On Thursday, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) — who has often proven himself to be one of the few elected Republicans willing to go against the party line on major issues — publicly went after anti-vaccine sentiment among members of the military. Kinzinger, who addressed the matter on Twitter, was speaking in response to a story about an officer in the Army who was refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. As Kinzinger observed, opposition to getting the COVID-19 vaccine among members of the military constitutes “disobeying direct orders.” (It’s required for service members.) Broadly, singling out the COVID-19 vaccine among United States military members doesn’t even reflect the facts, as Kinzinger also posited.
Kinzinger himself has an ongoing military career — he’s an Air Force lieutenant colonel and is currently serving in the Air National Guard, even while in office. On Twitter, Kinzinger wrote as follows, mocking the anti-vaxxers’ victim complex:
‘Military resistance to Covid vaccine is not heroism. It’s disobeying direct orders. Military gets vaccinated against many diseases… you know this when you sign up… You also have to wear a uniform in the military. #oppressed’
You also have to wear a uniform in the military. #oppressed
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) September 23, 2021
Republican leaders from those in elected positions to prominent media roles have fostered a dangerous atmosphere of opposition to vaccinations against COVID-19. At one point, Fox host Tucker Carlson outright suggested on an episode of his show that vaccines against COVID-19 don’t actually work, adding the suggestion that — for some reason — such a lack of effectiveness was being concealed from the American people. There is no credible basis for Carlson’s insinuation, but it fits right in with the kind of vitriol that has been spread on Fox News for months on end — and this animosity towards basic science can lead to deaths, should someone contract COVID-19 and then die who could have been saved with the vaccine. Is responsibility for such an occurrence something that the craven, self-serving attention hogs at Fox News are willing to accept? Where is the rhetorical bottom?