Tales from the Mark Side: The Conservative Voice in Manatee County

COVID shaming? What is it and why it needs to stop


By Mark Young



The vaccinated and unvaccinated.

It’s just the latest – and most prevalent – division that has hit our society since the great debate of which way toilet paper is supposed to hang on the roll.

If you hang it backwards, we can’t be friends by the way. Seriously, if I come to your house and see your toilet paper hanging with the loose end to the back, I’m changing it.

Seriously though, the subject of COVID shaming caught me a little off guard even though I’ve certainly seen it happening across the country and certainly even here in Manatee County. This is especially evident with the typical nastiness from the left about hoping the unvaccinated die because they are mostly, and allegedly I might add, conservatives.

COVID shaming is ridiculous and just another form of playground bullying at its worst. It’s a high school version of the cool kids table where those who are vaccinated think they have a place of honor.


I remember when the pandemic began and I’d go cover a story whether it was pandemic related or not. The subject matter would be afraid to be photographed without a mask on for fear of what people would think when they saw it.

That was my first hint that something wasn’t right because I come from a different set of genes. It’s impossible to shame me on any subject. I am who I am and if you like me for it, awesome. If you don’t, I could care less. I’m always going to do me and no one is ever going to tell me to do something I’m not comfortable doing.

But those first signs of COVID shaming were appearing even before the shots emerged. The so-called vaccinated versus unvaccinated division evolved from the masked versus the maskless, and has morphed into something a lot more vicious.

Many decided it wasn’t worth the risk given the fact that – though in small percentages – people were dying after getting the shot.

That’s not something that should be easily dismissed when deciding to stick something new into your system.

Let’s look at the flu shot, for example. I took the flu shot one time in my life, and it was the one time I’ve had the flu in some 40 years. As a result, I have never taken the flu shot again and never will.

I don’t remember a single time where someone has sent me a news article with photos of people who died from the flu in an attempt to shame me into getting a flu shot.

And yet, that is exactly what happened when some Twitter troll sent me a photo of people who died from COVID when I sent out my column about what life would be like in Florida had Gov. Ron DeSantis not won the election.

Of course, the troll didn’t bother to acknowledge that Florida has the lowest COVID rates in the nation. No, it was just an attempt to shame me into his way of thinking and make me out to be a horrible person because I support DeSantis, who he thinks is a horrible person.

Nonsense. Illogical liberal thinking on full display.

Well, as you can imagine, that didn’t go over too well with me and I let him have it for using a loss-of-life tragedy to make a failed argument about DeSantis.

Oh, those liberal minds. They really are a freak of nature.

There is some blame on the other side of the vaccinated argument, as well. Those who have chosen not to take the vaccine have thrown out their fair share of condescending, and at times, vitriol opinions on the vaccinated.

As I have mentioned, I chose to take the first two shots, but will take no more. That’s my choice and I’m no sheep. I weighed the options, the risks and decided I trusted Trump’s vaccine program. If I morph into a half lizard man at some point, then it’s my choice and my consequence and I’ll accept a life of hunting flies to live.

To be fair, those who are unvaccinated have grown tired of being labeled with nastiness from the vaccinated, especially the usual loud-mouthed left who publicly say detestable things about the unvaccinated.

I guess that’s a bit of a “He started it,” argument to make, but at some point you just want the loud mouths to seal their lips together. In some cases, the “I’ll finish it,” counter argument is justified.

Like you, I’m sick of hearing the word COVID. Thanks to DeSantis, the pandemic for us is over whether you want it to be or not. As Floridians we watch in wonder as liberal-controlled states and cities talk about new rounds of lockdowns and closures over Omicron, which is a watered down version of the original virus.

But the bottom line is that this nonsense needs to stop. We have more important things to hate one another over and a COVID shot isn’t one of them.

I don’t care if you are vaccinated and I don’t care if you’re not. Again, I don’t go around every flu season (when we used to have those) and ask people if they got their flu shot before interacting with them.

It’s nonsense. It’s childish and it’s one giant distraction from the more important things going on in the world and in our country. It’s a typical liberal move to keep the real sheep focused and afraid on a single subject. Don’t let them keep doing it. Move on from this silliness.

For those of you who will send me brand new photos of dead people, I’m sorry for anyone who suffers a personal loss, but people die. There are 150 fatalities each year from falling coconuts.

I’m not being flippant about death, I’m just saying that none of us get out of this world alive. I don’t go to the South Pacific with photos of people who died from falling coconuts and blame anyone for not harvesting the coconuts to avoid those fatalities.

COVID isn’t a Republican or a democrat, but it’s somehow made its way into those categories. For that, liberals are largely to blame because they tend to be so full of vitriol that it spills out into any debate over any subject, and they find a way to blame and spread their hate onto conservatives.

It’s moronic to its core considering that the shot was developed under Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, which was in part why I took the shot. I know plenty of conservatives who are vaccinated and plenty who are not.

To make it political is just today’s reality.

Let’s just leave things that come down to personal choice to personal responsibility. And for God’s sake, let’s remember who is really at fault for this entire COVID mess: China.

Let’s try to act like Americans on this one single subject and put the blame where it belongs. Let us focus our energy and remember that this was a political, military and psychological Chinese operation.

It was a political success in disrupting the 2020 election cycle. It was s military success in determining just how many people their manufactured low-level virus could kill without the world screaming mass murder. And it has been a psychological success in turning countries and people on one another without anyone – other than Trump – pointing the finger back to them.

I just hate to be the one to tell those of you who live in your bubbles, but we are at war with our adversaries and have been for decades. Just because shots haven’t been fired, doesn’t mean this war isn’t killing people.

We have to be better than this.


By Mark Young

Mark Young is a U.S. Army veteran and a seasoned journalist of 25 years. His writing and reporting has garnered dozens of state press association and press club awards in Florida, Nebraska and Wyoming for investigative reporting, opinion writing, in-depth reporting and more.

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