All of us climb on our soapbox to express a viewpoint we feel passionate about. “Responsibility” in all forms—personal, moral, and social—to name a few—gets me on my soapbox. It’s a trait sorely lacking in society today, in my opinion.
Case in point, COVID-19 vaccine incentives. I’m not talking about the “perks” that help facilitate a person’s ability to get the shots, like child care or transportation. Such benefits help bridge the gap in disparity. But what kind of message are we sending when we offer high-priced swagger, like tickets to sporting events, expense-paid vacations, and cold hard cash as motives to be vaccinated against the coronavirus?
A CNN article written in May in response to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s decision to “give away millions of dollars to vaccinated people and full scholarships to vaccinated children through special lotteries” reported that “in a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, 47 percent of people [surveyed]…say they want to ‘wait and see’ before being vaccinated. They said paid time off to get it would make them more likely to do so, and 39 percent said a financial incentive of $200 from their employer would work.”
Isn’t it enough that the government provides the shots free of charge? I liken vaccine incentives to parents bribing a child to behave. The only difference is that adults who should be able to decide to get inoculated on their own are being enticed. In both circumstances, the bribes reward bad behavior and do nothing to promote personal responsibility.
I’m not going to debate the efficacy of protection or whether individuals should choose to receive or not receive the vaccine. It is a choice. However that choice should be made based on conviction, not cajolery.
Recently, my twelve-year-old bonus daughter and I were discussing her school’s noncompetitive virtual field day—the concept of which is an anomaly all its own. Like many conversations with a tween, this one took an about-face to another topic, specifically the school talent show. There are no tryouts, no criteria (other than the content must be deemed school appropriate), no judging, and no winners. It epitomizes the “everyone wins” ideology.
The two activities may seem unrelated, but I beg to differ. When we create a society in which we forego competition, circumvent the value of a hard-earned lesson, and perpetuate a feel-good culture where rewards supersede responsibility, we advance expectations and adulterate integrity. Not only does nobody win, but the value of the activity is questionable! I’m stepping down now.…