Comedian, musician, host of Chris Crofton's Advice King Podcast and former Nashvillian Chris Crofton asked the Scene for an advice column, so we gave him one. Crowning himself the “Advice King,” Crofton will share his hard-won wisdom with whosoever seeks it. Follow Crofton on Facebook and Twitter, and to submit a question for the Advice King, email bestofbread[at]gmail[dot]com or editor[at]nashvillescene[dot]com.
Dear Advice King,
How do I explain to my Republican father that getting the vaccine isn’t a “personal choice”? In my opinion, it is not a question of “freedom” because carrying the virus inhibits other people’s freedom. I know the vaccine doesn’t eliminate the risk of infection, but it lessens it. I have told him that it is his responsibility, as a Christian, to lessen his chance of infection for the sake of others. This has not worked. What should I do? I am starting to hate my dad.
—Tammy in Nashville
COMPASSION IS NOT WEAKNESS. BEING RESPONSIBLE IS NOT WEAKNESS. EMPATHY IS NOT SOCIALISM. Compassion, empathy and being responsible are the main reasons we have a CIVILIZATION. If no one had ever cooperated, we would all still be hunter-gatherers. And if no one ever took a government-approved vaccine, we would be hunter-gatherers with polio.
Republicans have gone mad.
This all started when Republican President Donald Trump said, regarding COVID, stuff like, “It’s going to disappear — one day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” And even worse, “By the way, on Nov. 4, you won’t hear about it anymore.” What he meant by that last thing, in case you didn’t get it, was: "The Democrats are making this shit up to ruin my presidency." He was saying that COVID was not real. He was saying that COVID was a political tool — fake news. And he wasn’t the only prominent Republican saying this kind of stuff. Republican Senator Ted Cruz said that if Biden got elected, “The week after the election, suddenly all those Democratic governors, all those Democratic mayors will say, ‘Everything’s magically better.’ ”
Republicans like to pretend we live in a “shining city upon a hill” — where reality, including diseases, can’t intrude.
“What, me worry?” —Alfred E. Neuman, also Republicans
Worrying is reframed as weakness in that imaginary, shining, Republican hill-city called America.
And guess what. All the shining hospital beds in the shining city are full. The worrying was justified.
OK, that’s enough about Republicans. I hate that Americans have been divided (pretty much down the middle) into two parties. Both parties are funded by the same corporations. We are all being manipulated. I hate that, but that’s a different topic, for a different day. I only mention Republicans because they’re the ones trying to swagger through a pandemic. Diseases know no party.
Back to polio. How does your father explain why he got the polio vaccine? Is it because his parents loved him and didn’t want to get polio? Partly. It is also MANDATED by the government of the United States for any child who wants to attend school. It is MANDATED because even if your dad’s parents had been OK with HIM getting polio (for some strange reason), the government of our COUNTRY, our SHARED SPACE, our CIVILIZATION, would not allow him to contract polio, go to school, AND GIVE IT TO OTHER PEOPLE.
Fun Fact No. 1: COVID-19 is a disease that you can give to other people.
That’s why your dad got the polio vaccine. The other people that he shares the “shining city” with FORCED HIM TO. Not because they wanted to take away his freedom, but because they have to LIVE WITH HIM, in a SOCIETY. And go to school, drive on roads and eat in restaurants with him. In short, because your dad is not a fucking hunter-gatherer. Ancient hunter-gatherers did not have Dodge Ram trucks or cable television — and they did not have vaccines — because they did not live in a SOCIETY. We do.
Get vaccinated, you selfish, political idiots. COOPERATE WITH EACH OTHER or there will be no more Dodge Rams or cable television or — most importantly — PUBLIC HOSPITALS, with open beds.
Fun Fact No. 2: Unless your dad likes having his car hit by uninsured drivers, he likes mandates.
I must mention that my friend Betsy Phillips, a fully vaccinated person who writes for this publication, has been unable to get surgery for a potentially life-threatening illness because there are not enough open hospital beds in Nashville. You can read about it here, and here. Guess who’s taking up all the beds. Unvaccinated COVID patients, that’s who.
Nashville likes to talk about how great and special it is. There are murals all over town celebrating how much Nashville allegedly cares about its neighbors. Cleaning up after a flood is not a reason to declare yourself special — every town that gets flooded cleans up! Do you think towns usually close down after floods? They don’t. And they don’t spend so much time patting themselves on the back for it, either. Now there is a flood of illness. Are you special enough to clean THAT up, Nashville? All you have to do is take an FDA-approved vaccine. If you aren’t willing to do that, you should replace all those murals with skulls and crossbones.
One more thing. I already wrote about this. Go read it. I got vaccinated, and you wanna know why I wasn’t worried about it? Because I am worth more to this two-party, corporate “shining city” alive than dead. Dead men don’t drive UBERs. Republicans and Democrats BOTH love those.