'The Republican Party’s been taken over by crazy people': GOP hysteria intensifies over Biden vaccine mandate
With the pandemic having killed more than 4.6 million people worldwide (according to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore) and over 666,000 people in the United States, President Joe Biden made an aggressive push on his pro-vaccination campaign by ordering employees of the federal government and larger companies to get vaccinated for the COVID-19 coronavirus.And far-right hysteria over Biden's vaccination campaign, journalist David Smith reports in an article published by The Guardian on September 16, is going from bad to worse.
"When Joe Biden announced sweeping federal coronavirus vaccine requirements for 100 million Americans," Smith explains, "the White House was braced for objections from Republican opponents. But this being 2021, the right-wing backlash has gone way beyond mere political debate into the realm of incendiary language that, analysts fear, could translate into direct and violent action."
Smith cites "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance (who is seeking the GOP nomination in Ohio's 2022 U.S. Senate race), Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster as examples of Republicans who have been hyperventilating over Biden's vaccine order. McMaster promised to fight "to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian," while Reeves tweeted that Biden's "unconstitutional move is terrifying."
And Vance declared, "Only mass civil disobedience will save us from Joe Biden's naked authoritarianism" (yes, that is the same Vance who has been railing against "the childless left" and saying that Americans who don't have children shouldn't hold public office).
Of course, if Republicans want to hold peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations against vaccine mandates, they are free to do that. There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution saying that free speech has to be intelligent or well-reasoned. But Kurt Bardella, a former Republican and Breitbart News spokesman who became a Democrat after rebelling against Trumpism, fears that far-right anti-vaxxer and anti-masker demonstrations will turn violent.
Bardella told The Guardian, "After what we saw in this country on January 6, 'civil disobedience' is code word for violence and acts of terror when it comes to the Republican Party. So many in this party are trying to whitewash the events of January 6, have referred to those behind it as 'patriots' and have gone so far as to suggest that those who have been incarcerated for their crimes should be released. The only conclusion that one can draw from their ongoing rallying cries for what they call 'civil disobedience' is that it is a call for more violence, more mayhem, more destruction, and solidifies the reality that the Republican Party is a domestic terrorist organization."
Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, believes that anti-vaxxer extremism is endangering the lives of Republicans.
Kamarck told The Guardian, "It's dangerous for others, and it's dangerous for themselves. How many right-wing talk show hosts have already died of COVID? It's actually fairly inexplicable. I can certainly see getting wrought up over taxes or freedom or going to war or all the other things the state does, but giving vaccines? This is crazy, frankly. There's just no other word for it than crazy."
Kamarck continued, "The Republican Party's been taken over by crazy people. All these people who are doing this, their children have gotten polio vaccines, measles, mumps, rubella. All babies in the United States get their shots, and that is mandatory. It is mandatory to go to school. So, this is pretty insane."
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