It seems as if every day we see another slew of headlines about the Delta variant and “resurgence” of the virus in this or that place. In reality, even some of these surges involve a number of new positive tests that are still vastly lower than during the height of the pandemic last winter. Still, there are cities that are bringing back mask mandates and complaining loudly about the slow vaccination rates. These complaints are being picked up in the liberal media, with the vast majority of the blame being cast at a predictable group: white, Republican Trump voters. If you think I’m making that up, I’ll prove it in a moment, but I wanted to briefly address a couple of these liberal talking points and the threats being tossed around today.
A prime example popped up today from Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo. I’ll confess that I don’t wind up reading as much of Josh’s stuff as I did back in the day, but I couldn’t resist a click when I saw the headline, “Is Vaxed America Running Out of Patience?” You don’t need a crystal ball or a pile of chicken entrails to figure out that the unwritten conclusion to that title was, “… with unvaccinated Americans?” I’ll admit that this put me up on my hind legs for a moment, but I figured I’d give it a look anyway.
I’m not objecting so much to Marshall’s premise that the vaccinated and frightened might be feeling frustration with those who don’t want to be vaccinated or prefer to wait until there’s a lot more data on the vaccines. I get it. They are fed so many alarming stories every day from a press corps that loves to pump up the hype if there’s the slightest shift in the COVID numbers. What bothers me is the almost comically tiptoe approach that so many of them, including Marshall, take when trying to identify who the bad guys are and the assumptions they make about the rights of the government and the vaccinated when it comes to other people’s medical decisions.
Let’s start with the “evidence” that Josh presents about the people who are late to the vaccination party. He talks about a reporter who went to a pop-up vaccination pod in Los Angeles and met a number of people who could have been vaccinated months ago but just made the decision this week. (Emphasis added)
The people who turned out at this clinic were mainly Latino immigrants, so not the demographic that has garnered the most attention in the mainstream media discussion. The reasons ranged the gamut: they’d had COVID and assumed continued immunity; they didn’t want to or couldn’t take time from work; they had general apprehensions about a vaccine without a long testing history; they’d heard conspiracy theories women becoming infertile. In some cases, it was perhaps some vague mix of one or more of these and just continuing to put it off – apathy for lack of a better word.
What jumped out to me is that basically none of the couple dozen people who showed up the day Mejia was there had held out for any ideological or political reasons. And in most cases – as their being there to get their shot makes clear – they were ultimately convincible.
Did you note the highlighted portions? Marshall is quick to point out that these are “Latino immigrants.” That means that everyone on the left has to rush to the bulwarks and make sure nobody suggests there’s anything disruptive or “bad” about their decision to wait this long to get a shot. And of course, there was nothing political about it. (Perish the thought.) And yet for the “couple dozen” people who bothered to show up in one of the most populous cities in the world (great sample size, by the way) they cited reasons including “apprehension about a vaccine without a long testing history,” and a previous satisfaction with their own antibodies since they had already survived the disease.
Pardon me, but the vast majority of unvaccinated people I’ve heard from among the “stereotypical Trumpers refusing for reasons tied to political commitment and ideology,” (that’s Josh’s description one paragraph later of the real bad guys in this story) have cited the exact same reasons. But somehow, if a white Republican Trump voter says the exact same thing, one is political warfare while the other is “justifiable apprehension.” Does anyone proofread this stuff before it’s published?
Apparently seeking some sort of moral support in this battle, Marshall then summons up none other than… Brian Stelter. That’s where he picked up the idea of vaccinated America growing “fed up” with the unvaccinated. Here’s what Mr. Potato Head had to say.
Thesis: This was the week that vaccinated America started to get really fed up. pic.twitter.com/4VZfkuvVMF
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 25, 2021
Marshall goes on to try to draw distinctions, saying that minorities are more “vaccine-hesitant” while white, Republican Trump voters are “vaccine-resistant,” as if there’s some sort of difference there. What he ignores in assigning all of this blame is a fact that even the CDC continues to admit on a regular basis. On a per-capita basis, both Hispanic and Black Americans are vastly less likely to take the vaccines than whites or Asians. But nobody is “fed up” with them, right? Only with a politically convenient group of people of a particular skin tone and party affiliation. Everyone else refusing to be vaccinated is just fine and needs to be allowed their space to process things.
It’s all sickening. The corruption inherent in these thought patterns should be enough to cause you to lose your appetite.
There’s also a huge assumption in these arguments being put forward by both Marshall and Stelter, along with the rest of their cohort. That assumption is that being “fed up” with the choices of others somehow implies that they have the right to enact some course of action to correct the perceived errors of their political opponents’ ways. As we’ve discussed here previously, there is no court precedent for a federal mandate telling everyone they have to be vaccinated because no president has ever tried. Private businesses can make vaccination mandatory as a condition of employment (and some are already doing so), but when the federal government and their water carriers in the media start encouraging that on a broad scale, a very serious problem emerges.
As Marshall himself notes, the current full vaccination rate of Americans above the age of 12 is still barely above 50%, and even among adults over 18 the rate is barely 60%. Josh sees this as a political opportunity for Democrats and believes that some Republicans who are now announcing they’ve been vaccinated have been “frightened into it” by the potential political consequences. But does anyone think that the American economy could keep running if we had to fire 40% of the workforce who aren’t vaccinated? And will the left be able to swallow the pill when they learn that the highest statistical number of newly unemployed people will be Black and Hispanic workers?
Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.