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The politics of vaccination


These figures are not what you would call ambiguous.

As of yesterday, the 22 states with the highest percentage of the population that has been at least partially vaccinated against COVID all voted for Biden.

Of the 16 states with the lowest vaccinated percentage of the population, all but one (Georgia) voted for Trump.

It’s two countries, and one of them is full of science-hating superstitious idiots, who by a striking coincidence also tend to worship bogus authority figures and white supremacy.

As to what can be done about this, we can and should deploy as many carrots and sticks as reasonably possible to improve the numbers, but at some point — and that point is pretty much now — you have to throw up your hands and get back to something resembling normal.

To give a specific example, I’m going to be pretty appalled if children are required to wear masks at school this fall, given the relative risks, and the fact (at least I hope it will be a fact) that all public school adult personnel will be required to be vaccinated as a condition of their employment.

Another example: I’ve been trying to get into a certain national archive for nearly a year now, to access some records that can’t be accessed in any other way. I fully understand the decision to keep the national archives closed for more than a year, but at this point what is the justification for continuing to do so? Reducing COVID risk to zero is obviously impossible. With pretty much every adult, with the exception of rare immuno-compromised people, who actually wants to be vaccinated now vaccinated, we shouldn’t be waiting any longer for whatever combination of incentives will sweep up more of the stragglers, important as it is to continue those efforts.

As for the people who will continue to refuse no matter what, well some men you just can’t reach, and that’s too bad, but we can’t maintain restrictions while we wait for them to get their minds right. Not as long as anything like the current version of right wing politics and the media ecosystem that feeds it continues to exist in this country, anyway.

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