Brunswick Beacon, 12.15.22
Winter is coming. So are more unnecessary COVID deaths. Since vaccines became widely available in May 2021, MAGA-Republicans have gotten far fewer vaccinations and suffered much higher death rates. NPR’s analysis found counties that voted strongly for Trump had 226% the death rate of strongly Biden counties. Brown University’s study shows 320,000 Americans have died needlessly due to vaccine refusal. The first thing MAGA-Republicans did with their razor-thin majority was inflict that same needless risk on our troops.
Kevin McCarthy wants to be Speaker of the House like a kid wants Christmas. Putting political self-interest before his duty to the troops, he’s refusing to fund the military unless it drops its COVID vaccine requirement. The services administer 17 mandatory vaccines to service members. McCarthy objected only to COVID vaccination, to win MAGA-Republican votes for Speaker.
Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Lloyd Austin mandated COVID vaccination “to protect the Force and defend the American people.” Responding to McCarthy, Austin said: “A million people died in the United States. We lost hundreds in DOD. This mandate has kept people healthy.” Austin says “mission-critical inoculation is almost as old as the U.S. military itself.” Indeed, it began with George Washington, who survived smallpox at 17, acquiring lifelong immunity and facial scars.
Inoculation began in the colonies in 1721. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Martha Washington were all inoculated. So were British troops, who successfully defended Canada from an American army stricken with smallpox. Washington then ordered his troops to be inoculated, saying there was “more to dread from [smallpox] than from the Sword of the Enemy.”
McCarthy is holding troops hostage so he can hold the speaker’s gavel. Washington would hold him in contempt.