An alarming amount of Democrats, as Scott highlighted, support strict government action against the unvaccinated, according to a recent poll from the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports. That desire for such force against unvaccinated citizens has been extended to the mainstream media with a January 15 editorial from The Salt Lake Tribune calling on Gov. Spencer Cox (R) to activate the National Guard to prevent unvaccinated Utahans from participating in society.
That's actually what it says:
Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.
The paragraph in question is third to last in an editorial that is whiny and unbearable even before then. "Utah leaders have surrendered to COVID pandemic, the Editorial Board writes," is the headline they went with.
Such a dangerously absurd call was quickly exposed and called out over Twitter.
The Salt Lake City newspaper wants the Utah national guard to not allow unvaccinated people to leave their homes. This is mindless, anti-science insanity — omicron is infecting everyone — but these “journalists” are demanding totalitarianism. And they think they’re the good guys. pic.twitter.com/BYoskGNQ5R— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 16, 2022
The @sltrib editorial board demands Utah governor use the National Guard to prevent unvaxxed from going outside.— Real Developments (@pdubdev) January 16, 2022
A national newspaper is openly calling for the military to be used against Americans.
This utterly insane and very dangerous. pic.twitter.com/ZslYGifmRy
I think we should deploy the National Guard to shut down corporate media outlets that spread terror and misinformation. We can start with you guys.— Christina Pushaw ?? (@ChristinaPushaw) January 16, 2022
Just kidding, this is America -- we should not use the military to shut down disagreement from our fellow citizens. Are you insane?
Did anyone have “Tribune advocates for fascism” on their 2022 Bingo card?— Dr Sebastian (@EcoloPsych) January 16, 2022
It's also worth highlighting that the excerpt The Salt Lake Tribune's tweet went with, included below, is misleading:
Government officials, mostly but not exclusively Republicans, were apparently determined not to be caught governing in the face of this challenge. Any move or recommendation to mask up or, when safe and effective vaccines became available, to make vaccination a requirement of admission to public places and society in general was shouted down as an unwarranted imposition on individual freedoms.
The editorial garnered the attention of Deidre Henderson, Utah's Republican lieutenant governor.
To be clear: Gov. Cox and I have always pushed for ppl to get vaccinated as the best way to keep from getting sick, stay out of the hospital, and not die from COVID. If you’re not, please get vaccinated. Omicron is infecting vaccinated ppl but vaccines are still the best defense.— Deidre Henderson (@DeidreHenderson) January 15, 2022
It has consistently been the position of Republican officials to yes, speak about "individual freedoms" as a reason to come out against vaccine mandates, but also to encourage people get vaccinated as the best defense against the Wuhan coronavirus. One can see that very form of encouragement above in Lt. Gov. Henderson's tweets.
The editorial even goes on to acknowledge that, but then utterly dismisses the idea of encouraging something because it doesn't force someone to do something:
Cox and others have correctly said that the best tool for fighting the spread of the virus, individually and collectively, was to get two — then three — doses of the vaccine. That is absolutely the correct advice.
But Cox and so many others have not carried the courage of their convictions. Cox, state legislative leaders, our congressional delegation and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes have so proudly stood against the kind of vaccine mandates that civilized society has used for generations to effectively wipe out everything from polio to diphtheria to the measles.
Gov. Cox on January 6 posted a video message to his website, "GOV. COX PLEADS WITH UTAHNS TO GET VACCINATED, BOOSTED."
The Salt Lake County Republican Party issued a statement on the editorial from Chair Chris Null which supported the governor's approach and also demanded an apology from the news outlet, emphasizing that "Utah deserves an apology from the Salt Lake Tribune."
The statement goes on to read in part that "The Editorial Board pretends to have all the answers, disparaging a proven safe and highly effective Nobel Prize-winning drug by calling it a “horse de-wormer”, in effect giving (bad) medical advice. They manage to echo the level of hate and bigotry that sounds more like 1933 Nazi Germany, as Hitler took over, than present-day Utah – the state that “keeps the American dream alive.” We cannot allow this thinking to enter our society. The Salt Lake Tribune must apologize to the people of Utah and reign in these board members before their infection spreads worse than the pandemic we are already fighting."
Utah was involved in a lawsuit against the Biden administration's vaccine mandate that would have used Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to force private employers with 100 or more employees to have vaccine or regular testing mandates.
Last Thursday the U.S. Supreme Court blocked such a mandate in a 6-3 ruling.