Yesterday someone named Paul Sussmann wrote a column about Mike Rowe and his recent comments on how public leaders have ruined their own trustworthiness when it comes to the vaccines. Rowe reprinted the column in its entirety and then wrote a response below it. I won’t reprint the column from Sussman (you can read it all here) because I’m only interested in Rowe’s response because it’s brilliant, as always.
In a nutshell, Sussmann seemed to be defending public officials and their trustworthiness to some degree, noting that the science on COVID vaccines is a moving target and thus the recommendations for this or that constantly change – and that’s okay because that’s how science works.
But Rowe responds noting that he agrees the science on this isn’t settled, but hammers again the point of why public officials are so distrusted by the American people on the issue of COVID vaccines. He also explains what he would do to persuade people to get vaccinated if he were president. In short, he would allow the data to speak for itself.
Read the important portion of response below:
The topic you have raised is trust, and like you, I put my trust in science. But that doesn’t mean I believe the “science is settled,” or that telling skeptical people to simply “follow the science” will compel them to do so. In my view, when it comes to persuasion, the only credible thing I can do in this new age of justifiable skepticism, is to tell the six million people on this page that I got the jab, and then – and here’s the really important part – show them that I am unafraid to live my life. Which is precisely what I try to do with photos like these.
Here, you see me early this morning, preparing to fly across the country for the third time in a month, cheek to jowl on another sold-out flight, utterly unconcerned by the number of unvaccinated travelers that may or may not surround me. Why am I unconcerned? Because Joe Biden, Tony Fauci, the CDC, and every scientist I know all agree that vaccinated Americans have just 1 chance out of 160,000 of winding up in the hospital because of COVID. Who wouldn’t love those odds? A single chance out of 160,000? That’s a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percentage. Not a zero percent chance – I get that – but since when did zero risk become a realistic goal? For me, these odds are more than sufficient to allow me to live without fear. And so, I do. The question is, why doesn’t our President?
Last week, as I’m sure you’re aware, moments after assuring the country that the vaccines he and millions of others have taken are “incredibly effective,” President Biden said, “We must now protect the vaccinated workers from the unvaccinated workers.”
You don’t have to be a scientist to hear a message like that and pose a couple of very reasonable queries. 1) If the vaccines are effective, why do the vaccinated need to be protected from the unvaccinated? And 2) If the vaccines are not effective, then why should the unvaccinated get one?
Obviously, no one wants to see our hospitals overwhelmed with unvaccinated COVID patients, including the President. I think we all agree on that. But the issue you have raised is one of trust, and if President Biden wants to be trusted, it seems to me that he should first trust the vaccines he’s demanding we all take. Alas, he doesn’t. Instead, our fully vaccinated President still supports a travel ban that keeps my vaccinated friends overseas from reentering the country. Why? He still wears a mask in public – even when he’s outdoors. Why? Last week, President Biden could have congratulated all vaccinated Americans for getting back to living their lives without fear. Instead, he got angry. He literally accused the unvaccinated of “standing in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to life as normal.” In short, Joe Biden doesn’t appear to be living his life any differently than he did before getting vaccinated. Again, you don’t need to be a scientist see how fundamentally unpersuasive this is to 80 million people who are already skeptical.
Because I’m now trapped on the plane, hidden behind my incredibly comfortable, totally ineffective, yet completely compliant Safety Third mask with nothing better to do, I’ll tell you what I would do if I were President. Along with acting like I trusted the vaccines, I would let the numbers of hospitalization speak for themselves. I would do this by gathering the CEO’s of every television network – broadcast, cable, and streamers – and I would tell them, (or maybe mandate?) that I needed to borrow the upper right hand corner of all their content for the next month or so. Then, in that corner, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on every single channel, I would display a running tally of all the COVID-related hospitalizations around the country, in two separate columns.
In column #1, I’d show the current number of vaccinated patients.
In column #2, I’d show the current number of unvaccinated patients.
That’s it. No more scolding, no more lecturing, no more blaming my predecessor, no more blaming the unvaccinated, no more blaming anyone for making choices that I don’t like. Given our nation’s addiction to television, I believe – in a relatively short period of time – that the shocking and undeniable disparity between the numbers in those two columns would make a far more persuasive case for vaccinations than anything that any President, any politician, any journalist, or any scientist could ever hope to achieve, regardless of their rhetorical ability to persuade. Or for that matter, any narrator. Even the one who tells you every week on The Science Channel, in a crisp, well-modulated baritone, precisely How the Universe Works…
Mike Rowe has more common sense in his dirty fingernail than all of these politicians do collectively. And I love his idea of letting the real data on hospitalizations, when it comes to the vaccinated and unvaccinated, speak for itself without all the public harassment and shaming of people. Rowe is clearly only interested in persuading people without all of the bullying and condescension we see from our Coward-in-Chief and other people of prominence.
Again, you can read the full post by Rowe here. Let me know what you think below.