Will Madison Cawthorn join the belatedly enlightened on COVID?

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Remember a TV show called Eight is Enough?

When it comes to some influential conservatives, it appears that, maybe, four million is enough.

That’s how many people had to die globally from COVID-19 before conservatives such as Sean Hannity, Kayleigh McEnany and Steve Scalise finally stopped sowing doubt about the vaccinations and urged their followers to get them.

I didn’t see Fox News talking head Hannity say this – I’d rather kiss a snaggle-toothed llama that just ate a package of Oreos without flossing afterward than watch his commentary – but he has been widely quoted as saying recently “Please take COVID seriously, I can’t say it enough. Enough people have died.”

Of course, he only reached this enlightened state after a year of railing that liberals were using COVID to scare “the living hell out of people.”

Hannity, Lousiana Congressman Scalise, former White House spokeswoman McEnany et al deserve very little credit, if any, for finally seeing the light after so many deaths and a recent surge in new cases.

In Lonesome Dove, when the Texas Rangers were fixing to hang Jake Spoon, their former partner, for “crossing the line” and riding with some murderous outlaws, Spoon pleaded for mercy.

Jake: I didn’t see no line. I was just trying to get across the territory without getting scalped. I was gonna leave ‘em the first chance I got.

Gus: I wish you’d taken that chance a little earlier, Jake. A man that goes along with five killings takes his leaving a little slow.

What are we to make of politicians and commentators who go along with four million deaths before taking their leave of cockamamie conspiracy theories?

What, also, are we to make of Congressman Madison Cawthorn, R- N.C., who is still promoting skepticism of government efforts to save lives from covid?

As of July 21, only 56 percent of N.C. adults had been fully vaccinated against the ‘Rona, according to the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Efforts to increase that percentage aren’t helped when elected officials such as Cawthorn demonize education and vaccine efforts. Cawthorn, in an interview recently, said that the federal government’s “mechanism” for reaching the unvaccinated could also be used for a more nefarious purpose: snatching your guns and your bibles from your homes.

And what, precisely, is this mechanism, one presumably developed in a secret CIA lab, that the government plans to use?

Knocking on your door and asking if you want to get vaccinated.

Oooh, sneaky.

Cautious Cawthorn’s conspiracy-minded congressional colleague from Colorado, Lauren Boebert, derides healthcare workers who administer the vaccine as “needle nazis.”

Will the apparent changing stance among some conservatives persuade them to change their minds?

Probably not. Thar’s gold and attention to be gained by spreading fear.

I’m just glad we as kids weren’t similarly fearful when the “evil” government came to Rockingham to help us.

During the summers a truck – we called it the smoke truck – would drive slowly through our neighborhoods emitting some kind of gas to kill disease-spreading mosquitoes. It simultaneously provided us entertainment, as we’d run joyously behind it for a couple of blocks engulfed by smoke.

Had we had the luxury of paranoia, we might’ve feared the gas would sterilize us – or at least turn us into Mott the Hoople groupies.

Then, as part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, the federal government sent to racially segregated Leak Street School boxes of toothbrushes, toothpaste and some red tablets that health officials used to teach impoverished pupils how to brush their teeth.

I vividly recall watching in the school bathroom as some of my second-grade classmates were instructed on how to brush their teeth for possibly the first time.

You see, some people can’t afford to automatically distrust the government, but Madison & Co. - you do you, boo.

Editorial board member Barry Saunders is founder of thesaundersreport.com

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