We have gotten so polarized as a nation over politics that not even the Tokyo Olympics could unify Americans. After years of ratcheting up our defenses, the games themselves were often politicized. With a global, once-in-a-century pandemic, we can’t stay entrenched in our fighting corners, though. There is too much work to be done.
How can we make strides? There are grumblings that we need someone non-political, someone who Americans largely trust, to help us navigate the latest national split concerning COVID-19 vaccines. Specifically, how we can get more people vaccinated?
We need someone with the trust-factor Oprah had during her 25-year syndicated show run. Americans from all ages and backgrounds flocked to get Oprah’s Book Club picks and “favorite things,” but we trusted her with more serious matters too. There was no arm-twisting when she offered advice; there was no forcing of anything because people trusted her.
It’s too bad, but not surprising, then that the pandemic has become political. The closest we have is that most leaders agree that the COVID-19 vaccine is curbing deaths and serious illness, but that is where the consensus ends. What’s at stake is whether there should be vaccine mandates or leave it up to people to decide for themselves whether or not to get the vaccine.
If we could find a unifying messenger, more people would get vaccinated. The person we need for the job is Dolly Parton.