The cult of the vax-mandate fanatics.
Watching the reaction to Governor Dan McKee’s extremely mild adjustment to his dictatorial mandate that all healthcare workers must be vaccinated against COVID-19 has been disconcerting. Here’s the upshot of his change, per Alexa Gagosz and Brian Amaral in the Boston Globe:
Rhode Island will allow health care workers who aren’t vaccinated against COVID-19 to work even after Oct. 1 if there’s a risk to quality of care in their absence, the state Department of Health announced Tuesday. …
The reprieve comes with a number of caveats: Health care facilities would have to demonstrate that unvaccinated health care workers are critical to patient needs. Anyone who’s not complying is subject to enforcement on Oct. 1. And if an unvaccinated worker has to work beyond Oct. 1 to address that risk to quality of care, their employer would have 30 days to ensure the role is filled by a fully vaccinated health care worker, the state said. They’ll also have to ensure that new hires are vaccinated against COVID-19.
In short, if the hardline mandate would create a dangerous situation in a specific position, the employer can have an extra 30 days to fulfill a plan to prevent that outcome. That’s it. Attempt to discuss the topic with those who’ve pounced on the governor, however, and one gets the impression of either an ideological blitzkrieg or the panic of fanatics. There is no moderate ground. They see COVID-19 as a deadly (and mysterious) threat that sweeps away all presumptions of personal choice and vaccines as the only satisfactory tool.
Socialist state senator Sam Bell, for instance, responded to the news in his characteristic fashion:
Extremely disappointing to see @GovDanMcKee cave to the anti-vax lobby. He should be doubling down on vaccines, not backing down.
Note that, in Bell’s view, the governor isn’t trying to make difficult decisions at the tail end of a pandemic during which his constituents are making decisions in a highly politicized environment. Simply, he “caved to the anti-vax lobby.” Even the construct is ludicrous. There is no “anti-vax lobby.” There is no moneyed special interest that stands to gain by stopping vaccination. There are just concerned people.
The tweet is much more telling than Bell probably understands, and even people who agree with activists like him on policy should take note. If you think socialists and progressives value democracy and people’s input, look at what he’s done here. Grassroots people object to a government action, and Bell writes them off as a lobby and insists the governor should “double down,” not “back down,” against them.
There is much more than simple concern about a disease going on here… enough that it should give even the (relatively moderate) governor pause.