by the press. Freedom of religion isn’t absolute; for example, it doesn’t allow human sacrifice. Peaceful assembly doesn’t abide trespassing or blockage of thoroughfares and sometimes requires government permits. Our Second Amendment right to bear arms doesn’t apply to machines guns and explosives. Our Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches without probable cause doesn’t bar the TSA from searching you at airports.

I join with those, on the principle and on the law, who oppose a federal mandate on Americans to take the vaccine. But no such mandate has been made and would likely be unconstitutional if it were. However, governments at all levels can legally require its workers to get vaccinated, as a condition of employment, to protect other workers and patrons, as can businesses, schools and sports teams. Workers are free to refuse but must be prepared to find another job if they do.

But absolutism shouldn’t apply to these requirements, either. For example, exceptions may be made for those who’ve had COVID and now have natural antibodies, and for those few who would suffer a serious allergic reaction; but not for disingenuous religious beliefs.

The Air Force recently discharged 27 younger service members, all in their first enlistment, for refusing a lawful order to take the vaccine. That’s unfortunate. Some might regret this later in life. At least, I was glad to hear that this won’t be treated as a dishonorable discharge on their record. Some police officers and even truckers have also resisted.

To all of those and others, I make this plea. The very low risk to your health of taking the vaccine, is overwhelmed by the much greater risk of contracting the virus, of getting seriously ill, or dying from COVID or co-morbidities if you don’t take the vaccine. Please be sensible. Take it!

Michael Rosen is an American radio personality and political commentator.

Michael Rosen is an American radio personality and political commentator.

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