Lotteries. Free donuts. Free beer. Free guns. $100 cash. States have tried to offer a wide variety of carrots to convince their citizens to get the shots to vaccinate them against COVID-19. But the MAGA holdouts? The only thing that seems to be effective in moving them towards vaccination is the stick (which is more typical for cultish types). The growing threat of severe hospitalizations, death, and exclusion from attending public places is finally moving some of them to vaccinate themselves.
These Republican rubes who excitedly swallow hateful and destructive propaganda from Fox News, Newsmax, Facebook, etc. have been programmed to reject any and every source of actual scientific information including from public health organizations. They have been conditioned to believe that any effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is an evil Democratic scam (even though Trump backed the development of vaccines and even caught COVID-19 by being as anti-mask as they are). To them, it’s just another battleground for warfare against Pres. Biden and the Dems. They have been told that they must stand strong against COVID-19 protections and that it is a necessary show of loyalty to their clan. The horrible and cynical truth is of course that the wealthy and political elite behind the GOP and this self-destructive campaign (including Trump) don’t have a shred of conscience about killing hundreds of thousands of their own people (who they see as expendable rubes) if they can make Biden’s efforts to end the pandemic look like a failure and hammer that in 2022 and 2024 to retake power (possibly for at least a generation if their corruption of elections stands).
These followers of the zombified GOP actually welcome the overthrow of democracy and the oppression of all Americans including them. as long as the people they hate will be oppressed more. That seems like a bargain to these geniuses.
So the concept of “incentives” has predictably fallen flat in motivating these pawns of wealthy plutocrats to cooperate with their fellow Americans in ending the horrible suffering and death from this pandemic (remember Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick declaring in 2020 that grandparents should be willing to die to protect a continuation of revenues by businesses and corporations?).
Trying to incentivize people who are immoral to do the moral thing (and protect their own lives over marching behind their fascist leaders) is a bit of a pipe dream (I don’t think free donuts would have changed the behavior of Nazis devoted to Hitler…much as I don’t like to underestimate the power of free donuts). That was never going to work with the MAGAs but it was smart to begin that way and bring over those who were hesitant or procrastinating for other reasons before justifiably dropping the hammer down on this GOP’s Death Cult.
The latest slew of stark statistics: Daily cases passing 100,000 — numbers not seen since February. A seven-day average of hospital admissions up by more than 40 percent from the week before and deaths trending up by roughly the same rate.
There is a bright spot, officials said — a significant boost in the numbers of Americans getting vaccinated. They cited a 90 percent jump in first shots in Tennessee over the last two weeks; an 82 percent increase in Oklahoma and a 66 percent rise in Georgia, among other hopeful signs. Nearly 650 colleges and universities are now requiring shots for students and staff on campus, and more than 100 health care systems are embracing similar mandates, they said.
What precipitated this turnaround by Repubs on getting vaccines? A couple of weeks ago, the curious sight of Republicans and Fox News hosts suddenly doing a 180 and promoting vaccines seemed a bit bizarre…but the pandemic rampaging through Republican-run states was the stick that beat them back from their death march. Simple logic, if many more Republicans in Red states die from COVID-19 and thus won’t be able to vote, what’s the point of rigging elections? As one would expect, many in the mindless Republican masses, once given their new marching orders from their masters, changed direction and many are now getting vaccinated. Some may also have been swayed by the panic in their states voiced by those running overwhelmed hospitals while others may have been pushed by their employers or states requiring vaccinations.
Bottom line, it is a good thing for all Americans that these selfish people are getting vaccinated in greater numbers now. However, not all are getting the shots, some are just as committed to the propaganda, that wearing a mask or getting a shot would be a betrayal of Trump and the GOP.
This is why continuing to use the stick against these maladjusted people is what needs to continue. As I’ve often said, you can’t use reason to persuade someone who didn’t use reason to adopt their views. And that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use reason in the way we use the stick.
It is such a simple proposition, especially when it comes to pandemics, to quarantine those who may have or transmit it. Common practice, it’s why we essentially quarantined the country in 2020. For the protection of the majority.
So it would be wholly consistent with what our country has already done and what many countries have done through this pandemic and previous ones, to quarantine those who refuse to get vaccinated from public places where the majority of our population gather, who have become vaccinated.
Pres. Biden has been very hesitant to promote a national quarantine of the unvaccinated under government order and it is not unjustified to be concerned that such a move could whip up these QAnon types to use that as fodder for greater existential conspiracies (“The next step is to take our guns and send us to concentration camps to be executed! We need to revolt now or it will be too late!”) that result in violent insurrections that could be worse than 1/6.
But…businesses and state and local governments can use exclusion to squeeze these red hat nihilists into a tight and uncomfortable corner. And many big corporations and state and federal government departments have announced that they will require all workers to be vaccinated so this is already happening.
Additionally, airlines should require vaccine cards for anyone to fly as they already require driver’s licenses (and in 2023, Real ID licenses only no matter how much a MAGA or Karen may cry and howl). Restaurants, bars, stadiums, movie theaters, concerts, any destination where people gather should require proof of at least one vaccination shot for entry.
The City of New York is implementing this very policy. It doesn’t go into effect until September but just the announcement of it has boosted vaccinations by 40% from where they were the previous week.
The key is, the thing that people whine the most about is the thing that they worry about the most. What have the MAGA crowd howled about the most, what do they try to seem the most defiant about in the name of “freedom”? Having their selfishness undermined. That’s the pressure point.
The requirement of proof of vaccination to be in a public place, a fair and reasonable threshold to protect the majority of people and our economy and society, is very reasonable. And it is a very easy threshold for the unvaccinated to “cure” at no cost. It also allows them to refuse to be vaccinated without endangering those who are vaccinated.
This is how to push that vaccinated rate up to 80%-90%, which would be needed for herd immunity and to prevent COVID-19 from returning as a pandemic (fingers crossed that a variant doesn’t appear that requires new vaccines).
If some Dems worry that the resulting resentment could hurt the party in retaining the majorities in Congress, nope. First, only these dyed-in-the-wool-MAGA sheep would be the angry holdouts and they’re never voting for a Dem. Second, if this reasonable step results in crushing COVID-19 permanently, that’s all most Americans will think of when they think about it.
The hand-wringing by some Dems in Congress about not wanting to look mean or partisan is foolish. They owe a greater loyalty to protecting the majority of Americans who are doing their part to fight the pandemic and protect others. Let the Repubs in Congress wail about how horrible it is not to let their followers infect the majority in public places, they will wail about how they’re being victimized anyway by whatever the situation is, they’ve been doing it for decades and that’s their favorite ploy for whipping up their base and fundraising. That’s not going to be stopped by permitting their rabid followers to spread COVID-19 to the majority.
And for those of goodwill who have immune issues or are advised by doctors that the vaccine could endanger their health, they should receive waivers that allow them to be in public places (but masked).
Time to end this pandemic, prevent those trying to keep it going from doing so and allowing those who are doing the right thing to safely engage in their constitutional right to get back to their pursuit of happiness.