The American Right’s Response to Biden’s Vaccine Mandate – The Threefold Advocate
When I entered my last year of high school, my parents saw fit to give me a Facebook account. Granted, they had told me to get started on social media long before 2019, but I didn’t see why that would matter to me. All of my friends were on Instagram, and I didn’t really care to check out my first cousins, twice distant. However, getting a Facebook account has been of tremendous benefit to me. If I ever feel down, I can always count on the vigor of my extremely Christian and conservative loved ones to cheer me up. And a few weeks ago, my eyes feasted on paragraph after paragraph of categorical messages regarding Biden’s federal vaccine mandate.
On September 9, 2021, the Biden administration released a six-part COVID-19 initiative plan regarding requirements for American workers. Typically, the approach included additional testing, economic recovery, safe schools opening, etc. However, the most alarming part for many conservatives was, like the White House announcement that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will develop a rule requiring all employers with 100 or more to requiring employees to be vaccinated or take negative COVID-19 tests weekly. Responses I saw on Facebook included outrage, concerns about Biden’s power, comments about the dangers of vaccines, and even some comparing the vaccine’s mandate to the Weimar Republic in Germany. My usual source of laughter had turned into a slight indignation.
As an expert in cross-cultural studies and psychology, I have little or no comment on the current policies of Biden and his lawmakers. However, my curiosity lies in the source of the outrage of the Right. Of course, there is the debate over the effectiveness of vaccines, but there almost seems to be something deeper. The comparison with the Weimar Republic seemed to indicate a concern greater than medical soundness. No, I would say that the fear of the vaccine mandate has a lot to do with Americans’ deep-seated fear of government control, stemming from the modern days of the Cold War.
The American right has a long history of anti-communism, stemming both from the Bolshevik revolution in Russia and from the aftermath of World War II. Rooted in American consciousness are ideas about democracy, freedom, and exceptionalism, as a result of a government formed by individuals standing up against a tyrannical monarchy. In addition, the American elite, those who control the means of production and therefore the conscience of the American media, have the power to exert whatever efforts they deem necessary to protect their gain. Thus, the concept of a government system seeking to distribute both rights and capital gains was frightening to both groups, encouraging public fear of the rise of communism in Russia and in the poorest regions of the world. .
This anti-Communist propaganda has manifested itself in several unnecessarily exaggerated forms. The most famous of these was McCarthyism, a Republican campaign against Communism led by Senator Joseph McCarthy from 1950 to 1954, in which many were accused of being spies on American soil. However, McCarthyism is also famous for its many victims of blackmail and dismissal, many of whom were innocent. This campaign tended to pursue activists rallying to social change and civil rights on the basis of “communism”, delaying civil progress in its wake. But who cared about the details, as long as our precious freedoms were protected?
The leaders of the current Republican Party came from this tradition of eccentric anti-communism, as their youth were characterized by the coal-fueled elites of the fiery politics of the Cold War. Regardless of its true nature, anything reminiscent of Communist politics, primarily regarding increased levels of government involvement, must certainly be anti-American and threatening to our precious freedom. So a mandate to vaccinate federal employees is surely a sign of communism, which we must rally against to protect America, even if it is in the interest of public health. At least so my great-aunt and my mother-in-law frequenting Facebook would attest to it.