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Do you remember when you first began thinking like an adult? How old were you? I remember thinking I was an adult at around fifteen. I had all the answers. Boy, was I smart. It took only a few years for me to realize how not-so-smart I was. I began reflecting upon how I was raised, why I rebelled against authority, and how important it is to understand the other side of anyone’s story before passing judgement. Adulthood, I realized, required a lot more curiosity than certainty. The older I get, the more opportunities I have to realize that my initial thoughts or reactions were out of line. The older I get, the less wise I feel.

It seems many of my countrymen don’t share my humility. As of this writing, only 57% of the American population is fully vaccinated against Coronavirus. Of course, no vaccine is available for roughly 22% of of our population—the under-12 group. That leaves about 21% of the population who willfully refuse to heed the advice of scientists whose lives are dedicated to the scientific method in the pursuit of saving lives.

In addition to refusing the vaccine, this vociferous faction also refuses to wear a mask, usually citing “personal freedoms” as the reason. Among this group are people who don’t “believe in” the seriousness of COVID-19, don’t “believe in” the efficacy of mask-use to hinder the spread of the virus, but who do believe that the vaccines are a government plot to “chip” American citizens for some nefarious reason. (Man is our government powerful to be able to produce and promote a means of “chipping” the whole world!)

Never mind that in America, alone, 614,531 people have died from Coronavirus or complications of the virus in conjunction with underlying health vulnerabilities. Just for perpsective:

Number of DeathsEventDuration of Event
620,000 (military personnel)Civil War4 years
614,531 (general population)Coronavirus Pandemic<2 years
405,399 (military personnel) World War II6 years
116,516 (military personnel) World War I>1 year
58,209 (military personnel) Vietnam War8 years
36,516 (military personnel) Korean War3 years

And the deaths are not just in America. Worldwide, 4,449,348 people have died of COVID. (That figure does not include the number of people who have died in countries that don’t even bother to track such data). That’s over FOUR MILLION people in less than two years!!! Yeah. It’s just the flu. And you do not owe it to your family, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens to take precautions — even if you don’t necessarily “believe” that the precautions will have a positive effect. You don’t owe your fellow citizens a damn thing except to make sure no one’s personal rights are violated. Personal rights are way more important than the common good —the health, safety, and sanity of your fellow citizens. That there is some real adult thinking.

Expanding this line of thought to my state legislators and vociferous Idaho voters who refuse to explore what Critical Race Theory is, and why it may be important to consider its impact in our daily lives. Or to explore what scientists have learned about gender fluidity through research into genetics, neurobiology, and endocrinology. When did these people stop asking questions? Did they ever ask questions? When we stop asking questions and start making proclamations, when we start shoving people around because we don’t agree with their thinking, when we presume that our thinking is the only correct thinking, and that everyone must climb on board and agree, we are not behaving like adults. We are behaving like truculent adolescents.

It’s time for the adolescents to go back to school and learn how to think and to empathize. Let’s let some oxygen in so the adults in the room can run the show.