Once again, the United States Congress is granting themselves special exemptions to the rules and seem to be following the "do as we say, not as we do" rule. This time, it's all about the suddenly scare flu vaccine, which Congress has decided they should set aside some of the vaccine for themselves--even if they're not high-risk patients.
Two Tennessean Congressmen got their flu shots--Bill Frist, who got his a couple of days before the "restrictions" began and Lamar Alexander, who is 64 and just a few months shy of the "high-risk" cut-off line.
Their "logic" is the following (take from this morning's Tennessean):
"The idea was that members of Congress needed shots, ''especially since they would be around a number of people in the upcoming weeks leading up to the election and could be both victims and spreaders of the flu,'' (Alexia) Poe, (a spokesman for Lamar Alexandar) said."
OK, I can understand that our Congress-people are going to be around people who might be contagious out there on the campain trail. Well, I hate to say it, but there are a bunch of us out there who are going to be around contagious people doing that funny little thing known as going about our daily lives. Shocking, I'm sure. Also, it just galls me the elitist attitude that all the parties in Congress have that they are somehow more important that the people they serve and are, thus, entitled to the flu shot. Heaven forbid one of them miss a vote because of a little bit of flu. Oh wait, I bet if you looked at the record, not every Senator or Representative is there for every vote anyway. And yet, the country still continues to run just fun, thank you.
I don't care what party you're with, it just smacks of elitism. And I think that either party is missing a huge PR move by having a couple of members say, "You know, I may get sick, but there are people in my district who are high risk and need this more than I do. Let them have it." Sure, the flu shot might not get to their district, but in the court of public opinion it may not matter. It's the gesture that will count in the long-run.
Of course, I think a huge part of this rush to get a flu shot is the shortage of them. I heard this theory proposed yesterday during the Phil Valentine Show
and it makes a lot of sense. The train of thought is this--you tell people they can't have something and suddenly you've created more demand for it than ever. He compared it to the whole Cabbage Patch craze of a years ago--there was something that was in short supply and we heard reports about it. Suddenly everyone has to have one. Same theory applies here.
That said, I'd like to get a flu shot. I've got one every year for a while now and haven't had a serious bout of the flu. But I also understand there are others who need them more than I do--like my 91-year-old grandfather, my one-year-old nephew who possibly has asthma, etc. So I've decided I'm gonna eat my veggies, drink my OJ, take my vitamins and cross my fingers that I don't get it. And let those who really need and deserve these shots get them.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 10/22/2004 06:36:00 PM