Monday, September 13, 2021

Opposite Overreaction

If you wanted proof that President Biden’s latest moves to get America vaccinated against Covid-19, all you have to do is look at the explosive hair-on-fire response from the Republicans.

Max Boot in the Washington Post:

If there was any doubt about the necessity of President Biden’s expanded vaccine mandate for millions of Americans, it was dispelled by the hyperbolic Republican reaction to his Thursday announcement. “Republicans explode with fury,” noted Fox “News” Channel. Republican governors threatened to file suit to stop what Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) called ”this blatantly unlawful overreach.” Fox News accused Biden of being “an authoritarian” and declaring “war on millions of Americans.” Breitbart claims he went “full totalitarian” and the Federalist called it a “fascist move.”

Blinded by partisanship and populism, Republicans have lost all perspective. The crux of their argument — to the extent that they have one — is that the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has no right to tell companies with at least 100 employees that workers must either get tested weekly for covid-19 or present proof of vaccination. This is the same OSHA that has issued myriad regulations over the years governing such aspects of workplace safety as the placement of step bolts. (“The employer must ensure . . . step bolts are uniformly spaced at a vertical distance of not less than 12 inches (30 cm) and not more than 18 inches (46 cm) apart.”)

I have no idea how many workers have been injured by misplaced step bolts — frankly, I’m not even sure what step bolts are — but I am guessing it is not many. I do know, however, how many Americans have been killed by covid-19: 655,000 and counting. If OSHA can protect against the menace of step bolts, I’m pretty sure it can protect against the deadliest pandemic in a century.

Perhaps the GOP simply objects to the government telling any business what to do? Except, oops, Republican governors and legislatures are doing precisely that when they tell private companies that they can’t ask for proof of vaccination. At least six red states — Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Montana, North Dakota and Texas — have prohibited most companies from demanding “vaccine passports.” So, apparently, Republicans think it’s okay for the government to force businesses to surrender to a deadly pandemic but it’s not okay for the government to mandate that businesses protect their employees and customers.

Perhaps the most tone-deaf reaction came from Gov. Greg Abbott (R) of Texas, who just signed a law effectively outlawing abortion. He now takes his stand on “protecting Texans’ right to choose whether they get the COVID vaccine.” As Molly Jong-Fast of the Daily Beast tweeted: “So conservatives want to make sure that women can’t get abortions but they are also against vaccine mandates because ‘my body my choice?’ ”

These are the same governors of states that have vaccination mandates in place for school children: vaccinations against highly communicable and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as measles, mumps, and chicken pox (which can lead later in life to shingles). On the other hand, there is no mandate to vaccinate against polio or smallpox, two deadly diseases that once ravaged the world. Why is that, you may wonder. It’s because everyone was vaccinated against them to the point that they have both been eradicated. By vaccines.

The real reason the GOP is raising holy hell about these mandates, it is because they realize that they’re on the losing end and their flaming hypocrisy is showing. Corporations and chambers of commerce are behind the mandates because they are keeping their employees healthy, which is good for business, both as workers and as customers. The only ones who are adamantly opposed to the mandates are the bug-eyed loons who claim that Bill Gates is injecting them with microchips and Jesus will smite down the disease all by himself. Whether it’s karma or Darwin, the crazies are getting their comeuppance if they’re not getting the shots.

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