Anti-vaxxers biting the tires

The title comes from a poem I read in elementary school or junior high in which the narrator laments his dead dog (wording is not verbatim: “Poor, foolish Job/He wasn’t content to chase the truck/He had to bite the tires/Fools have no luck.”

Which is where a lot of the anti-vaxxers seem to be at: they willfully bit the truck and now they’re paying for it. Texas politician H. Scott Apley, for instance, who declared one health official celebrating effective vaccines was “the enemy of a free people.” Apley is now dead. He once sneered that middle-class families could afford private health insurance if they managed their money well. Apparently he didn’t as his family have a GoFundMe for their own Trump Virus bills and Apley’s funeral.

This isn’t typical of all unvaccinated Americans. Many people still have trouble getting off work, let alone risking a couple of days laid up by a bad reaction. And people like conservative radio host Dick Farrel, who came down with covid, saw the light before his death (he’d previously labeled Fauci a lying freak) and encouraged others to get vaccinated, deserve credit for admitted they were wrong. As opposed to this woman. Or this one (“A healthy body and immune system [do] not need the vaccine.”). Or right-wing hack Glenn Reynolds warning his readers that if you give in and start masking and vaxxing, you’ve been gaslighted by liberal elites.

Quite simply, hundreds, perhaps thousands of Americans will die of the Trump Virus because they chose not to get vaccinated. The ones who can’t yet get vaccinated are tragic; are the refuseniks? I alternate between sympathy and anger. Anger because the vaccine is available, free, effective and safe. Sympathy because a lot of them are being misled by ass-hats like Greg Locke, who claims Tennessee will lock the unvaccinated up in concentration camps. Like whining about how they’re  treated like Jews in Nazi Germany, delusions of imminent internment have been around since long before the pandemic.

We also have Laura Ingraham lying that masks are only effective in a surgical setting. And Matt Staver’s anti-gay turned anti-vax group Liberty Council, which claims the vaccine will connect your brain to the Internet and sterilize you. Staver has been raising money off anti-vaxxers (he’ll fight the oppression! Send him your cash!). He and Ron DeSantis are not the only ones milking anti-vaxxers for gobs of cash. Some of them pretend they’re horrified about the idea of vaccinating kids, ignoring that it’s preferable to the effects of Long Covid. And it’s not just the victims who suffer: Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who’s actively opposed vaccine mandates and mask mandates, is now telling Texans to postpone elective surgeries — and calling in out-of-state medical workers to cope with the rising Covid case load.

But we’ve also got boatloads of ignorance, belligerence and lies. The woman who said I Am Legend proved vaccines are dangerous.  Phony historian David Barton claiming that using ankle monitors to ensure quarantine patients stay home would violate the Third Amendment. People treating vaccine mandates as if they were a radical new idea. Clinging to invermectin, a drug that doesn’t work on Covid.

Some governments around America are taking Covid seriously: Los Angeles is requiring vax proof to enter public indoor spaces. California is requiring school staff have vaccination passports or undergo weekly testing.  But then we have Florida, Texas. And Springfield, where the city council encouraged vaccination and some of the public had a shit fit. Ted Cruz pandering to anti-vaxxers. And these bullying psychos in Tennessee.

Paul Krugman points out this is where Republicans have been on climate change for years, refusing to believe the evidence — but the evidence the Trump Virus is real is a lot harder to ignore. Nevertheless we have Republicans like my state’s  Lt. Governor, Mark Robinson, saying we should vote out any politician who promotes or takes the vaccine. Not imposing mandates or requiring vaccine passports, simply being pro-vaccine. LGM suggests anti-rationality is now Republican orthodoxy — rejecting science and evidence is their political correctness.

And as Adam Server writes, there’s a vicious circle going: The Former Guy and his toadies whipped up anti-vax sentiment among the base. Fox News caters to their audience by siding with the Former Guy and pooh-poohing the need for vaccination, then “the conservative media’s devotion to undermining vaccination encourages Republican elected officials with political ambitions to make irresponsible public-health decisions, because they understand how media coverage shapes the attitudes of the GOP’s voters.” Abbott and DeSantis fear for their political careers if they cross the base more than they care about the dead. Hence DeSantis being anti-mask, anti-vaxx mandate but pro-extremely expensive therapies.

As noted at one of the links, the best chance for breaking through may be that a continuing pandemic is bad for business. The Republican money has been perfectly fine catering to the right-wing crazies if it elects anti-tax, anti-regulation politicians (and the judges they appoint). Now the extreme irrationality is threatening the bottom line. Perhaps that will shake things up.

Law professor Paul Campos, in one of these posts, says if ICU beds become tight, maybe those who choose to be unvaccinated should get access behind those who’ve had their shots (he doubts that meets medical law or ethics though). I understand the logic, but I’d much rather the anti-vaxxers stop biting the damn tires. Unfortunately it’s not going to happen soon.

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