If You Want Our Trust, Maybe Quit Lying?
After three years of blatant fabrications and distortions of truth designed to bend our will, public officials claim to be at a loss over how to regain our trust.
“The anti-vaccine movement is on the rise,” Politico moaned in the first of a five-part series exploring what the left-leaning outlet is ironically calling a political movement. “The White House is at a loss over what to do about it.”
You know when you play hide-and-seek with a toddler, and your extra-clever hiding spot is on the couch under a throw blanket the size of a bath towel so your feet and hands and hair are sticking out and it’s been an hour and you’re giggling and wiggling your limbs and that clueless kid still can’t find you?
“A Biden administration that vowed to restore Americans’ faith in public health has grown increasingly paralyzed over how to combat the resurgence in vaccine skepticism,” Politico pouted, stomping its frustrated literary feet.
The article is painful to read, especially when you realize it is intended as actual news reporting and not something in The Onion. You almost have to feel bad for this poor baffled herd of suits who just can’t figure out how to get people to believe a word they say.
It’s all our fault, you see, for having the nerve to take our formerly fringy opinions out of hiding and parade them about for the whole world to see. We are horrifying federal health officials, people, an actual quote from the not-satirical story.
Let’s take a quick jog down Pandemic Lane: “COVID vaccines are safe and effective. It’s just two weeks to flatten the curve. You should do it to protect Grandma. Vaccinated people do not carry the virus. The lab leak theory is bogus. Ivermectin is a useless horse dewormer. We just need to reach herd immunity. Screw your freedom.”
These weren’t casual gaffes; they were blatant fabrications, intentional distortions of truth designed to bend millions into mindless, unrelenting submission.
How could our public officials possibly earn back our trust? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe they could start by not lying to us day after day? That would be a fun twist. Perhaps they could follow up by admitting they are the ones who have been intentionally spreading disinformation all along. They could double down with a promise that if we catch them fabricating facts again, even if it’s just a single fib about the time of day or what they ate for breakfast, or whether or not the check is in the mail, they’ll convict themselves at their own expense.
The sad part is, I’m not even sure that would do it. Maybe our politicians and officials have a right to be puzzled. After all, if I can’t figure out how they might regain my trust, I have a hard time believing they’ll come up with any ideas on their own.
The word misinformation is sprinkled throughout the Politico piece nine times. The author typed anti-vax 21 times. The word truth doesn’t make a single appearance. It’s just a whole lot of head-scratching and quoting of unnamed officials in breathless paragraphs like this:
“Vaccines just saved this country’s ass, and there is no counter,” said another official who was involved with the Covid response. “What is it going to take to make the case that’s obvious?”
I don’t know, sir (or madame). Perhaps a miracle, accompanied by several lost jobs and a sweeping reform of our entire regulatory system? That’s an olive branch I’d consider swinging from.
Freshman CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen, who’s been traveling the country on a national “trust tour,” insists she’s focused on rebuilding the embattled agency with improved transparency and communication by “bringing the best evidence that we possibly can” to the public (while continuing to push boosters and rapid testing, naturally). The thing is, that’s what they promised last time, and we all know how that turned out.
Politico is scrambling to blame-shift because not only is public trust ready for a hospice visit, but the growing anti-establishment movement is threatening to derail the vaccine gravy train for good. From the article: “Just 20 percent of adults got last year’s shot, according to CDC data through May 11, down sharply from the 79 percent of adults who received their initial series of vaccinations in 2021.”
Ask anyone who’s ever been the victim of infidelity how easy it is to forgive and forget. Let’s pretend it’s me (it’s not… my husband Joe is amazing), and the transgression goes something like this: I suspect Joe is cheating. It’s just a hunch but it’s a miserable, nagging feeling I can’t shake off, so I come out and ask him about it. He denies it six ways to Sunday. In fact, he can’t believe I’d accuse him of such a horrible thing. Shamefully, I apologize and try to go back to normal life. Then I accidentally stumble across some evidence, nothing concrete, but enough to embolden me to bring it up again. Not only does Joe continue to deny it, but he calls me paranoid and delusional and gives me the cold shoulder for a week. I do my best to move on (fine, I’ve become a part-time private investigator) when I uncover actual, irrefutable proof of his infidelity. I confront him again. This time I’m pissed. Grudgingly he admits there was a tiny transgression, but it was just the one time, and he was drunk and he’s really sorry, and he’ll never, ever do it again. I briefly consider forgiving him—we have history after all and he does occasionally take out the trash if I nag him enough—but then I learn that it wasn’t just the once, there was no alcohol involved, and he in fact has plans to do it again that very same day.
At this point, he tries to gaslight me — 'it’s your fault it happened at all, you pushed me away with all your accusations and insecurities. Hell, you’re the one who put the idea of cheating into my head in the first place!’
It’s emotional abuse. He’s a liar, a cheater, and a narcissist. It’s unfair and I don’t deserve it. He’s 100 percent wrong and I’m the innocent victim. It may not be my fault that he cheated, but it is my fault if I allow the abuse to continue.
Here’s the thing: Trip me once, shame on you. Trip me twice, shame on me. Trip me 487 times over a miserable three-year period without so much as an acknowledgment, no less an apology, and you can stick your trust bus where the sun doesn’t shine.