GOP Doesn't Deserve Early Vaccinations
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is a healthy 49-year-old man. Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst is a healthy 50-year-old woman. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is a healthy 55-year-old man.
What possible justification could there be for them cutting to the front of the vaccination line ahead of so many more deserving frontline medical workers, the elderly and the immuno-compromised? We should all be shocked and outraged by their stunning display of selfish behavior.
These are some of the same Republicans who dismissed the virus for months, and they are now rushing to get inoculated from it.
But what else is new from a group of individuals who think only of themselves? This is the Republican way. Anyone who is surprised that these self-serving people elbowed their way past millions of centenarians, nonagenarians, octogenarians and septuagenarians -- let alone this nation’s dedicated doctors, nurses and ambulance medics -- hasn’t been paying attention.
Somewhere in Florida, in some nursing home, there is almost certainly a World War II veteran patiently waiting his turn, while Marco Rubio's pale upper arm is splashed all over social media. Somewhere in California, in some assisted-living facility, there is almost certainly a World War II nurse patiently waiting her turn, while Kevin McCarthy tweets out the happy news about his undeserved shot.
It is difficult to pinpoint the most galling aspect of this unfortunate development. These lawmakers have encouraged the very type of reckless behavior that has created such an extraordinary humanitarian crisis. More than 320,000 Americans are dead, and millions more have been sickened, because of Rubio, Ernst, McCarthy and their Republican Party colleagues.
Republicans have spent the last nine months calling the virus a hoax, politicizing masks, criticizing scientists, ignoring public-health guidance, attending super-spreader rallies and calling for the immediate and complete reopening of society, the consequences be damned. Joni Ernst went as far as suggesting that doctors were inflating the COVID-19 death count for financial gain. But, there she was Sunday, happily sharing a photograph of herself being vaccinated by one of these very same medical workers.
Frontline staff has dealt with the repercussions of Republicans’ disinformation campaign for the last nine months. Many have caught the virus themselves. Some have tragically died. The vast majority are heroically working grueling hours.
This is not acceptable either, but here’s the difference between Ocasio-Cortez and her Republican counterparts. Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t been encouraging Americans to behave irresponsibly. She shouldn’t be cutting the line, but at least she hasn’t been responsible for spreading the virus far and wide. Those who have, like Rubio, Ernst and McCarthy, should be vaccinated last.
When late Arizona Sen. John McCain was a prisoner in Vietnam, he had the opportunity to cut ahead of other POWs and go home early. But, as a man of honor, he refused to use his family connections or influence as an officer. He patiently waited his turn in the worst conditions imaginable for 5½ long and horrible years.
Marco Rubio, Joni Ernst and Kevin McCarthy, on the other hand, barely waited a week to take advantage of their government positions. If these people had been in McCain’s shoes, they would have hopped on the first flight out of Hanoi. These are the values of today's Republican Party in a nutshell.
People are upset that Nancy Pelosi, 80, Mitch McConnell, 78, and Lindsey Graham, 65, also received priority access. As unpopular as they are, at least a legitimate case can be made for them, since they are all senior citizens.
The same cannot be said for Rubio, Ernst and McCarthy, who are all young and seemingly have no comorbidities between them. Their early access to the vaccine is a slap in the face to every American who has sacrificed for months and diligently followed public-health protocols for the collective good. Once again, it shows how Republicans play by one set of rules, while the rest of us are expected to follow another.
It’s all par for the course.