There’s an episode of Seinfeld in which the titular character tries to return a jacket to a high-end boutique. When asked why, he answers “for spite” — he doesn’t much care for the salesman to sold it to him in the first place. That doesn’t go over well with the staff at the boutique and they refuse to take the jacket back.
At times it seems like right-wing politics today is about nothing but spite. Donald Trump spent his four years in the White House trying to undo virtually every one of Obama’s accomplishments; his followers try to “trigger the libs” by refusing to wear masks indoors in the middle of a devastating pandemic.
Now a right-wing activist has written a little spitist manifesto for a reactionary America First publication called American Greatness in which he admits straight up that “I Won’t Take the Vaccine Because It Makes Liberals Mad.”
Peter D’Abrosca begins with a cursory run-through of some of the legitimate and quasi-legitimate medical reasons some cite as the reason they’re not getting the vaccine.
I will never allow myself to be injected with Big Pharma’s mass-produced mystery juice, in part because it was rushed out of the lab and into the manufacturing line like a replacement for a Honda Civic’s recalled airbags.
Never mind that the various vaccines have been thoroughly tested and serious side effects have been vanishingly rare.
But possible side-effects aren’t what’s driving his decision.
“But in truth,” he writes,
I’m not really avoiding the vaccine due to potential medical complications, or because of the speed with which it was produced.
And he’s not doing it because he’s some sort of libertarian fanatic.
Personal liberty is not the reason I’m avoiding it, either. I’m not a member of the “don’t tread on me” club.
No, the real reason is, to put it plainly, spite.
My primary reason for refusing the vaccine is much simpler: I dislike the people who want me to take it, and it makes them mad when they hear about my refusal. That, in turn, makes me happy.
Maybe it’s petty, but the thought of the worst people on planet earth, those whom I like to call the Branch Covidians, literally shaking as I stroll into Target vaccine-free, makes me smile. …
So I have decided that because the vile political Left, which I despise in the abstract, wants me to take their coveted vaccine, I simply will not.
None of this would matter if it were only D’Abrosca who would be hurt by his decision. If he wants to gamble with his life — he describes himself as “a healthy 29-year-old” whose chances of dying from COVID are “practically nil” — that would be fine by me. I honestly don’t care if he gets COVID or a piano falls on his head.
But by not getting the vaccine he puts others at risk; everyone who doesn’t get the vaccine makes it harder for the population as a whole to reach the “herd immunity” that makes viruses stop spreading.
And as long as some unvaccinated people are passing the illlness on to other vaccine-refuseniks, newer and potentially more deadly strains of the virus are more likely to develop — and some of these strains might be different enough to render our current vaccines moot.
If you want to know what it might look like if significant numbers of Americans refuse to get vaccinated, take a look at India today, where a lack of vaccines is sending the country into crisis. The US now has more vaccine than it needs; we need to help India out both because it’s the right thing to do and because it will help us too. If we don’t, we’re really no better than D’Abrosca.
I can’t help but think of that HuffPost piece a couple of years ago “I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People.” Because I don’t know how to do that either, and if our country is going to be able to move on from the current pandemic (and survive all the other crises to come) we’re got to learn how to make people like D’Abrosca care, at least a little bit.
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