Bad Presidents

Since I am watching the Jan 6 hearings and realizing yet again what a terrible president Donald J. Trump was, I have decided to post an excerpt from my dissertation, The Politics Of Alcohol Production: The Liquor Industry and the Federal Government, 1862 – 1900. This section deals with another one of our terrible presidents, Andrew Johnson.

In 1866 President Andrew Johnson, in an attempt to consolidate support for his Reconstruction policies and also with the hope of building a new political party consonant with his goals, began to use the considerable amount of patronage power available to him. Although clearly documented evidence of fraud and a obvious need for reform existed, these issues took a back seat to the political needs of Andrew Johnson, as well as those of his political opponents.

Both sides in the Reconstruction controversy desired to place “loyal” people in government jobs. The Treasury Department played a critical role in these plans since it had the second most patronage slots in the government. By replacing federal officials Johnson attempted to coerce adherence to his vision of Reconstruction. To avoid dismissal many employees maintained neutrality. The Tenure of Office Act of 1867, designed to prevent arbitrary dismissal of officials without Senate consent, helped these workers to feel more secure. Designed to protect middle level workers the law did not resolve the issue of removal of department heads.[1]

Andrew Johnson’s main target was the Treasury Department; however Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch refused to dismiss Republicans summarily. His steadfast support of Assistant Secretary William Chandler, disliked by other members of the Cabinet, reflected McCulloch’s desire to keep the staffing of the Treasury impartial.  McCulloch, writing in 1900, claimed the Assistant Secretary was “one of the few radical Republicans who did not permit their party allegiance to blind them to the merits of Andrew Johnson.” In a discussion with President Johnson Secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles expressed a different point of view, claiming that McCulloch “had committed a great error in retaining Rollins, Chandler, and other Radicals . . .”[2]

The Secretary’s “neutrality” extended in the other direction of the political spectrum. McCulloch, a banker from Indiana, believed in an easy, swift restoration of the Southern states and a liberal interpretation of the Test Oath. McCulloch maintained that many competent Southerners would be excluded form revenue offices because they could not swear they had not taken part in the Rebel cause. After Cabinet discussion people who “could only take an oath for the faithful performance of their duties and obedience to the Constitution of the United States” held positions in the Bureau of Internal Revenue.[3]

Many people found Mcculloch’s hard-money fiscal policies unappealing; this added to the controversy surrounding the Secretary. McCulloch, however, remained loyal both to the President and a smooth running Treasury Department. On a practical level the Secretary and Commissioner divided the appointments to distribute patronage to both sides. This did not really satisfy anyone and certainly didn’t generate an efficient workforce.  Rollins, in his annual reports endorsed the concept of civil service for the Bureau of Internal Revenue yet nothing was less likely to happen.[4]

Through most of 1867 and 1868, Reconstruction and the impeachment proceedings preoccupied  Johnson, his cabinet, and Congress. During this time McCulloch stood loyally by the President. Still Johnson received several letters pleading with him to remove both McCulloch and Rollins.

“I now implore you to bring this worst, because he is most sly and deceitful of all your enemies, McCulloch to the Test.

Demand of him the resignation of Rollins, let him know that if he has not sufficient power over his subordinate, to get his resignation, that you will accept his resignation.”

As McCulloch has complete control over Rollins this will bring his resignation, as he is now trembling over his Printing Bureau and wants to remain to cover the stupendous defalcations that exist there.”[5]

The attempt to convict Johnson did not succeed and, as far as most historians are concerned, there is nothing to say about his administration after that point. However Andrew Johnson was still President and retained the prerogatives, albeit reduced, of the office. Much of Johnson’s behavior from his inauguration as Chief Executive was oriented towards running for the Presidency in his own right. His drive to create a new party failed and by June 1868 Johnson concentrated his efforts on winning the Democratic nomination. The President was however anathema to most politicians and in July the Democratic party nominated Horatio Seymour and Francis P. Blair Jr. as President and Vice-President. Bitterly disappointed Johnson still sought some degree of vindication for his policies. In an attempt to achieve this, the President turned to the arena his supporters had continuously urged him to investigate, the Bureau of Internal Revenue.[6]

[1]Michael Les Benedict, The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson (New York, 1973), pp. 39 – 40, 48 – 51.

[2] Hugh McCulloch, Men and Measures of Half A Century (New York, 1900), p. 236. William Chandler was not a Radical but he was a staunch and partisan Republican who consistently opposed Civil Service Reform.

[3] William Henry Smith, History of the Cabinet of the United States of America (Baltimore, 1925), p. 219; McCulloch, Men and Measures, p. 227.

[4]Herbert S. Schell, “Hugh McCulloch and the Treasury Department, 1865-1869,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 27 (December 1930): 413-416; Hugh McCulloch to Andrew Johnson, 19 August 1867, Andrew Johnson Presidential Papers, Library of Congress, microfilm edition; U.S. Office of Internal Revenue. Annual Report of the Commissioner, 1867, pp. xv-xviii, xxxi; U.S. Treasury Department, Annual Report of the Special Commissioner, 1867, p. 31; U.S. Treasury Department, Annual Report of the Special Commissioner, 1866 p. 4. See also the report of the Revenue Commission for a discussion of civil service reform.

[5] R.W. Latham to Andrew Johnson, 6 February 1868, 24 January 1868,  Andrew Johnson  Papers.

[6] Albert Castel, Andrew Johnson (Kansas, 1979), passim; Eric McKitrick, Andrew Johnson and Reconstruction (Chicago, 1960), passim.

© All Rights Reserved. Do not reproduce without author’s permission. Amy Mittelman 2022.

Women and the State Department

Madeleine Albright died March 23rd of this year.[1] She was the first of only three women to serve as Secretary of State, which is the senior most cabinet position. Prior to Albright achieving that rank, Lucy Wilson Benson, who served as Under Secretary from 1977 to 1980, was the most prominent woman in the state department.

For my book Dames, Dishes, and Degrees I researched Benson’s life. Lucy Wilson Benson was born in New York City and graduated from Smith College in 1949; she also received a Master’s of Arts in history from the school. The same year she graduated, she married Bruce Benson, an Amherst College physics professor.[2] While in college she participated in state politics, working for the election of Representative Edward Boland (Dem.). In 1951, living in Amherst, Massachusetts, she went to register as a Democrat. A perplexed town official informed her that was illegal, and that no Amherst college professor had ever been a Democrat.[3]

Despite such discouragement, Lucy did register as Democrat, becoming involved in her local League of Women Voters.[4] In the post-World War II period, many women in a similar position to Lucy joined the League. League memebrship increased forty-four percent from 1950 to 1957, when it stood at 128,000.[5]

A sizable portion of the local membership came from University of Massachusetts faculty wives.[6] Some joined the League in opposition, consciously or not, to the faculty wives clubs  on their campuses while other women participated in both organizations. Lucy Benson recalled that in the 1950s women, most probably members of the Ladies of Amherst, that school’s faculty wives club, went grocery shopping adorned with hat and gloves. She did not.

Lucy Wilson Benson, Amherst College faculty wife, was the president of the National League of Women Voters from 1968 to 1974. She commuted to Washington and spent three days there every week. After serving as national president, she was Governor Michael Dukakis’ Secretary of Human Services. She then served as Under Secretary of State for Security Assistance, Science and Technology in the Jimmy Carter administration. At that time, she was the highest-ranking female to serve in the State Department.[7] Asked about her position, Lucy said, “Don’t ask what it feels like to be a woman under secretary of state, because I don’t know. I do know what it is like to be an under secretary of state, however.”[8]

Despite her prominence, when Lucy Wilson Benson died last year, The New York Times did not publish her obituary. Her husband Bruce, who spent his whole career at Amherst College predeceased her. Despite never having held a national position, the paper, in 1990, recognized his demise.[9]

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/23/us/madeleine-albright-dead.html

[2] Jonathan Thrope, “Benson Paves the Way for Working Women”, Amherst Student, Issue no. 7, October, 19, 2007.

[3] “Amherst Women on the move, 1959-2000”, panel discussion, East Lecture Hall, Hampshire College, March 6, 2009.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Eugenia Kaledin, Kaledin, Mothers and more, American women in the 1950s. Boston:1984, passim.

[6] Personal communication with Georgiana Foster, undated.

[7] Jonathan Thorpe, “Benson Paves.”

[8] “WASHINGTON TALK: WOMEN IN GOVERNMENT; Tales of the Pioneers,” New York Times, November 13, 1987.

[9] “Bruce B. Benson, 68, A Professor of Physics,” The New York Times, March 10, 1990.

 

Taxes and Inflation

Two things I read recently reminded me of the central argument of my dissertation and Brewing Battles. At the beginning of the month, I read a review of Roger Lowenstein’s new book Ways and Means: Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War. Eric Foner wrote the review. Eric is a very prominent historian and was my dissertation sponsor.

The other thing I read was from a newsletter I get from the New York Times DealBook. DealBook which is about business and economic news had a post that Roger Lowenstein wrote discussing inflation and how war can affect the economic climate of the country.

Both Eric’s review and Lowenstein post talked about the need of the north to finance the war which resulted in a myriad of taxes being a placed on a variety of objects and activities. Many years ago, I discovered that Salmon P. Chase, Treasury Secretary, and the Lincoln administration established taxes on alcohol and tobacco as well as creating an income tax. Although Congress repealed almost all the other taxes from following the end of the war, the Internal Revenue taxes on liquor and tobacco remained. These taxes provided over 50% of the federal government’s revenue until the enactment of the Internal Revenue tax in 1913.

What follows is an excerpt from Chapter Two of Brewing Battles that describe the efforts by Chase and the Lincoln administration to finance the war.

“From the moment Southern troops fired on Fort Sumter the Federal government required large sums of money to finance the Civil War. A Special Session of the Thirty-Seventh Congress (July­–August 1861) attempted to meet this need by increasing certain customs duties, imposing a direct tax of $20 million on the States, and instituting an income tax.[1]

It soon became clear that these measures alone could not relieve the country’s financial burdens. Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase was hoping to raise $85 million and sent a bill to the Thirty-Seventh Congress. Congress, which reconvened on December 2, 1861, reviewed his request for a small increase in the income tax and excise taxes on manufactured goods. Distilled spirits, malt liquors, cotton, tobacco, carriages, yachts, billiard tables, gross receipts of railroads, steam boats and ferries, and playing cards all became taxable items. Signed by President Lincoln July 1, 1862, the measure became effective the following month.[2] By the 1870s Congress had repealed most of the excise taxes; the liquor tax, however, has remained in effect until today. The Internal Revenue Act of 1862 marked the entrance of the federal government into the affairs of the liquor industry; it has never left.

The federal government did not regard the liquor industry as an ordinary business. Alcohol was more than a manufactured item — officials saw drinking as a luxurious, even evil, habit that deserved a heavy tax. Ignoring the mixed history of ante-bellum attempts at taxation, collection, and sumptuary legislation, Civil War legislators assumed that an excise on distilled and fermented beverages would raise a large amount of much needed revenue.

Civil War legislation of 1862 established the federal system of taxation of alcoholic beverages. At that time, the government instituted excise taxes on liquor, tobacco, and other items as well as imposing an income tax. Most of these Civil War taxes were short lived; the liquor and tobacco taxes were permanent. Until the imposition of the federal income tax in 1913, liquor taxes generated a significant portion of the nation’s internal revenue and played an important part in maintaining the economic health of the country.

Taxation provided the context for an explicit relationship between the state and industry, a pattern that would become more common later in the century. For the liquor industry as a whole the relationship did not develop smoothly. Throughout the nineteenth century, mismanagement and politicization of the Bureau of Internal Revenue led to fraud and corruption. The government did not seek and could not maintain regulatory power over the liquor industry. Although several individuals devoted themselves to reform efforts, officials failed to develop or maintain long range plans for efficient tax collection. Within this context, the brewing industry developed a good working relationship with the Bureau of Internal Revenue and was able to hold the line on tax increases”

[1] U.S. Department, Internal Revenue Service, History of the Internal Revenue Service 1791-1929, prepared under the direction of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, (Washington, D.C.: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1930), 2.

[2] Ibid., 3; Charles A. Jellison, Fessenden of Maine: Civil War Senator (Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse University Press, 1962), 149; Leonard P. Curry, Blueprint for Modern America: Non-Military Legislation of the First Civil War Congress (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1968), 149–181; Bray Hammond, Sovereignty and an Empty Purse: Banks and Politics in the Civil War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), 52; Charles Estee, The Excise Tax Law (New York: Fitch, Estee, 1863), passim.

©All Rights Reserved. Do not reproduce without the permission of the author. Amy Mittelman, 2022.

 

Ecology

As you know, I attend writing groups that Nerissa Nields leads. On Wednesday she read a prompt that included a Paul Ehrlich quote to the effect that ecology is the subversive science. As soon as I heard that, my mind filled with complicating thoughts.

In 1970 I was a junior in high school and I attended the first Earth Day. My thoughts about the ecology movement or environmentalism as we call it more recently have not really changed in that time. The problem I have always had with the ecology movement is that it is by and large not a political one.

Much of the burden of fixing the planet or not damaging the planet any further falls, as is always the case in America, on individuals. Be a better recycler, compost, don’t use plastic bags, don’t buy disposable water bottles. These are all things that individuals are supposed to be responsible for and supposed to do to be a good citizen. I do these things and have for years but I am not sure it makes any difference.

Where is the part where the government does something? What is the role of the government? Once you start asking that question you get to politics. Until there is a political will to change how the country consumes fossil fuels, to direct people away from eating meat and towards vegetarianism or veganism by what appears in the grocery stores, we really won’t get through ecological change or repair.

The issue becomes even more complicated because of the intransigence of the current Republican Party. For over 30 years Republicans have tried to wish away environmental change, have denied global warming. In the current Trump Republican Party, they don’t even believe in evolution and really don’t understand how a woman conceives a baby so why are they going to do anything about climate change? To get true environmental change, we must confront power.

Noom

In May I wrote a post updating what I had been doing during the first five months of the year. The post focused on how I have been taking care of my Aunt Ruth and at the same time, how I was managing the work on my manuscript. The post also mentioned that in Florida I met my weight goal of 140 pounds while being on Noom.

Appropriately, on New Year’s Eve, next week’s post will be a recap of the whole year. Today I want to talk about Noom. It is true that there was a day in April, in Boca Raton Florida, that I weighed 140 pounds. That moment, like much of life, was fleeting. Because I couldn’t seem to maintain my weight goal and the scale was going up instead of down, I stayed on Noom.

As I mentioned in my post, 2021 Goals and Resolutions, Noom is an app that uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to help people develop better eating habits and lose weight. On June 24th, 2020, I started using the app. At some point, the articles and lessons switched to a maintenance mode, which was not that helpful. I asked my coach, who may or may not be a real person, to set me back to the beginning. This meant that I was doing the lessons a second time. What can I say, I am a slow learner.

The second go around I took notes and really tried to pay attention. These tactics did the trick. Since November 4th, I have consistently weighed 140 pounds or less. The lowest has been 137 pounds. In December 2019, I weighed 165 pounds so that means I have lost 28 pounds.

Noom worked for me. Maybe it was because I paid but I don’t think so. After a year and a half of using the app, I have a better sense of my eating patterns. I now know which are beneficial and which are harmful. My maintenance strategy is to weigh myself almost every day. If the scale starts going up, I will look at my notes and redouble my efforts. I am confident I will be able to maintain this weight. Although it was a slow process, I am proud of the determination and focus I showed in losing the weight.

NaNoWriMo Day 12

Before I started NaNoWriMo, I  talked to myself about keeping my expectations in check and realizing that life happens and I would have to roll with the punches. It is good I worked on that because today we had another flood.

All of Amherst had a flash flood . The water was coming in so quickly that our sump pump couldn’t keep up and, once again, my office flooded. I had written about 150 words when this happened but I had to stop, basically in mid sentence.

I could see the water coming up through cracks in the unfinished part of the basement. It was very frightening, so we called the fire department. They came quickly and at first they could not figure out where the water was coming from. They concluded that it was coming up through the basement floor. They tried to pump the water out, using a  hose that they snaked through the downstairs bathroom window. To get the hose through the window, one of the firemen put his fist through the screen.

Their pump didn’t work because the waters had started to recede and wasn’t high enough to trigger the float. They advised us to get an external floor pump. Fortunately one of our lovely neighbors had such a pump. Anther neighbor lent us a shorter hose than the one we have and we pumped the water into the toilet.

We then used towels and our water vac to get up the rest of the water. This was particularly discouraging because last weekend we put back all the stuff from one of the rooms downstairs that we had moved out when we had the flood from Tropical Storm Ida.

It was about three hours of solid work and we still will have to put the rooms together again, probably next weekend.  The firemen said to throw out one power strip that got wet. That and the screen is really  the only damage, which is fine. My papers were all safe.

I was able to come upstairs and write a little more for a total of 319 words today. I feel that was an amazing  accomplishment. I am so grateful that we are okay and for the wonderful help from our neighbors. The firemen were very solicitous and understanding and I plan to make a donation in their honor.

As climate change increases, there will only be more of these floods and violent rain storms. The Democrats must pass true climate change legislation for the planet’s sake.

Ideas

One of the assignments for this month from my Pioneer Valley Writer’s Workshop Year Long class, was to read three essays to look at the craft tools used in presenting ideas.

First, I read “The Futurist Manifesto by Flippo Tommaso Marinetti. For the class assignment, we were not supposed to say whether we like a piece or not but rather, look at the craft elements used in the writing and determine if they would be valuable for our own writing.  However, this is is my blog, so I will  say that I hated this essay. The language  was over wrought, hyperbolic and flowery. I would not want to write in that style. The piece felt dated with racist and misogynistic elements and I had a strong suspicion that the author was a fascist. When I Googled him, I found out I was right.

Our teacher implied that Verlyn Klinkenborg’s, “Our Vanishing Light”, had  lyrical tone, and visual and sensory imagery.  The writing was okay but it seemed a fairly standard journalistic article. Written in 2008, it might have been startling then but felt like nothing new thirteen years later.

In “Sick Women Theory”, Johanna Hedva uses her personal story to make her point. I thought that was a good strategy or tool to use. By personalizing her ideas, it made thinking about those ideas more accessible. Hedva weaves her story of chronic illness into a compelling critique of western medicine. She explores how disability interacts with political participation, seeking a redefinition of both public and private.  I found her writing the most compelling of the three essays and I enjoyed reading it.

Cancer, Revisited

Earlier this week,  I attended the first annual Kay Johnson Memorial Lecture. Kay was a Hampshire faculty member who died in 2019. I knew her really well because our sons were best friends from birth to the age of 5.

Kay died from metastatic breast cancer. In honor of Kay, I am reposting a piece from 2009.  At that time, my Uncle Norm had a diagnosis of lung cancer. He died a few weeks later. 12 years later, we have still not made enough progress in the fight against cancer. Hopefully once President Biden gets COVID and the economy under control, he can turn his attention to defeating cancer.

Cancer  12/16/2009

As part of my research for my new book, I have been reading short stories from various eras of Harper’s Magazine. One written in 1949, “The Lady Walks,” by Jean Powell, deals with a faculty wife who has breast cancer. Although my original interest in the story was because of the faculty wife character, Ravita, as a nurse I found the description of the cancer treatment clinic she goes to unsettling. The description did not seem that different from clinics I have worked at various times in the past fifteen years.

After reading the story, I have concluded that things have not changed as much as we might think or like in the area of treatment of cancer. Today I participated in a Cancer Care teleconference, “The Latest Developments Reported at the 32nd Annual San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.”  It was very interesting; there are new drugs that might prevent bone loss in cancer patients as well possibly prevent the re-ocurrence of cancer.  However, treatment for certain kinds of breast cancer is a five-year process, which seems extraordinary long.

Around Thanksgiving, I read a story in the New York Times about a recreational lounge for cancer patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, a hospital in New York City. One of the patients is Seun Adebiyi, a young Nigerian immigrant and a Yale Law School graduate. He has lymphoblastic lymphoma and stem-cell leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. He is also trying to be the first Nigerian to compete in the Winter Olympics in skeleton. His goal is 2014. I have participated in a bone marrow drive but I have never received a call to donate.

I have had friends who have died from ovarian cancer and relatives who have experienced lung cancer. Although we may not have made as much progress in the last sixty years as we would have liked, let us hope that we can make significant progress against cancer in the coming days.

 

Indifference

Sometime after George Floyd’s murder, I started being the facilitator of a once-a-week virtual hour long session on Jews and race in America. The “class” is through the JCA. The last few weeks we have been reading a speech that Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel gave in 1963 at a Chicago Conference on Race and Religion. It was at that conference that Heschel first met Martin Luther King Jr.

This week we read a section about indifference to evil. “There is an evil most of us condone and are even guilty of: indifference to evil. We remain neutral, impartial and not easily moved by the wrongs done unto other people. Indifference to evil is more insidious than evil itself; it is more universal, more contagious, more dangerous. A silent justification, it makes possible an evil erupting as an exception becoming the rule and being in turn accepted.”

Heschel’s speech was focused on the evil of segregation and the daily injustices that black people suffered. He was also, subtly, looking back to the overwhelming evil of the Holocaust. Heschel, born in Poland, left Germany in 1940; many members of his family who remained perished.

Reading that passage, the word “indifference” stood out. What is the opposite of indifference? Is it attention, caring, sympathy or empathy? Today’s world seems beset by problems. It can feel overwhelming contemplating how to act.

The song “I Think It is Going to Rain Today,” by Randy Newman also came to mind.

“Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it’s going to rain today

Lonely, lonely
Tin can at my feet
Think I’ll kick it down the street
That’s the way to treat a friend”

In my teenage years I sang that song to myself many times. The somewhat sarcastic or cynical lyrics perfectly summed up my view of the world and its problems.

It is many years later and the song still has a lot of meaning. America has many compelling issues. Climate change, systemic racism, COVID and continuing economic inequality are some of them. It is hard to know where to start.

Heschel wanted his audience to face racism and act to end it. Heschel didn’t just give speeches and sermons about the evils of racism. He was an active participant in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and marched with MLK in Selma.

Jim Crow and segregation did end but racism has not gone away. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in his essay, Three Ways of Meeting Oppression, “To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system.” Both King and Heschel fought against indifference to and denial of racism. To act in a way that contradicts indifference to evil requires us to do something, anything. To the best of our ability, we need to stand up and be counted.

 

COVID Vaccines

Me getting my first shot.

 

Earlier today I got my second dose of the Moderna vaccine. So far, I feel okay. The nurse who gave me the shot said the side effects kick in around the ten hour mark. If that is true, I will feel fine at skating but not so well this evening and into tomorrow. She thought I would be fine by Sunday when I go skating again.

I have been volunteering at Amherst clinics, inoculating people and also acting as the scribe for the inoculator. The  Massachusetts rollout of the vaccine has been abysmal. People have faced long waits to get an appointment and the enrollment process is apparently very confusing.

Last week  the Governor announced that people who were 65 or older or had two comorbidities were now eligible to receive the vaccine. People still had a tremendous amount of trouble getting appointments. The list of comorbidities also made little sense. If you  smoke and have asthma you are eligible but if you have high blood pressure, that doesn’t count.

The other thing the Baker administration announced last week was that they were shifting distribution of the vaccines away from doctors offices and hospitals to mass vaccination sites. At that time, the  closest site was at least fifteen miles away from Amherst and not necessarily on a bus route.

Our state representatives, Mindy Domb and Jo Comerford, along with others, worked very hard to get both Amherst and Northampton designated as regional vaccination sites. Starting Monday, Amherst will have clinics in the Bangs Center located in downtown Amherst. If you need more information you can click here. If you need more help, you can call 2-1-1.

Around here, everyone I know is desperate to get vaccinated and is willing to go to great lengths to achieve that goal. I think that is probably true of many people across the country. I did speak to someone I know who lives in Florida; she and her husband have decided, upon reflection and study, to skip  getting the vaccine. She feels they have been careful,are in good health, and therefore, if they were to get COVID, they would get a mild case.

I don’t know how she came to that conclusion. My cousin was very careful and wore a mask wherever he went; he still got COVId and spent five days in the hospital. Now his wife has it.

Everything I have read says that getting the vaccine is preferable to getting COVID. If you have read things that convinced you not to get vaccinated, I would love to know more about that. My advice is, if you can get vaccinated, please do that. More people getting vaccinated will bring herd immunity more quickly.

Proof I got both shots.
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