T Without any doubt, Dr. Deuell’s motives for his recent editorial in the Herald-Banner were entirely noble: as a physician, he wants all of us to live long, healthy lives.

To that end, he clearly wishes that those on the fence or just flat out against the vaccine would have a change of heart.

I think that, as a trusted family physician, Dr. Deuell is in a fine position — better than many — to reassure others about the vaccine. And I think he missed a fine opportunity to use that well-earned position to do the most good.

I received the two-dose vaccine in April and May, and would recommend to anyone young and old to receive it.

It is nothing short of marvelous that such a vaccine was developed in such a short amount of time, and I count Operation Warp Speed – the public-private initiative to get COVID-19 vaccines out as quickly as possible – as one of former President Trump’s greatest accomplishments as president. Those of us who are now better-armed against hospitalization and early death from COVID-19 have, in part, former President Trump to thank.

This, along with the encouraging fact that 95 percent of doctors in America have received the vaccine, should be emphasized when trying to persuade someone who is hesitant or resistant: the group of people who understand most how this vaccine works are the ones most likely to receive it.

Sadly, Dr. Deuell made that very important point at the end of his public letter against State Senator Bob Hall, instead of beginning with it.

I agree with Dr. Deuell on several points he made against our current State Senator. Chiefly, I agree that Hall’s sharing conspiracy theories about the virus and this pandemic has been truly harmful to not only his constituents, but also to the nation at large.

However, if I seek to persuade either a leader, or followers of that leader (like Senator Hall), then insulting his character and intelligence (especially repeatedly) will not win over anyone not already on my side.

Was anyone ever insulted into changing their mind? In a time when people should be won over to vaccination through reasoned discourse, example, and empathetic listening, it is sad to see such vitriol espoused by current and former public officials on their official pages and in editorials.

And that is why I ask Dr. Deuell to reconsider his communication. He has rightly earned his standing in the community, and we are all fortunate to have him working so hard for our public’s health. (It’s possible someone you know and love is still alive and in good health because of him.)

Dr. Deuell has a message people need to hear. I ask only that he send that message in such a way that they will more readily listen.

As a final note, I would urge my fellow conservatives, as well as anyone else, to be truth seekers and to treat one another in love.

That love shows only by our actions and our words. And the truth here is that, according to the plenteous research into them, the COVID-19 vaccines, on the whole, are safe, and they work.

As many readers of my column know, my wife, Jesse, is among those at highest risk for this virus. I thank God that such a vaccine was developed and tested and made available so quickly.

If you are in doubt about the vaccine, please take your doubts to a doctor, who can tell you about its safety and efficacy. And, in all times, be wise and loving. If you are unsure how to speak to people who are different from you, or if you feel like attacking when what you really want is to convince, please consult a book about communication, or read the book of Acts, noting how Paul spoke and reasoned with all; and please, be thoughtful in the manner in which you communicate. Quick to listen. Slow to speak. Slow to anger.

And for all of us, there are ways we can talk to one another even about our differences without feeling worse about the other person, or about how we behaved.

Even if we do not come to agreement on this or other cultural or political issues, we can still discuss and debate in a respectful, thoughtful, and loving manner.

Some of us may even benefit from your example.

Joseph Hamrick is a semi-professional writer and sometimes thinker. He lives in  Commerce and serves as a deacon at Commerce  Community Church (C3). He can be reached at jhamrick777@gmail.com

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