In his recent 60 Minutes interview, President Biden announced that the COVID-19 pandemic is finally over. While he’d like to tout this as an accomplishment by his administration, there’s something Biden still has to do: advocate for all Americans who have lost employment over their vaccination status to get their jobs back.Like many Americans, I’ve believed since the start of the pandemic that the side effects of the treatment for the virus should not be worse than the virus itself. Too many people of good will, however, were attacked far more by their peers than COVID-19, simply for choosing not to vaccinate.
The last I checked, this is a free country. If the Democrats really believed in their slogan “my body, my choice,” then this should never have become an issue. Instead, men and women in every sector of the workforce faced censure and public shaming for doing what they felt was best for themselves and their families.
In our nation, over 60,000 army guards and reserves were removed from their duties after declining the vaccine, with many of them losing their military benefits as well. A Housten hospital suspended 153 unvaccinated staff members before eventually firing or requiring resignations. Students, like Union College student Diamond “Ellie” Puentes, were barred from returning to school even if their decision not to vaccinate was for medical concerns. This is no way to thank the men and women who tirelessly serve our country every day, nor to encourage the next generation.
What persecutors would say is that they did what they did because it was in the best interests of the most people. That kind of utilitarianism denies the dignity of the human person, arguing that what may be in the best interest of an individual should be disregarded if it helps more people than it hurts. This mob mentality ignores everyone from pregnant women to the elderly, and virtually anyone who may have reasonably felt unsure about injecting a totally new technology for a strange virus into their bodies.
For the right to live according to our values, we faced fear and intimidation from coworkers, friends, and family. We were left behind by the media, which instead of exposing the truth in the darkness, took cues from Democrat lawmakers and Anthony Fauci to feed into the hysteria. Meanwhile, those same lawmakers constantly broke their own rules throughout the pandemic.
Even now, the timing of this announcement right before midterm elections is far too convenient. Let’s also not forget that the Biden administration argued to extend the student loan payment pause to January 2023 on the basis of the ongoing pandemic. We should expect Biden, who's so worried about inflation, to resume loan payments then, right? Don’t hold your breath. The administration is already backpedaling from the President’s interview comment and said they won’t change their policy plans.
The fact is that Democrats took every chance they got to use the pandemic for their own political advantage. For their adherents in schools, the workplace, and the military, it became the de facto litmus test for whether Americans can still be part of civil society without sacrificing their lives on the altar of collectivism. As for the onlookers and the bystanders who didn’t do anything, they continue to be instructed to do and say whatever the “woke mob” does or face cancellation.
This mentality of blind adherence to “the experts” or else is not the American way, and it certainly is not in the interest of our country’s heritage of liberty and opportunity when individuals can lose everything for exercising their right to choose what medical decisions are best for them. Americans need a president who will rally behind them and staunchly defend their rights.
A true leader would stand up for his people and set the right example for how we should treat one another. We don’t need the public relations stunts and presidential puppetry—we need the head of state to call off the attack and to start healing the divide, starting with restoring all those who lost their jobs back to their positions. America has always been the land where the exercise of our rights and freedoms is celebrated, not punished. The Biden administration needs to get on board.
Leland M. Stenehjem, Jr., is the former President of the Independent Community Bankers of America, the former Commissioner of Banking for North Dakota, and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He lives in Phoenix with his wife Sue. He is the author of The Great, The Late [Almost] United States of America!