Are the vaccine passports going to be yellow, shaped like a star, and sewn on our clothes?
— Libertarian Party of Kentucky (@lpky) March 29, 2021
But they weren’t the only ones to compare COVID-19 vaccination cards (which are meant to allow for bigger crowds, explains Newsweek, as the state opens up, at events like weddings), to the Holocaust, which killed six million people, mostly Jews. North Carolina freshman representative Madison Cawthorne said to Fox News, “Proposals like these smack of 1940s Nazi Germany. We must make every effort to keep America from becoming a ‘show your papers society,’” according to The Times of Israel.
Richard Grenell, which The Times of Israel calls former president Donald Trump’s ambassador to Germany and a member of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, tweeted a meme showing a Gestapo officer from the movie “Inglorious Basterds” captioned, “You’re hiding unvaccinated people under your floorboards, aren’t you?”
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) March 29, 2021
We don’t need to discuss how odious this comparison is. To liken vaccination cards, which would allow people to enter venues, to Stars of David, which marked people as little more than animals and worthy of death camps, is absurd and deeply offensive. Stars of David were meant to mark people for death. These were emblems that told others people were worthy to die, that they were less than human.
Vaccine cards, on the other hand, are about marking people for life. They show that people have taken the step to keep others alive and done their civic responsibility. They’ve been vaccinated and helped not only themselves, but also others. “Showing your card” doesn’t mean showing that you’re less than human. It’s about showing that you’ve completed your civic responsibility. You’ve chosen to help keep others alive. You’re about helping others in society live, not marking other people in society for death.
This isn’t a “show your papers” society. This is “can you reframe from infecting people with a possibly deadly disease” society.
The first vaccination card, launched by New York state, will be called the “Excelsior Card” and can be downloaded to a cell phone as a QR code. Both Israel and Denmark plan to use a similar card, says Newsweek.
The governor of Florida, however, has issued an executive order against one.
This Is Nothing New
Look: vaccination cards or proof of health is nothing new. The United States itself currently requires cards like this for entry. Before entering the United States by air, according to the CDC, everyone, “including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.” This must be “in the form of a written documentation (paper or electronic) of a laboratory test result,” they say.
We’re currently requiring medical information from people in order to allow them to enter the United States. Cawthorne, we’re already asking U.S. citizens to “show their papers” to get back into the country.
This doesn’t count international travel. We’ve long dealt with countries who require proof of certain vaccinations for entry. Angola, for example, requires proof of yellow fever vaccination for all travelers. No one freaks out about it. Many countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination from countries that have regular transmission of yellow fever.
Asking for Vaccination Cards Isn’t Tyranny
Asking people to show proof of their vaccination status isn’t tyranny. It’s simply common sense. We need to stop the pandemic, and a major way to stop it is to incentivize vaccination. If people can get into gyms, restaurants, large concert venues, etc. with proof of vaccination, they’ll get vaccinated. It’s not tyranny. It’s common sense.
I’m currently avoiding most gatherings. If people had to show proof of vaccination to attend them, I wouldn’t. Life would quickly return to normal. And people who previously didn’t want vaccinated would swiftly find reasons to overlook their supposed rock-solid principles.
We wouldn’t turn into a nation of have and have-nots, as some fear. We’d turn into a nation of the healthy and the unhealthy, the inoculated and the uninoculated, the well and the potentially unwell. Those who did their civic duty would be rewarded. Those who refused to would not enjoy the same privileges.
And privileges they would be. No one would lock people out of school without a vaccine card. People wouldn’t be barred from fundamental rights such as voting, riding public transportation, accessing social security checks, or obtaining jobs, other than those in the health care industry. They wouldn’t be forced to live separately. No one would spit on them, and they wouldn’t be readily identifiable.
They simply wouldn’t enjoy privileges. They would not be deprived of fundamental rights.
They would not be marched off to death camps.
To compare vaccination cards to the Holocaust is offensive and absurd. Politicians and right-wingers who do so should be shunned and shouted down. “Never again” doesn’t apply to vaccination cards. It applies to genocide. And to toss such a comparison around lightly denigrates the memory of six million people who died at the hands of a totalitarian regime.