The number of people in America getting vaccinated has stagnated in recent weeks. This is quite peculiar to those from countries struggling to acquire enough COVID-19 vaccines for their citizens. Yet, it is the USA’s incentive campaign that is the most curious.
Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, was one of the most revered naturalists in the world during the 18th century and the author of the 36–volume magisterial Histoire Naturelle. In 1787, news broke of a bone being discovered in New Jersey wrote Bills Bryson in A Short History of Nearly Everything. Though dinosaurs were a complete unknown at the time, we now know an enormous thigh belonged to a hadrosaur. Buffon was dismissive of such a finding as he was with most things in the New World. It was in his famous Histoire Naturelle that he depicted America as a land void of any grandeur or virality, “the water is stagnant, the soil unproductive and the animals without size or vigour”. Imagine, the grandeur and excess of America being questioned.
Thomas Jefferson was so offended by such a claim that he ordered 20 soldiers into the wilderness to bring him a bull moose to prove Buffon wrong. I have a theory that Buffon’s words boisterously blew throughout America scarring the psyche of the entire country. Like an oversensitive adolescent being mocked by his peers for his lack of chest hair, America has carried this trauma all the way through to its adulthood. Embittered by the haunting words of Buffon, America has been overcompensating ever since. The biggest portions, the biggest trucks, the biggest political gaffe’s… and now the biggest incentives to get vaccinated.
In recent years, America has been given the title of class clown in the international staff room. Obviously, the architect of this perception was Donald Trump. If you don’t remember him, he is the human embodiment of the phrase “smell my finger!”. As he stumbled out of office, he left quite the mess behind him (and I don’t mean the irreparably stained White House towels from his hourly spray tan). The canyon of partisanship separating blues and reds became as ample as ever. This, coinciding with the entire country being throttled by the unrelenting grip of Covid-19, resulted in a worldwide feeling of sympathetic pity. It is not often that pity is bestowed upon an entity with the faculty and aptitude of the United States of America.
However, in recent months Uncle Sam has once again begun to flex his industrious muscles. Due to a mass rollout throughout the nation, acquiring a Covid-19 vaccine in the US is as easy as acquiring a flesh slicing assault rifle. GOD BLESS AMERICA! However, it seems the allure of good health is not enough for 50% of the population (anyone who has experienced Taco Bell will not be surprised by this). This has forced public administrators to get creative in conceptualising incentives to fully vaccinate the population.
I’m sure in some government building, politicians are trying to figure out what it is the unvaccinated 50% want. Unfortunately, bald eagles with guns for wings that shoot Tom Cruise DVD’s have been extinct since the 60s so they have to resort to the next best thing… money! That is why the Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine, announced a weekly $1 million prize draw for those who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. The governor wrote on Twitter:
I know that some may say, “DeWine, you’re crazy! This million-dollar drawing idea of yours is a waste of money.” But truly, the real waste at this point in the pandemic — when the vaccine is readily available to anyone who wants it — is a life lost to COVID-19.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) May 12, 2021
No! You’re not crazy governor, the crazy ones are the dopes who chose to get vaccinated as soon as they were readily available, as advised by their health professionals. It reminds me of that adage: “If you don’t listen to your doctor you could win a million dollars”. Trump would be proud.
As with everyone else on this side of the world, I consume American news and content whether I like it or not. Whether it’s sporting events, art, film or scandals – you will be sure that I am up to date. Regardless of my jabs and pokes, America has been a beacon of ingenuity, entertainment and prosperity over the last 100 years or so. I sincerely hope the incentive campaign is a success and the people of the US can return to normality, however the need for such a campaign is indeed a cause of concern and confusion. I fear the reasoning may lie at the feet of the crippling political tribalism and partisanship that is rife from New York to New Mexico. However, I could be just as misinformed as Buffon was about our friends across the pond.