Vaccine does not create a forcefield around us

I have read and heard many comments from people who are puzzled as to how someone can contract the coronavirus even though they had been vaccinated. And many say, often mockingly, "Well, what good is it to get the vaccine if you can still catch COVID?"

This leads me to believe these people are under the impression the vaccine is supposed to create some kind of magical forcefield around us, making our bodies impervious to the virus.

This is not what the vaccine does.

What the vaccine does do, and quite well, is teach our bodies' healthy cells how to better handle the virus once it has entered our systems through our mouths and noses. It cannot, and does not, prevent it from entering in the first place. It's up to us to do our best to limit exposure, and wearing an N-95 mask can greatly reduce the amount of viral load our bodies take in if and when we are exposed.

Once our systems have been conditioned by the vaccine, our chances of becoming severely ill enough to require hospitalization are greatly reduced. Wearing a mask and avoiding exposure is still our first and best defense. Mask up, and please get the vaccine.

J.C. Taylor


Trump taught him how not to act

I was raised as a conservative, white, evangelical, Southern male. I responded to the constant, racist, fear-mongering dog whistles from the conservative press exactly as I had been conditioned, unaware that I had been conditioned. On one level, the words that came out of my mouth were my own. At least, that is what I believed: We're not racist; we're only concerned about the direction of our country. Et cetera.

Thanks to our former president, I see the dog whistles now. His life example showed me how ugly they are. He taught me more about them than the most sincere, highly educated, left-wing journalist ever could have. Thanks, Donald. I owe you, big-time.

So, was I the only one who noticed that the cartoon on the right side of the Jan. 1 paper made our vice president so much blacker and more African-American than she really is — that she was barely recognizable? Ugly, mean dog-whistle. Sad.

My plea to all conservatives: Please, just stop. No more racist dog whistles. No more hatred and fear-mongering. If you have a truth to tell, tell it. Otherwise just be quiet.

Herbert K. Lea

Chickamauga, Ga.


No printed paper, but she'll adapt

I am going on a nostalgia trip before it's even time. I am preparing to say goodbye to my morning newspaper. I will miss my daily trek down the hill to the bottom of my driveway, but I am sure I will adapt. I have been adapting for many years.

I will find another way to get my morning fresh air and exercise, which is essential to my well-being.

Ring out the old and ring in the new!

Naomi Wilkins

Rising Fawn, Ga.


Help is warranted for Antonio Brown

We have all seen the replays of what happened during the Sunday Tampa Bay/New York Jets game. However, does anyone know why? Antonio Brown claimed a soar ankle, yet Coach Arians said he had been cleared to play. Refusing to play, acting like a child, having a temper tantrum. Bringing down the team with his negative attitude. Then to walk off the field pulling off his shoulder pads and jersey.

He made a scene like no other I have ever witnessed. Antonio Brown obviously needs some help. The NFL has not addressed this. I think Antonio had a breakdown, and his teammates or someone needs to step up and help. He doesn't need to play football until he is emotionally ready for the tremendous stress.

These are my thoughts. I am not a doctor but see a person in trouble.

Russell Bonds

Signal Mountain


Hickory Valley tree trimmer appreciated

Even more thanks are in order to the anonymous person who erects the Christmas tree every year at the Hickory Valley railroad crossing. It was very disheartening to me that the first tree appeared to have been vandalized and torn down. Then I went back by there a few days later and saw that another beautiful tree had been erected.

I look forward to seeing this tree every year when it appears before Christmas.

God bless this kind, caring soul whose efforts spread joy and hope to all who pass by.

Jim Collis


Base your votes on integrity, courage

In 2020, a conservative friend of mine surprised me by quietly vowing, "I'll never vote for Donald Trump." Despite his evangelical upbringing, this profoundly decent man hadn't been hornswoggled into believing that being Christian required him to support a politician who embodies everything Christ preached against. And despite his privileged economic status, he overlooked the widely touted (if largely mythical) economic benefits of Republican fiscal policy and opted not to re-elect a dangerous demagogue.

However, my friend's vote for Biden was a one-off. Like many Tennesseans, he votes R by default.

I wonder if my friend understands now, at least in Tennessee, any R vote is a vote for Trump. Currently, his wife is immunocompromised, fighting aggressive breast cancer. The governor he supported is actively endangering her life, having chosen to appease Trump's base rather than heed Tennessee's public-health experts. Meanwhile my friend's children are inheriting a democracy in peril, as most elected Republicans — including those he supported — are afraid to stand up to Trump's stolen-election lies or the violent anti-democratic movement they've spawned.

I hope all "R-by-default" Tennesseans pay attention, and that in 2022 they'll cast their votes based on different criteria, beginning with integrity and courage.

Allison Reilly Gorman


Something's fishy about Stone's story

It's time to again play "Spot the Pulpit Hypocrite" starting with everyone's favorite holy-smoking, pants-on-fire preacher and prognosticator, the one and only Perry Stone.

Stone's hilarious reply to charges of sexual harassment, financial misdeeds and intimidation by him and his dishonest disciples of deceit is a "revelation" about fish.

The only true fish thing about Perry Stone is that his explanations and laughable God-talk smell like a dead catfish lying in the August sun for three days.

Stone stoops so low as to blame his Italian heritage for being misunderstood. "I'm Italian. My whole family holds hands, rubs backs." Sorry, Perry, not all Italian men are gropers taking advantage of parishioners.

The victims of Perry Stone's habitual harassment and inappropriate sexual advances should consider a lawsuit. Stone's deposition could be the decade's best entertainment since Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Bakker were caught with their saintly pants down.

Stephen Greenfield

Cleveland, Tenn.