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Reviews | Enlist Trump against vaccine reluctance



For the publisher:

Re “Biden condemns vaccine misinformation on Facebook” (news article, July 17):

A note to President Trump: It’s been over eight months since the presidential election. So it’s time to move on. But the Covid pandemic and the nation’s response will be associated, indelibly, with your administration.

You were premonitory and daring in launching Operation Warp Speed. Not only was this a great life-saving humanitarian success, but it also opened up new avenues for future vaccine development. Well done!

But the virus remains on its destructive path. Too many people remain skeptical about the acceptance of the vaccine, especially among your staunch supporters. President Biden’s attempt to increase the vaccination rate through door-to-door interaction is having questionable success. But your wide reach may well prove more effective. Your members trust you. Persuading them to accept the Covid vaccine could well lead to collective immunity for the country.

It will not be an easy feat. It may well stifle voices calling for a new party leadership and further strengthen your place in history. A victory, a victory.

Howard quinn

For the publisher:

Most of those who are reluctant to get the Covid vaccine are supporters of former President Donald Trump. He rightly claimed credit for the rapid development and manufacture of the vaccine. Perhaps it would make at least some of his supporters more willing to be vaccinated if the media and others with public voices called him the “Trump vaccine.”

Russell suskind
Newark, Ohio

For the publisher:

Re “This is not a ‘hesitation to the vaccine’, it is a lack of confidence in the system”, by Ginia Bellafante (Big City column, July 11):

Lotteries. Price. Advocates from celebrities and public health officials. These attempts to persuade the reluctant to get vaccinated have generally failed. So why not enlist those who were themselves resistance fighters and who now regret having believed in the disinformation that has made them or their loved ones victims of the Covid?

Hire people who have experienced the reality of the increasing danger of the Delta variant. Pay them to talk to those who have the same beliefs as before. Let them tell how their refusal to be vaccinated led them to find themselves hospitalized or to lose loved ones. Ask them to describe how devastating this scourge can be. Post these testimonials on social networks. Stream them on TV and radio stations, especially ones like Fox who have spread so much disinformation about Covid.

Conversation of opinion
Questions around the Covid-19 vaccine and its deployment.

Those who now wish they hadn’t listened to the lies spread by the right-wing media should be the ones speaking to those who still believe those lies. Maybe they can succeed where bribes, medical experts, celebrities, and government officials have failed.

Nancy Ginsburg Gill
Los Altos, California

For the publisher:

Re “Fight to prosecute rape continues despite #MeToo” (cover page, July 19):

As a lawyer who represents survivors of sexual assault in civil cases, I too often see my clients being cross-examined by lawyers for the accused on why they did not go to the police. It is an effort to exploit a myth perpetrated by Donald Trump and others accused of sexual assault that failure to report it to the police is a sign that the claim is false.

But as your recent report makes clear, the sad truth is that accountability through the criminal justice system is often unobtainable, even for the few survivors brave enough to try.

Sexual assault is systematically underreported: only about one in three is never taken to the police. It’s not because victims lie: the data clearly indicates that very few reports of sexual assault are false.

Victims fear reporting these crimes because they fear the reaction they will receive. It lifts all the burdens of re-traumatization and re-victimization, with very few promises of conviction.

This means that until our criminal justice system is seriously overhauled, a civil trial is often the only viable option survivors have to hold those who violated them to account.

Zoe Salzman
new York

For the publisher:

Re “Texas Broke My Heart” (guest op-ed essay, July 15):

Mimi Swartz has spoken on behalf of many of us who love Texas for reasons we can’t always pin down. And some of us even like the supporters we don’t agree with. Some of them saved us from high water, helped find lost dogs, said hello when we didn’t even know them.

It’s hard to say why Texas is a great state. Ms. Swartz named one of the most important, which is the friendly acceptance of most people who are different from us. A mosque in Victoria, Texas was torched and then rebuilt by nicer, more sane people in this small town.

So, in the face of the obstructionist, reluctant, petty and ill-intentioned spirit who run the state government right now, it’s hard to do anything but cry. I won’t go state shopping, but sometimes it’s hard not to want to. Thanks to Ms. Swartz for expressing so accurately the difference between most Texans and their state government.

Leslie Gerber

For the publisher:

Re “Republicans Boycott Riot Investigation in Clash With Pelosi” (press article, July 22):

Republicans blaming the Jan.6 assault on Congress on Democrats for not adequately planning such an event – it’s like asking, “Why was your nose in the way of my fist? “

Peter Eisinger
Wellfleet, Mass.
The writer is Emeritus Professor of Public Policy at the New School.

For the publisher:

Re “Hong Kong police arrested 5 for children’s books” (news article, July 23):

I keep reading about how China’s authoritarian political system seeks to supplant liberal democracies. And yet, how weak (not strong) is a government that is afraid of children’s books? The book in question is an allegory depicting predatory wolves and innocent sheep.

This is just the latest episode of China’s fear for its own people, which the government must continually oppress, suppress and suppress in the name of “security.” These are the actions of a weak (not strong) nation.

For the publisher:

Re “Biden’s preschool and college plan aims to be a ladder to success” (homepage, July 17):

The president’s proposal to expand the country’s education system is more than the dream of progressive Americans. It is a direct expression of one of America’s fundamental tenets: equal opportunity. In our modern world, equal opportunity requires equal educational opportunity.

The brain is greatly shaped by educational experiences in the early years of life. The strength of a country also depends on the post-secondary complementary brain training offered to as many of its citizens as possible.

Decades ago my classmates and I, students of the Bronx High School of Science, were born at the end of the Great Depression. Our parents had little or no money to pay for their college education. Still, we all knew we would be able to go to college because the tuition fees at City College New York were nearly zero.

Many contributions have been made to our society by my classmates. For many, this would not have been possible without support for higher education.

The brain training in reasoning provided by higher education does not apply only to students in specialized high schools. Providing it to all will ensure that our citizens thrive and can contribute to the country by making the best use of their individual capacities.

Monica starkman
Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The writer is professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Michigan.