This is an opinion column.
We knew this day would come.
Despite his now-empty promises, President Joe Biden is trying to enact a sweeping, unprecedented vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees. Workers can either take it, submit to weekly COVID tests or hit the road. Any business defying the decree can face up to $14,000 fines for each “violation.”
Biden didn’t hold back when he announced his plan Thursday, blaming the unvaccinated for the continuing pandemic and pledging to get anyone “out of the way” who dares stand up to him, including state governors.
You can love the vaccine (it’s certainly one of Trump’s crowning achievements) and think everyone should get it, but even the most pro-vaccine among us should shudder at what is a naked, dangerous power grab by the Biden administration.
What’s more, it’s not going to work.
Republican governors, officials and business leaders of good conscience are already mounting a legal defense against the mandate, which will most certainly fail when it has its day in court, despite Biden’s clever use of OSHA to implement the rule.
It’s been said before, but by now, in our 78th week to “slow the spread,” anyone who wants the vaccine has already gotten it. Biden asked in his speech what the unvaccinated are waiting for, apparently not realizing that they aren’t waiting; they don’t want it.
What the mandate will do is make people more distrusting of the government and the vaccines, further divide the country, increase supply shortages and exacerbate the already dire labor situation. (It’ll also distract from Biden’s recent debacle in Afghanistan).
That’s why the U.S. Postal Service is exempt from the mandate; it can’t stand to lose anymore employees.
That’s how you know Biden’s plan isn’t about your health. Since the pro/antivaccine debate splits, more or less, along party lines, it's a decent proxy for other political leanings and worldview. The mandate, if it stands for any amount of time, appears to be designed with that in mind to help Democrats cull the herd of political undesirables from the country’s top businesses, industries and institutions.
It’s hard not to get that impression when liberal elites lampoon deaths of the unvaccinated and try to refuse them medical care.
Vaccine or not, COVID looks to be here to stay. But the real lasting effect of this pandemic will be how we behave and how we treat each other.
Much like the road to Hell, the path to tyranny is forged with good intentions and a population willing to let the government tell them what’s best without question.
Less people vaccinated may mean more people will die. That’s something every unvaccinated person knows and accepts at this point. But the subjugation of our most basic freedom is a casualty too much for this country to bear.
If you’re vaccinated, that should be your free choice, and you should support those who decide differently.
But don’t take for granted the freedoms we enjoy today, because they were hard won against overlords who thought they, too, knew better and had our best interests in mind.
Daniel Taylor is news editor for The Reporter. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.