Here's how to show we trust the vaccine. Plus: FB ruling on Trump chilling. And, Willie Mays at 90.

By Gary Abernathy

How to get reluctant Republicans to get vaccinated

My latest in the Washington Post, on how to get reluctant Americans to take the covid-19 vaccine:

Last week, I received my second Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, three weeks after being administered the first… On top of those who are forgoing the second shot, more than 100 million American adults haven’t been vaccinated at all, and well over half of them don’t plan to do so, according to a recent Post poll. Many Americans won’t get vaccinated because they don’t trust the vaccine — and they see little incentive to take the risk when they’re told that other restrictions will remain even if they get the shot.

I, too, was concerned about a vaccine rushed into the population without the usual years of Food and Drug Administration trials. But what tipped the scales for me was the chance to be mask free sooner. I’ve noted before how troubling I find it that millions of Americans so readily accepted covid-related edicts, with many regarding masks as a “new normal.”

…If the Biden administration, Fauci, the CDC and others hope to convince hesitant Americans to roll up their sleeves, they’re going to have to loosen restrictions beyond declaring the great outdoors a mask-free zone… If government leaders and health officials really want more Americans to embrace the coronavirus vaccine, they’ll start acting like they believe it really works.

Read the whole column here. Subscription may be required.

FB ruling on Trump sad, but not surprising

What a shock – the Facebook “oversight board” has upheld the social media giant’s decision to ban former president Donald Trump.

USA Today’s report added: But the company-funded tribunal of outside experts ruled that it was not appropriate for Facebook to impose an "indeterminate and standardless penalty" of indefinite suspension and instructed the company to review the matter within six months, possibly opening the door to Trump's return.

What nonsense. Clearly, it’s time for government protection of free speech rights on social media behemoths that have become the primary avenues for communication in the U.S. Arbitrary decisions to ban even the sitting president of the United States – which Trump was at the time of his banishment – are chilling developments that should be a concern to Americans across the political landscape.

Happy 90th to Willie Mays, the ‘Say Hey Kid’

When I was a young kid in the 1960s, the two greatest sports stars in the world were Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees and Willie Mays of the San Francisco Giants. Our junior high school library had books on both of them, and I devoured them, as did many of my classmates.

Mantle was white, born in Oklahoma, Mays was black, from Alabama, both beautifully athletic as though crafted by an artist creating the perfect examples of American Adonises.  They were both portrayed in books and other media, including newspapers, as heroic, clean-cut All-Americans, overcoming adversity to achieve greatness. There was much truth to it, although in later years we learned that Mantle in particular was not always the person the non-critical sports media of those days usually reflected. He struggled with alcohol and other personal demons, and died in 1995, just 63 years old.

Mays, born the same year as Mantle (1931) was a more disciplined individual. He turns 90 this week, and the New York Times has a great profile by James S. Hirsch, accompanied by some neat photos. It’s worth a read.

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