A newspaper crosses an uncrossable line to ‘punish’ a class of Americans

A chilling edict was put out by a newspaper’s editorial board last week and most of the mainstream media, as well as the political class, seem to be working overtime to ignore it. They should not.     

The editorial encouraged a draconian punishment that the United States must never allow. The liberal Salt Lake Tribune called for the National Guard to be used to lock down unvaccinated citizens of Utah, so that they cannot go “anywhere.”     

Said the editorial, in part: “Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.”

What might be the next step for the Tribune’s editorial board? For the Guard to emulate the military from the People’s Republic of China and lock Utah’s unvaccinated residents in their homes?

The editors of the newspaper apparently want to prevent some of their fellow citizens from participating in society or life in general. Why? Because they legally chose not to get vaccinated.

Do the millions of other Americans who choose not to get the vaccines or booster shots, for whatever reason, have the right as Americans to make that choice? Surveys show some are waiting to ascertain the potential long-term risk of side effects; some have religious objections or, perhaps, allergies. And some simply want to exercise personal choice.

They most certainly have the right to do so, just as the hundreds of  millions of people in the U.S. and around the world have the right to get the vaccines that they believe will mitigate severe effects of the virus.

Some experts, such as White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, have said that omicron, the latest COVID variant, will end up infecting “just about everybody” sooner or later, including — as we are witnessing — some of those who are vaccinated. These experts surmise that the virus eventually will morph into something akin to a “bad cold” or “the average flu.”

Should that happen, would the Salt Lake Tribune next call for those who aren’t vaccinated against the seasonal flu each year to be prevented by the National Guard from participating in life? Where would the newspaper’s editorial board draw the line in using the U.S. military as an enforcement tool against law-abiding citizens?

In a sarcastic response to the paper’s tyrannical wish, Christina Pushaw, press secretary to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, tweeted: “I think we should deploy the National Guard to shut down corporate media outlets that spread terror and misinformation. We can start with you guys.

Just kidding, this is America — we should not use the military to shut down disagreement from our fellow citizens. Are you insane?”

Much of the debate that has swirled around the tragedy of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the lockdowns put in place early on, has been more political than “insane.” Hyper-partisanship — which infects some on both sides of this debate — is a toxic poison preventing us from combining the talents of our scientists and doctors to defeat an enemy capable of targeting any of us, regardless of ideology or station in life.  

I cannot stress enough how disturbing I find the Salt Lake Tribune editorial to be. It’s a vivid example of an un-American dictate.     

As I write this, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that the United Kingdom will lift its work-from-home order and, as of Jan. 27, the country’s vaccine passports will be a thing of the past, as will a requirement to wear face masks indoors.     

So, will the Salt Lake Tribune next lash out against our ally across the Atlantic, suggesting that Scotland Yard and MI5 round up all citizens there who dare not to follow their dictates? Might they call for Johnson’s resignation?    

What would they say if other European nations decide to adopt the same strategy, or — perish the thought — if some of the “blue” states and cities here in the U.S. suddenly do the same?

Surely there is at least one person at the Salt Lake Tribune who understands that overheated ideological rhetoric inflames an already dire situation and can incite some with twisted, hate-filled minds to act out.     

The virus is our common enemy, not those who hold different views than our own. We all need to be working as one to try to overcome it. We should not be singling out fellow Americans to persecute.

Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.

Tags #coronavirus COVID-19 Anthony Fauci Anti-vaxxers Boris Johnson Dr. Anthony Fauci National Guard Ron DeSantis Salt Lake Tribune Vaccine

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