Jay Inslee’s proposal to create sections at events for people who can prove they are vaccinated has produced inevitable incoherent arguments about “FREEDOM” from Republicans:
Vaccine passports, of a sort, have now officially arrived in Washington state. The usual suspects are responding by evoking Gestapo Germany.
“People who claim to be vaxxed must present their papers at any time, on request. Whose request? Ze authorities!” said state Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen, a leading critic of the idea.
Walsh was responding to Gov. Hitler, I mean Sunny Jay Inslee, who announced this week that churches, stadiums and other big venues can add “vaccinated sections” to their seating — and thereby admit more people.
Walsh had sponsored a bill in the Legislature that would have blocked proof of vaccination being used as a condition of access to any place of business, public building or grounds. It didn’t pass, but presumably it would have barred the type of “vaccine ticket” program that Inslee put forward this week.
At Walsh’s Facebook page, he has been leading hundreds of Washington state residents in characterizing the premise as an invasion of health privacy, as well as an unconstitutional restraint on freedom.
But what was most interesting — clever, even — about what Inslee actually did is how optional and non-Nazi-like it all was. Inslee isn’t requiring that anybody do anything with respect to vaccine status. He set it all up not as a mandate, but as an incentive.
So Inslee took Walsh’s language about tyranny and flipped it on its head, framing this as the onset of freedom itself.
“There will be an increasing number of incentives available to people and businesses like this going ahead,” Inslee said Tuesday. “It’s a way to start to get total liberty from this pandemic.”
I see what you did there, and it’s correct.
Relatedly, Will Wilkinson has an excellent piece about how DeSantisite Republicans (i.e. the overwhelming majority of them) don’t believe in freedom of association, they just believe in owning the libs, and in this case actively opposing any incentive for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19, including ones voluntarily chosen by private businesses and their customers, even though such requirements are banal for many activities:
Ron DeSantis, the Governor of Florida, agrees with Kelly that vaccine passports should be banned. “It’s completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society,” DeSantis said.
But why is this “completely unacceptable”? Kids can’t go to school or camp without submitting vaccination records. I had to prove my vaccination status to go to college and grad school. This is all “normal society.” It’s pretty maddening that the direct experience of a monumentally fatal infectious disease has somehow left Americans less clear about the rationale for standard vaccination requirements. But here we are with the governor of Florida casually giving voice to the position of an entitled anti-vax extremist who ardently believes that it is the height of tyranny to discriminate in any way against unvaccinated individuals, even if they pose a risk to the health of the entire community.
However, I don’t expect that DeSantis will try to ban vaccination requirements for Florida public schools, because there is no actual principle at work here. Conservatives are consistent only in their opportunistic incoherence. “No principle but advantage” is the GOP’s implicit motto. The only surprising Republican behavior in these uncertain times is a less than enthusiastic embrace of nihilistic hypocrisy.
Anyway, good on Inslee for telling these people to eat shit.