This commentary is by Tom Evslin of Stowe, an entrepreneur, author and former Douglas administration official. It is republished from the Fractals of Change blog.
At a meeting Monday Senator Sanders said he had a message for men: “I want you all to be thinking about how you would feel if the government, state government, federal government, told you what you have to do with your own body. You would say this is outrageous, this is unacceptable, this is a denial of my basic rights and it is.”
This is exactly the language opponents of mandatory vaccination use to justify their resistance to mandates: you’re trying to tell me what to do with my body.
Now, of course, I’m quoting Sanders out of context. He was at a roundtable with abortion rights advocates and was trying to make the point that abortion is not just a women’s issue but actually a human rights issue. (You can read the full context in VTDigger here or watch Sanders remarks on WCAX). I haven’t heard his position on vaccine mandates
It is possible both to be for legal access to abortion (in most cases) and to support vaccine mandates (in most cases); I am. However, if government can’t tell people what to do with their bodies, it can’t tell them they have to be vaccinated. Not even a U.S. senator gets to have it both ways.
I asked friends in the Vermont press why no reporter seems to have asked Sanders whether he supports vaccine mandates given his “hand off my body” position. “Sanders hasn’t answered question from the Vermont Press for years,” they told me. So I asked him using the correspondence form on his website; I’ll let you know if I hear back and what I hear back. If you’re curious, you may want to ask as well.
Tucker Carlson also appeals to men in his anti-mandatory-vaccine screed. He says that requiring the military to be vaccinated is a ploy to “identify the sincere Christians in the ranks, the free thinkers, the men with high testosterone levels, and anybody else who doesn’t love Joe Biden and make them leave immediately.” I don’t think Bernie would agree that Biden’s vaccine mandate is a plot to take over the military. But Bernie does seem to agree that the government has no right to tell people what to with their bodies; that is what he said.
The extreme political left and right may actually be closer to each other than they are to us reasonable people in the middle.