How the anti-vaxxers have polarized America
THE FIRST AMERICAN case OF Covid-19 was reported on January 20, 2020. Since then, 71,708,189 confirmed cases have been reported with 868,503 deaths. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that – as of May 2021 – there could be a total 120.2 million infections in the United States. Covid-19 was the third-leading cause of death in 2020, trailing only heart disease and cancer.
If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, I don’t know what else would. This has prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to aggressively develop a vaccine to fight Covid-19. In December 2020, vaccines became available under emergency use, which started the national vaccination program. On August 23, 2021, the FDA officially approved the first vaccine.
Today, the Biden administration announced that it will make 400 million highly protective N95 masks available to Americans for free. People can pick up the masks at thousands of pharmacies and community health centers. The masks will start to become available next week and the program will be fully up and running by early February.
And just as the U.S. government has been doing its best to vaccinate and protect the people from exposure to the virus, a growing number of Americans have protested the vaccination programs the government implemented. Known as the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers, they have gained momentum particularly among whites.
Defeat the Mandates
Last January 23, a rally was organized in Washington DC that highlighted the opposition to vaccination mandates imposed by Federal, State, and local governments across the country. Known as “Defeat the Mandates: An American Homecoming,” the rally attracted several thousand protesters who weren’t wearing masks. One of the leaders of the rally was Robert F. Kennedy Jr., son and namesake of the late senator and presidential candidate who was assassinated in 1968. As one of the leaders of a movement that is encouraging Americans to risk their own health and those of others, RFK Jr. has been taken to task by several of his family members – including Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former governor of Maryland and former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II – for spreading “dangerous misinformation” about vaccines. Even his own wife, star Cheryl Hines has distanced herself from RFK Jr.’s statements.
It was reported in the news that on May 8, that the three members of the tightly-knit Kennedy clan published an op-ed declaring that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been “tragically wrong” in his years-long crusade against vaccines. RFK Jr. has become a hero of the anti-vaxxers with his persistent claims that vaccines contain deadly ingredients, in particular, a mercury-based preservative known as thimerosal, which are linked to autism.
He was wrong on both scores. Only vaccines with formulations of the flu vaccine contain thimerosal, and the type of mercury it uses is ethylmercury, which is cleared from the body quickly and harmlessly. And no vaccine causes autism. RFK Jr. should – nay, must – stop spreading false information. It’s un-American and could cause the pandemic to remain a threat to Americans’ health.
A large number of anti-vaxxers insisted that their anti-mandate sentiments came out of their desire to preserve personal freedoms. Which reminds me of Patrick Henry’s speech that he delivered at the Second Virginia Convention in 1775, when he said, “Give me liberty or give me death.” In today’s parlance, that would translate to “Give me vaccine or give me death.” Do you agree?
Recently, I was reading an article about unmasked mothers attacking – and screaming with rage — those arriving at a school with masks on. And they did it in front of little children! What’s happening in this country? Why the intolerance, anger, and loss of control?
Shade of Trump
And something just crossed my mind. Has Trumpism anything to do with this kind of behavior? I was watching the Washington DC rally on television when a reporter was interviewing several people. I couldn’t believe the things they were saying. One said that she’d only recognize one leader and that was Donald Trump. Another one said that he believed Trump won the election – by millions of vote, but he was cheated. Another one said that he’d support an insurrection against the Democrats. Another one said that there is civil war going on right now!
Obviously, America is being polarized politically right now. There is a division between the anti-vax, anti-mask, anti-mandate Americans and those who are pro-vax, pro-mask, and pro-mandate Americans. The animosity between the two groups has separated friends and even relatives. And nothing will bring them together. As a matter of fact the division is getting bigger and wider. The anti’s won’t talk to you if they find out you’re pro-vax, pro-mask or pro-mandate.
During the American Civil War, there was a straight line that separates the Southern slave states from the Northern Free states, known as the Mason-Dixon Line, which was along the southern Pennsylvania border.
However, it’s unlike the American Civil War where the division was drawn along the lines that divided the pro-slavery Southern States from the anti-slavery Yankee North. Today the division is among people in every community across the U.S. It’s neighbor against neighbor. It’s ugly!
What is the root of the problem?
There are two groups – the vaccinated (vaxxed) and the unvaccinated (unvaxxed). To prevent the spreading of the Covid virus, the unvaxxed are being confined for their safety. The unvaxxed are required to be locked down at home or in some cases in “quarantine camps.” The unvaxxed are being denied services, jobs, and entertainment – for a good reason. They didn’t want the unvaxxed to mingle with the vaxxed for fear of infecting the unvaxxed with the Covid virus. Restaurants and theaters require their customers to show their vaccination cards. You cannot ride a public transportation without proof of vaccination. Deaths of the unvaxxed bring joy to the vaxxed. Nobody would attend funeral services for people who died mysteriously for fear of getting infected.
Anybody who opposed treatments or vaccines were shunned and branded as heretics. You can be fired form your job, expelled from school or shamed in public if you refused to be vaccinated. You cannot make public statements against the “science” or vaccination lest you’ll be treated like a pariah, an enemy of the state.
The government wants compliance, hence the mandates. They force businesses to impose compliance. And the fear-mongers would remind you that the government is using science to shackle people to comply with mandates and executive orders that they deemed tyrannical and dictatorial. Are we governed by Hitlers and Mussolinis bandying as the Pied Piper who enticed people to follow him through outrageous promises and personal charisma?
Now, you can see how Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could easily enthrall the American people into believing the “dangerous misinformation” he is spreading about vaccines.
At the end of the day, the attempt of RFK Jr. to mislead the American people would fail because nothing good would come out of an evil design.