Activism of The Selfish: A Commentary on The Anti-Vaccine Protests

By Marc W. Polite

Let us get right to the point. In observing the ongoing pushback against the unpopular, but necessary vaccine mandates, a vocal minority of hard-core anti-vaxxers have emerged at the forefront. Going a step beyond “vaccine hesitancy”, these protesters have torn down Covid-19 testing sites, and attempted to breach the Barclay Center in support of Kyrie Irving, who has become “the voice” of people who are against the covid-19 vaccine mandates. One has to wonder if these same people would be “supporting” him if he was standing up against the matter of police brutality.

Yesterday, there was a march across the Brooklyn Bridge against the vaccine mandates soon to be enforced upon city workers. Some have called these outbursts a “movement”, equating it to movements to fight against social injustice. But this is really just an expression of people who momentarily are banding together because they don’t want to take the shot- for whatever their stated reasons are. Many of these people cannot be reasoned with. They espouse conspiracy theories, recirculate talking points that have been debunked numerous times, and have no sympathy or compassion for those who at this moment are still vulnerable to this ongoing pandemic.

This also raises yet another uncomfortable question: Why are there so many so-called “leftists” who are co-protesting with Trumpists over this issue? It is well established that there is a connection between the fascist far-right and anti-vaxxer/anti-masker sentiment, but there is also a noticeable uptick in ostensibly “progressive” forces finding a point of unity with the right over the issue of vaccines. Black Lives Matter organizers have found themselves making common cause over the concern. Given the disparities in how covid-19 has affected Black Americans, it can be argued that BLM is doing the Black community a disservice by amplifying these anti-vaxxer sentiments. Especially considering when they could be marching side by side with groups of people who saw no issue with the storming of the Capitol on January 6th. This is a minor expression of the much-feared “red-brown” alliance in action. Nominal progressives should be careful who they align themselves with. Who you are momentarily “united” with today, could be turning right around and attacking you tomorrow.

This loud and wrong contingent is not just potentially dangerous, but also an expression of the selfishness cultivated by American individualism. These people have no alternative to what is being proposed and want to endanger the rest of us with their behavior. They are not fighting to improve society, they are only thinking of themselves.

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