I happen to be a resident of Massachusetts, which is the state where Robert f. Kennedy, Jr., started his crazy, anti-vaccine campaign. This state also happens to be the state which is most dependent on medicine for jobs and income – Harvard, Tufts, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham, etc., - so nobody paid the Kennedy kid any mind.
Then the Pandemic showed up, then[MW1] Trump decided to make vaccinations an issue in the Presidential campaign, and all of a sudden, we actually find ourselves having to explain and justify an aspect of medical science that has only proven its value for the past hundred years.
The craziest thing about the vaccination resistors is that they actually seem to believe that a government public health mandate represents some kind of plot to take away their freedoms and reduce America to a kind of slave state. The narrative I hear most frequently is that everyone should have the ‘right’ to decide for themselves how they want to respond to this threat without some government hack like Fauci telling them what they can and cannot do.
Did these assholes ever hear of speed limits? Did they ever come to an intersection and wait for the traffic light to change from red to green? We willingly give government the authority to determine safe behavior because otherwise God only knows the price we would pay.
The truth is that I don’t think that people who stick a sign on their front lawn which says ‘I’ll decide what’s best for my kids’ have really thought through this issue at all. They certainly haven’t taken the trouble to examine their behavior through any kind of filtering mechanism that would require even the slightest attention paid to the facts.
What Trump managed to do, and I have to give him credit for this approach, was to build a following by appealing to people who are permanently pissed off. And there are a lot of them out there. And they are particularly susceptible to appeals for how much better things used to be when the country was run the way it’s supposed to be run – one White man married to one White woman, and everyone else can keep their mouths shut and stay the fu*k out of the way.
The problem with this approach, however, is that it doesn’t understand that a virus doesn’t take the trouble to check voter registration lists as it moves from host to host. And what seems to be happening with the Covid-19 virus is that it is moving most deeply and most quickly into populations that continue to resist the public health approach who happen to be, for the most part, people who vote GOP.
NPR has just published a study (thanks Paula) comparing Covid-19 death rates to votes for Trump and Joe in 3,000 counties since May, 2021. This is the date when vaccines became widely available.
Here is what they found: “People living in counties that went 60% or higher for Trump in November 2020 had 2.73 times the death rates of those that went for Biden. Counties with an even higher share of the vote for Trump saw higher COVID-19 mortality rates.”
This red-blue disparity may not yet be all that obvious because when the virus first started spreading, it hit urban neighborhoods before moving out to the hinterlands, and urban neighborhoods are where you find all those blue votes.
But there are still one-third of Americans who are not vaccinated and the experts tell us that as long as the unvaccinated number doesn’t go down, the virus will continue to be a threat.
And where will the threat be greatest? In the communities which the GOP depends on for their votes.
All the Democrats need to keep control of the Congress next year is to either keep all the seats they have or turn a few red seats blue. Could vaccine resistance shave enough GOP voters off the roles to make a 2022 Democratic victory come true?