The United States has an internal enemy that threatens global public health in this age of COVID-19.
That enemy is determined to do all it can to destroy the health of people not only within the United States, but anywhere that is linked to the United States by international travel.
The enemy screams denunciations of science and of scientists. The enemy clings to crazy conspiracy theories about personages as widely different as Bill Gates and the Queen of England.
The enemy has a widespread political movement, holds rallies, and enters state houses armed to the teeth.
I am not talking about the pirates of Somalia, ISIS, or al Shabaab. Neither am I writing a history of 1930s Germany.
What am I talking about? I am talking about the anti-vaccine movement, usually shortened to anti-vaxx. This scurrilous movement is intertwined with the “Open Up America” protests against COVID-19 shutdowns and is connected with the movement to delegitimize the US government. Antivaxx is also involved in similar protests in Germany that include far right elements .
The health of a nation is fundamental to its strength, prestige, and wealth.
Anti-vaxxers are scoundrels who wrap themselves in the United States flag all the while they threaten the health and wealth of the United States, as well as the health of anyone who lives anywhere connected by commercial flights to the United States. This is even more the case currently than in the last few years, when the major threat linked with anti-vaxxers was a set of sporadic measles outbreaks. The public acceptance of a safe and effective future coronavirus vaccine will be crucial to control of the pandemic.
A naive guess would place anti-vaxxers across the political spectrum from left-wing hippies who love organic food to conservative. Although people at both political extremes are drawn to the anti-vaxx movement, the influence of liberal or progressive elements is less in today’s anti-vaxx movement than it was in earlier years.
The current reality is that there are few crunchy granolas left in the anti-vaxx movement except for Democratic family scion Robert F. Kennedy, Jr and actor Jim Carrey. The majority are right wing and are infatuated with conspiracy theories, some of which are anti-Semitic. Political affiliation is connected with attitudes toward vaccinations.
The traditional Republican Party evolved from the party of Abraham Lincoln during the 1850s and 1860s to the party of commerce, industry, and scientific progress during the 1880s all the way through the 1980s. You would never recognize that Party in today’s Republican Party infested with anti-vaxxers and nutjobs.
Principled conservatives must go back to ideals of national strength and civic pride. The must reject elements that fly Confederate flags in places like Wisconsin (you’d have to go to Maine or da’UP of Michigan to get further North of the former Confederacy) while spouting anti-vaxx propaganda.