GOP Governors Will Do Anything To Encourage Vaccinations, But They Won't Do That
On Thursday afternoon, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican obviously, told reporters that she has had just about enough with people not getting vaccinated, given the 10,000 new cases in her state over the last two weeks. She is reasonably sure that the state's vaccination rate of only about 33 percent — the lowest in the nation — might have something to do with it.
Alabama’s Republican Governor @kayiveyforgov has had enough with unvaccinated people in her state: “It’s time to st… https://t.co/ZjU0ed26f3— David Begnaud (@David Begnaud) 1627010153.0
But when asked what she planned to actually do about it, Ivey was simply at a loss.
Via Washington Post:
"I don't know. You tell me," the governor told a reporter in Birmingham on Thursday. "Folks [are] supposed to have common sense."
She did, however, have one message for her state: "It's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down." [...]
"Almost 100 percent of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks. And the deaths are certainly occurring with the unvaccinated folks," she told reporters at an event for a tech company. "These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain."
Earlier this week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, taking a break from hawking "Don't Fauci My Florida" shirts to encourage people to get the vaccine, said that 95 percent of people admitted to hospitals with COVID are unvaccinated and that the vaccines are saving lives.
Ron DeSantis: "If youre vaccinated — fully vaccinated — the chances of you getting seriously ill or dying from covi… https://t.co/3yG8nDcNoT— Jerry Dunleavy (@Jerry Dunleavy) 1626896691.0
Lots of people are saying "Oh look, they care now that it's killing their people!" but I'm not so sure that's it. It seems a whole lot more likely that they are concerned for their financial portfolios.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee would also like people to get vaccinated, but not if it inconveniences them or they really don't want to.
Gov. Bill Lee (R-TN) encourages Tennesseans to get vaccinated, but says the government’s role is “not to mandate, t… https://t.co/fdKDK6dcUM— The Recount (@The Recount) 1627052809.0
Now, I will say this. I actually do not think it is particularly helpful to shame people for not getting the vaccine — not because it isn't warranted, but because it just doesn't work. People don't usually feel motivated to do what you want if you tell them the reason they aren't doing it is because they aren't as smart as you are — and what ends up happening is that they go the other way and decide that you are the stupid one, because of how you are sheeple and they are thinking for themselves. Even if "thinking for themselves" means listening to people like Tucker Carlson or Marjorie Taylor Greene.
The fact is, the Republican Party, in collaboration with rightwing pundits, has been preparing these people to not take these vaccines for their entire lives. They've repeated that Ronald Reagan "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the Government, and I'm here to help" quote ad nauseam, they've trained their people to not trust anything "socialized," and particularly for the last five years they've told them that they can't trust the news because all of the news is "fake news," that academics and scientists are not to be trusted, which means there are basically no sources that these people consider trustworthy. They've made "owning the libs" a primary ethos, and what better way to own those smug liberals than to refuse to take their "Fauci ouchies."
Each of these governors, every Republican in office, has benefited from this messaging, and it is this messaging that is going to kill the people who fell for it.
That being said, we're at an impasse. These people have dug their heels in and they're not moving, and we need them to get vaccinated. They literally do not care how many people are out there tweeting "I got 99 problems but a vax ain't one" one day and then dying of COVID a month later. There is nothing that is going to convince them but inconvenience. It is time to bust out the vaccine passports for air travel and anything else within our control. Either it will convince them to get one or they will be less likely to spread COVID if they've got it.
So if these governors actually want to help the country get its act together, it's time for them to consider "actually doing something" as a possible tactic to keep people from dying.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse