In his interesting Sept. 26 Riverview Mirror column, Elliot Epstein asks why the COVID vaccination program still encounters resistance, especially compared to strong acceptance by our citizenry of the Salk polio vaccination of the 1950s. I have some thoughts.

Following World War II there was a several-year period of social conformity in the United States. This was encouraged by our leaders to make us more united, stronger in the face of increasing political tension with the Communist Soviet Union. Our lives were guided by basic conforming conditions: politeness, neat dress codes and respect for others.

Shortly after the Salk vaccine campaign waned, cultural changes began to weaken these behavioral conventions. One was the arrival of the television, which became nationally widespread by the 1960s. As the years have passed, with innumerable outlets available, its effect has been huge. Simply put, television has given viewers exposure to human capabilities, both the good and unsuitably, at times, the bad.

Then came teenage-oriented rock and roll, taking hold in the late 1950s. Most kids were excited about it, but most parents were not. Accordingly, some erosion to familial bonding took place, which continues to this day.

The loss of influence of organized religion has had an impact on our society’s trending toward fragmentation. Most people, of all ages, attended church regularly into the 1970s. In the period since attendance has steadily declined, as many are guided by the “I’ll do my own thing” method of operation, and not by doctrinal principles.

Norm Gellatly, Auburn

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