This past week, President Joe Biden published a series of tweets about the Covid-19 vaccine that are despicable and reprehensible for a variety of reasons:
First of all, as anyone who believes in the non-aggression principle knows, people have a fundamental right to make their own decisions about their own bodies. Each person has the right to either get the vaccine or not, and each person has the right to either wear a mask or not, regardless of vaccination status. Biden therefore has absolutely no right to tell people to do what he is telling people to do in these tweets. To provide advice or recommendations is fine. To provide information about the relative safety of various activities is fine. And indeed this is what the CDC did when it issued its recent guidance stating that vaccinated people can safely go mask-less indoors and outdoors, which prompted Biden’s tweets. But Biden is phrasing this guidance as a rule, which is fascist and violates everyone’s rights.
It’s also noteworthy that Biden does not even acknowledge the possibility that a person might choose not to get the vaccine. He uses the word “yet” and uses the word “until” as opposed to “unless,” which presumes that every person will eventually get the vaccine. This demonstrates a complete disregard for people’s right to make their own medical decisions. People have every right to opt not to get the vaccine, and Biden needs to use language that acknowledges this.
Another disturbing thing about these tweets is that Biden is not characterizing masks as a tool that people can use to protect themselves, but instead as a punishment for people who do not get the vaccine. It would be one thing to say something to the effect of, “If you choose not to get the vaccine, we recommend wearing a mask to protect yourself.” But Biden is essentially saying, “If you don’t get the vaccine, you have to wear a mask everywhere you go for the rest of you life as a punishment.” Using a respectful tone would have made a world of difference, but instead of being respectful, Biden chose to be mean-spirited and punitive towards people who are doing absolutely nothing wrong.
Additionally, Biden’s unilaterally announced “rule” not only makes requirements less strict for people who’ve gotten the vaccine but simultaneously makes requirements more strict than they previously were for people who haven’t gotten the vaccine. Before this week’s guidance, the CDC had issued guidance a few weeks earlier stating that people can safely go mask-less while outside by themselves regardless of vaccination status. The CDC also said that a person who hasn’t gotten the vaccine can safely get together mask-less in a small group with people who have. But now Biden is telling vaccine-less people that they are not allowed to do either of these things. He is telling them that they need to wear a mask at all times, which is stricter than the CDC’s recommendations. Again, he is being punitive towards people who have done nothing to deserve punishment.
And not only is Biden punishing people for opting not to get a medical procedure, he is imposing a punishment that is publicly visible and therefore stigmatizing. He is imposing a punishment that visually differentiates those who have gotten the vaccine from those who haven’t. This reminds me of the red “A” that Hester Prynne had to wear on her dress in “The Scarlet Letter” or the yellow stars that Jews were required to wear in Nazi Germany.
In conclusion, throughout his campaign and in his inaugural address, Joe Biden has repeatedly characterized himself as embodying decency, civility, and unity. He promised to listen to the voices of those who disagree with him and to be a president for all Americans. Yet he is now using Twitter to bully, coerce, and browbeat people into undergoing a medical procedure and insulting them if they do not. I fully expected Biden to be a terrible president, but these tweets are disappointing. This unprofessional and un-presidential behavior falls short of even my very low expectations. Biden has demonstrated that he is a bully with no decency, no civility, no respect for people who are different from him, and no regard for individual rights, freedom, liberty, or bodily autonomy. I am ashamed to be American and embarrassed to have Biden as my president.