Veteran NC political observer Tom Campbell calls out the John Locke Foundation

Middle-of-the-road columnist and talk show host decries conservative group’s anti-vaccination stance 

[Cross-posted from NC]

For years I have read pieces and had dialogue with many people from the John Locke Foundation. I haven’t always agreed with their positions, but I always found them to be open to dialogue, thought-provoking, rational and measured in their responses. That changed at 3:00 p.m. last Friday.

Here’s what arrived in my email inbox:
“No. We won’t comply with Biden’s vaccine mandate, and no one else should either.”

Amy Cooke, the CEO of the John Locke Foundation continued, “That one man – Joe Biden – wants to force free Americans to inject something into their bodies should be abhorrent to everyone. That some think it’s acceptable shows how much our foundational freedoms have eroded. To my profound disappointment, authoritarianism has become mainstream.

“Medical decisions are personal and private. Period. President Biden’s political party often cites Roe v. Wade as their own rationale for such medical freedom, yet in an alarming turn of events, he has turned full-throated authoritarian, announcing he will wield the power of federal labor officials to force private businesses to function as medical doctors for every employee. In short, Joe Biden believes he – not individuals in consultation with a doctor – knows what’s best for every one of us.”

This statement was both shocking and very disappointing on many fronts. Joe Biden is the President, although many on the right (perhaps many in the Locke fold) don’t want to acknowledge it. His duty is to protect and serve ALL people in the country.

Consider the facts:

  • 136,000 people are diagnosed with COVID each week in the US.
  • Vaccines and the wearing of masks are the most effective ESTABLISHED means of combating this virus. Not horse de-wormers or fake tonics.
  • Only 54 percent of our populous is fully vaccinated. 80 million, approximately 25 percent have refused to get a single shot.
  • 1,500 Americans are dying every day from COVID. That number could be dramatically reduced.
  • The unvaccinated are 11 times more likely to die from COVID than those vaccinated.
  • Our hospital emergency rooms are running out of space because of COVID patients. Other people needing medical care are not getting it because of shortages of beds and personnel.
  • 92 percent of those in hospitals for COVID are unvaccinated.
  • Doctors and nurses are worn out from treating COVID patients.

Locke’s response to the President’s plan is that a minority (25 percent) of people can dictate how free the rest of us can live, work and play. They seem to believe 80 million unvaccinated people can essentially overrule the 200 million who have done their duty, gotten their shots and wear masks. It runs against our long-held belief of majority rule.

There are those who want to use bullhorns to shout about their freedoms and personal choices. They ignore the fact that there are approximately 9 shots you must take to enter public school, go to college, join the service and even gain employment at many places in this land. We have agreed to take those shots to protect ourselves and those around us.

We have allowed the government to dictate the wearing of seat belts to save lives. We accept government’s role in establishing speed limits, traffic signals, meat inspections and a myriad of other regulations. Those who work have to abide by safety and health rules established by OSHA, which incidentally was proudly signed into law by Republican Richard Nixon. And some of us can remember, in 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson told hospitals in this country, they couldn’t receive Medicare payments unless they complied with the Civil Rights Act and integrated previously all-white hospitals. They complied. People may not like these government dictates but they accept and abide by them because most are established for the common good and safety.

Funny that many of the current radical and threatening statements today, declaring that Biden is an authoritarian, come from a crowd that essentially sat on their respective thumbs and were silent when Donald Trump spent almost four years being an authoritarian.

The president is correct in saying that we (the majority) have been patient and hoped people would see the logic and comply with shots and masks. This isn’t about freedom and personal choices. It is pure and simple politics…that’s the dangerous game in which we are the pawns.

It is perfectly acceptable that people can disagree with President Biden’s mandates. They have every right to express disagreement, but I expected better from an organization I have respected for many years. I hope that calmer voices prevail and this organization will back away from such heated and inflammatory rhetoric.

Tom Campbell has observed and commented on North Carolina politics and public policy for more than 50 years. He has owned and operated radio and television stations, performing every function from being a disc jockey to writing and delivering daily editorials. Click here to learn more.

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