Tuesday, March 30, 2021


This is alarming, but we should have seen it coming a long time ago:

Since last spring, the right, under the influence of both conservative billionaires and populist demagogues, has demanded the end of lockdowns, railed against mask-wearing and mask requirements, and described public health as strictly a matter of individual choice. We know there's no level of bloodshed that will make right-wingers rethink the position that there should be few if any limits on firearms. It's clear that they're applying their gun logic to the pandemic. So we should have known they were coming for vaccine passports.

A local TV news outlet in Fort Myers insists that the governor is unlikely to prevent private businesses from using vaccine passports.
For privately owned businesses, legal experts say the executive order doesn’t apply to them.

“A private entity is entitled to do that and a private business can have restrictions,” said Pamella Seay, Florida Gulf Coast University Law Professor.
But the Orlando Sentinel disagrees.
Florida businesses soon won’t be able to screen customers based on whether they’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday, even as he signed a bill designed to shield companies from pandemic-related lawsuits.

DeSantis said an executive order was coming soon, possibly by Tuesday, against vaccination passports and called for the Legislature to pass a bill making a ban permanent. The Legislature is nearing the midway point of a 60-day session scheduled to end April 30.

DeSantis said allowing major corporations to have access to vaccination information was like having “the fox [guarding] the henhouse,” citing privacy concerns.
(Well, he has a point about Amazon, Google, and Facebook having this information. But we can create vaccine passports with strong privacy safeguards if we really want to.)

Here's what DeSantis said, as heard in the clip above:
We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida.... It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society. You want to go to a movie theater, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a game? No. You want to go to a theme park? No. So we're not supportive of that. I think it's something that people have certain freedoms and individual liberties to make decisions for themselves.
Will DeSantis really tell Disney it can't ask for evidence of vaccination? He's certainly talking as if he will.

And if he doesn't prevent private companies from asking for proof of vaccination, or isn't allowed to, he's still creating an atmosphere in which customer service people will be harassed and sometimes physically attacked for trying to enforce safety measures in their own establishments.

The thought leaders of the right are in agreement on this:
Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., strongly condemned the idea of vaccine passports.

"Proposals like these smack of 1940s Nazi Germany. We must make every effort to keep America from becoming a 'show your papers society,'” Cawthorn told Fox News. "The Constitution and our founding principles decry this type of totalitarianism.”

"America faces a dangerous future when its leader’s ideology shares more commonalities with Leninism than liberalism," the North Carolina Republican added.

Expect the governors of Texas, Arizona, South Dakota, and other GOP-run states to follow DeSantis's lead. Expect more congressional Republicans to talk this way. This will be the next front in the culture war, as we should have foreseen.

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