NOTE: This fictional conversation is not intended as medical advice for anyone. It is merely an attempt to explain why many Southerners have refused to let themselves be coerced into getting a treatment around which there still swirls a host of questions and concerns. The quotes from Dr. Fauci are real (with minor edits for flow) and clicking on his name links to the source of each quote.
Plain-folk Southron, Edwin: Gracious, it seems we have upset you mightily, Dr Fauci. Look at yourself – spluttering all kinds of impolite things about the South!
Dr Fauci: ‘I think there’s no reason not to get vaccinated. Why are we having red states and places in the South that are very highly ideological in one way, not wanting to get vaccinations – vaccinations have nothing to do with politics.’
Edwin: Well, sir, we agree there. But our deciding to forego your COVID shots has less to do with politics than actual science.
Dr Fauci: ‘Attacks on me, quite frankly, are attacks on science. Because all of the things that I have spoken about consistently from the very beginning have been fundamentally based on science. Sometimes those things were inconvenient truths for people, and there was pushback against me. So if you are trying to get at me as a public health official and scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science. And anybody that looks at what is going on clearly sees that. You have to be asleep not to see that.’
Edwin: Do try and stay calm, Dr Fauci. This isn’t personal. Despite what you may have heard living up there in New England and within the pale of the Washington City bureaucracy, we’ve made some pretty good strides here at the South. Most of us can read now, and what we’ve seen about COVID and its treatments doesn’t incline us to follow your recommendations.
We see, for instance, that there are lots of reports of dangerous blood clots resulting from the shots intended to protect people from COVID; that they also pose an unusually high risk for children and young adults; that natural immunity is much more effective and long-lasting than that conferred via inoculation. And then there is the moral objection of folks to taking a medication that was developed using tissue from aborted babies.
Together with all that, we believe like the Psalmist: ‘For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.’
God has something to say about our bodies, not just the a-religious scientist.
Dr Fauci: ‘There are a lot of things about organized religion that are unfortunate, and I like to stay away from it.’
Edwin: That explains a few things. Be that as it may, you have to remember, Doctor, that people are not machines. Yet that’s the mindset of those who made and are promoting the COVID shots. Dr Charles Hoffe of Canada put it like this:
‘We now know that only 25 percent of the ‘vaccine’ injected into a person’s arm actually stays in your arm. The other 75 percent is collected by your lymphatic system and literally fed into your circulation so these little packages of messenger RNA, and by the way in a single dose of Moderna ‘vaccine’ there are literally 40 trillion mRNA molecules. These packages are designed to be absorbed into your cells. . . . Your body then gets to work reading and then manufacturing trillions and trillions of these spike proteins. Each gene can produce many, many spike proteins.’
A lot has changed since the War, Dr Fauci, but it is still engrained in the nature of Southerners to prefer rural ways to the factory and to industrialism in general. We want, like St John the Apostle, for everyone to ‘be in health’ (III John 2), but we prefer to reach that goal by more humble, earthy, and natural means than by ‘hacking the software of life’ with mRNA gene therapy shots – maybe some ivermectin or Vitamin D, or even an old-fashioned vaccine with a bit of dead germ in it, treatments that work with the body rather than force it to do things it wouldn’t ordinarily do. Because of all that, we are supportive of people who have decided, after examining the evidence, that they would rather not be part of this ongoing mRNA experiment.
Dr Fauci: ‘It’s horrifying, cheering about someone saying it’s a good thing for people not to try and save their lives. I just don’t get it. I don’t understand that.’
Edwin: It’s not that difficult to understand. COVID isn’t the first disease we’ve dealt with here at the South – yellow fever, cholera, pellagra, and the like. But when it comes to the advice we take, we’re not too fond of one-sidedness, overly trusting in the secular, rationalistic, scientific ideology. Even one of the former editors of The New England Journal of Medicine recently admitted, ‘It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.’
We’ve had our share of medical pioneers here – Ephraim McDowell, Marion Sims, Crawford Long – but we still like to spend plenty of time contemplating what is eternally true and unchanging, the Gospels or the exalted spiritual poetry of St Ephraim the Syrian or some other Christian work, rather than the latest scientific theories that are here today and gone tomorrow.
Ultimately, as we were saying before, this all plays a role in forming our belief that bodily health isn’t just a matter of good physical hygiene or the latest scientific advances, but that it also involves good spiritual health and discernment as well.
Dr Fauci: ‘We have some sort of a schism between some states and some areas that have a very low level of vaccination, which is really unfortunate because we want to make sure those people are protected for their own safety and their own life, but that of their family in their community.’
Edwin: A schism – unfortunately so. But have a look at yourself if you want it to heal. Southerners don’t take kindly to meddling from distant centers of authority. Twice we’ve fought wars when outsiders began to innovate where traditional customs and policies should have remained in force. If we were willing to cut ties with King, Parliament, and Sister States over bad leadership, you can be sure that we will have little compunction over ignoring dictates from medical bureaucrats like yourself whose communications have shown a willful effort to deceive the public.
Dr Fauci: ‘If you’re not vaccinated, you should be concerned.’
Edwin: (**Sigh**) Our rhetorical sparring is becoming a little tedious. Perhaps we should lay down our weapons for now. Have a pleasant evening, Doctor.
Around the still waters of the lake,
We hail our kinsmen and shyly stutter
Out a greeting to shorten the distance
That has grown up between us after a year
Has passed. But as the gap closes
And we rejoice in the communion
Of those standing visibly with us,
We become aware of a deeper mystery,
The lingering presence of those
Who have gone before us – like the fresh smell
Of rain after an evening shower –
There are Percy and Mittie Mae,
James and Percene, Raiford and Jesse;
There are Melba Ruth and others left unnamed.
Our love for them and one another
Hollers after them and brings them
To our midst. And the highest form of love,
As our Savior taught and showed us,
Is self-sacrifice. May we, then, tear up
Our comfortable schedules as often
As we can, offering them like fatted calves
Upon the altar of fidelity
To our family, that the past would not be
Forgotten, that our dear ones who have
Preceded us in death would not fade
Away, but rather that they may abide
With us, and with our children’s children,
Until our Lord’s return, when death will
No longer separate us from their
Joyful faces nor their tear-filled embraces.
Walt Garlington is a chemical engineer turned writer (and, when able, a planter). He makes his home in Louisiana and is editor of the 'Confiteri: A Southern Perspective' web site.