When announcing his nationwide vaccine mandate, President Joe Biden declared, “This is not about freedom.” But for Americans who live outside the Beltway, it is absolutely about freedom, because America is about freedom.
Yes, the coronavirus is still with us. Yes, it is still potentially dangerous, particularly to vulnerable Americans. But the need long since has passed for extraordinary measures such as lockdowns, mask mandates, and other restrictions on American liberty.
In a country with competent leaders, all such measures—most especially the forced vaccinations for COVID-19 recently ordered by Biden—would be repealed, and Americans would be allowed to return to their normal lives.
Aggressive measures made sense in early 2020, when I served as chairman of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. Back then, scientists understood precious little about the virus and hospitals were rightly concerned about the possibility of running out of bed space for COVID-19 patients.
But 18 months later, we have three safe and effective vaccines thanks to the Trump-Pence administration’s Operation Warp Speed, and over 77% of American adults are at least partially vaccinated. I chose to get vaccinated, and so did my family. But that’s a choice that every American should be free to make for themselves.
The good news is, today we know a great deal about the coronavirus and the threat—or lack thereof—that it poses to American citizens.
Most importantly, we know that the virus does not affect populations equally, which is why one-size-fits-all mandates make absolutely no sense. For example, young, healthy people with no preexisting conditions typically experience only mild symptoms from the virus. In fact, nearly 98% of all COVID-19 deaths in the United States have occurred in those over 40.
Meanwhile, people who are obese or overweight face a much higher risk of severe symptoms and hospitalization. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 80% of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 were overweight or obese.
Yet, in his sweeping vaccine mandate on 80 million Americans, Biden and his public health bureaucrats make no distinction between groups based on age, overall health, or any other known risk factors.
Nor do they consider the 1 in 3 Americans who already have contracted and recovered from the virus, and thus have developed natural immunity — which multiple studies have shown is far more effective and longer-lasting than the immunity achieved by vaccination.
Why should those who are naturally immune be penalized for refusing a vaccine that, for them, is probably medically unnecessary?
Likewise, thousands of American military personnel face a less-than-honorable discharge if they choose not to get vaccinated under Biden’s order. Our troops mostly are young and in excellent physical condition, and thus have weathered the pandemic better than almost any other group of human beings on the planet.
We have experienced just 26 known deaths out of more than 200,000 coronavirus cases in the U.S. armed forces. Why exactly does Biden want to fire thousands of our nation’s finest patriots simply for refusing a shot that all evidence suggests most of them do not need?
The president’s absurd, unscientific, unnecessary, and unlawful vaccine mandate is now being echoed by left-wing politicians across the nation.
In New York, after announcing that “God wants” people to get vaccinated, the new Democrat governor began firing nurses and health care workers who declined the vaccine. In what world does it make sense to fire nurses in the name of public health?
Likewise, the Biden administration is threatening to fire thousands of unvaccinated Border Patrol agents. On the other hand, the record number of illegal aliens streaming across the border are exempt from the tyrannical rules American citizens are forced to live under. In fact, the Biden administration knowingly has released thousands of COVID-19-positive illegal immigrants into American communities.
The president and other liberal politicians continue to move the goalposts every time someone has the audacity to ask when we can have our liberty back.
If Americans distrust the administration, it’s because of statements such as this by Dr. Anthony Fauci: “When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75%,” he said. “Then, when newer surveys said 60% or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80, 85.”
If Biden and Democrats have their way, the pandemic-induced panic will never end. The coronavirus has given the radical left the perfect opportunity to create the utopia they have dreamed about for ages: a world of absolute conformity, where all dissenting opinions — and the people who hold them — are ostracized from polite society.
For the radical left, this is not even about the virus, or about public health. It’s about power, control, and forcing the American people to submit.
But the American people never have submitted to tyranny, and never will. Vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans, Republicans, and Democrats, young and old, should stand together against Biden’s unlawful mandate and state-sponsored discrimination against those who choose to make their own health care decisions.
When Americans speak with one voice and demand the restoration of liberty, then and only then will the pandemic panic truly be over.
Originally published at The Daily Signal.
Mike Pence a distinguished visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation and founder of Advancing American Freedom. He previously served as vice president of the United States, governor of Indiana, and member of the U.S. House of Representatives.