Taking a pass on Putin’s vaccine

Published 5:30 pm Tuesday, August 18, 2020

I can hardly wait to walk into a drugstore and get a shot of COVID vaccine, but wait I will, because I’m about as likely to take Vladimir Putin’s vaccine as I am to drink Lysol at the prompting of Donald Trump.

You have to give Putin credit for being one of the most brazen dictators in the world today. He assigned teams of government-funded computer hackers to infiltrate the American presidential election in 2016, to spread lies and hatred in order to help the U.S. elect the person who would be most pliable to Russian interests.

Our intelligence agencies — all of them — offered incontrovertible evidence of the meddling, but our president was so afraid that this election would be questioned, he has repeatedly denied this blatant attack on our most precious asset, free elections. In fact, he denied that our intelligence was correct because, he said, Putin had personally promised it didn’t happen, and he made that astounding declaration in an internationally televised dog-and-pony news get-together with Putin. There is every reason to believe Putin will repeat the effort during the next 2½ months.

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Putin invaded our ally, Crimea, and we never raised an objection. More recently, he offered bounties to Afghan rebels to kill American troops. Bounties on American lives, for gosh sakes! And again, we ignored it.

Why shouldn’t Putin put sugar water in a vial and sell it as a COVID vaccine to gullible Americans? Our administration will probably buy several hundred million vials between now and the Nov. 3 election.

Sugar water, of course, would be the least damaging thing Putin could put in his “vaccine.” Can you imagine how tempting it would be for this modern-day Russian tsar, this former KGB agent, to think he could inject whatever he wants into the blood streams of his arch-enemy, the American voter?

No thank you. I’ll wait, along with the two-thirds of Americans who want desperately to protect themselves and their families from this deadly virus. Two-thirds? Yes. That’s how many Americans say they want virus protection. The other third say they won’t take a shot offered by anybody. They’ll roll the dice. They’d rather gamble their lives, as well as those of their families and us, their neighbors.

And speaking of what might be “in” a virus vaccine, at least some of those who won’t take the vaccine have expressed the fear that the “deep state” is planning to inject tracking devices along with the drug. How stupid can you get? We already carry tracking devices with us everywhere we go, and the government has access to our whereabouts most anytime it wants. They’re called cellphones.

Vote early

I believe the current attack on the Postal Service is an unabashed and unapologetic attempt to tamp down by-mail voting this fall.

At a time when responsible Americans are doing everything possible to avoid crowds and long lines, the Executive Branch of our government is trying to prevent anything other than hands-on voting. And how better to do so than to slow the mail. Our new postmaster general has actually removed dozens of large sorting machines from major postal centers for no reason at all, unless it’s to slow mail distribution, which it has done.

Tragically, this effort to slow the mail is going to kill people. Millions of Americans, including veterans, elderly and physically vulnerable, are not receiving drugs they have ordered via mail. Deliveries are getting later and later and delivery mistakes are inevitably being made. As a result, people will die.

This is not — and I really want to emphasize this — the fault of postal employees. They are doing their level best, but they’re being prohibited from doing the job that the U.S. Constitution requires.

So, what do we do about it? I encourage you to make plans now to vote absentee and either give the Postal Service plenty of time to deliver your ballot or put on your mask and take it personally to the Isle of Wight or Surry courthouse. Whichever you choose to do, follow through. Make sure your vote is counted, because if this Postal Service attack from the top works, millions of votes will not be.

This week, I went online to the state Department of Elections website, signed in as a voter, verified who I am and requested an absentee ballot. Anne did the same thing. We won’t receive those ballots until September, but the request is already in place, and we can check its status anytime we want by just signing in at the state site.

It’s easy, safe and the best guarantee you can have that no one’s going to prevent you from voting absentee this fall. Here’s the link. https://www.elections.virginia.gov/citizen-portal/

John Edwards is publisher emeritus of The Smithfield Times. His email address is j.branchedwards@gmail.com.