‘Instead of assuring the public that the pandemic would miraculously disappear on its own or pushing snake-oil therapies, as his predecessor did, Biden responded to the new crisis with much-needed federal action. On Sept. 9, he announced new mandates requiring vaccinations for the federal workforce, workers in medical facilities that accept federal funding, and (with a testing opt out) all employees of companies with more than 100 workers. (Blue states such as California and New York also imposed their own vaccine requirements.) He still didn’t go quite as far as I would have liked — he needs to impose a vaccination requirement for airline or train travel — but he went further than many had expected. It was a bold and gutsy move in light of the predictable political blowback.’
The response from Republicans was hysterical and hyperbolic. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) screamed on Twitter, “NO VACCINE MANDATES,” and Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.) condemned the mandates as “authoritarian.” A dozen Republican governors have signed legislation prohibiting coronavirus vaccine mandates in their states. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas is now trying to forbid even private companies from enforcing vaccine requirements. So much for GOP devotion to the free market.’
Meanwhile, Fox “News” Channel undermines the vaccine effort daily. Fox’s anchors — most of whom are vaccinated themselves — elevate backward vaccine resisters such as basketball star Kyrie Irving to the status of folk heroes. Predictably, Fox used Colin Powell’s death from covid to trash vaccines, even though his immune system had been compromised by cancer and Parkinson’s disease.’
Yet, despite this infuriating right-wing sabotage, the tide is turning. Between Sept. 9 and Oct. 18, the average number of daily vaccinations increased 26 percent while the average number of new cases fell 43 percent. This isn’t all because of the mandates, but they certainly helped.’
Predictions that vaccine mandates would fail (“Vaccine Mandates Can’t Stop Covid’s Spread,” warned a typical right-wing op-ed) have not panned out. At Houston Methodist Hospital, 98 percent of the staff have been vaccinated. At Novant Health in the Southeast, it’s 99 percent. At United Airlines, it’s 99 percent of employees. In the Navy, it’s 98 percent of sailors. The number of workers laid off for refusing to get vaccinated is so low that the professional prevaricators at Fox “News” were reduced to falsely attributing flight cancellations by Southwest Airlines to vaccine resistance.’
Biden gambled with vaccine mandates — and that gamble is now paying off. Our coronavirus vaccination rate is still too low, and our covid death rate is still too high compared with those of other Western countries, but that’s hardly his fault. Blame Republicans: Only 58 percent of them are vaccinated, compared with 90 percent of Democrats.’
The GOP strategy, like Satan’s, is accuse, accuse, accuse all while doing the evils they accuse everybody else of. For the People of the Lie, accusation is always a form of confession. And, as Jesus observed of the Father of lies, they too are murderers and don’t care if a million people die in the Pandemic just so long long as they can get their hands on raw, nihilist power.