The coronavirus pandemic and the hard 2020 primary defeat of anti-vaccine House Majority Leader Lee Qualm haven’t taught the anti-vaxxers in the Legislature anything.
Even as the human and economic health of the United States and the globe depend on the speedy and universal distribution of new vaccines to combat covid-19, Republican Representatives Tom Pischke and Phil Jensen propose House Bill 1097, which would expand eligibility for exemptions from school immunization requirements. Right now, postesecondary students and parents of preschool and K-12 children must profess their adherence to a religious doctrine whose teachings are opposed to immunizations. That religious exemption already straddles the line between First Amendment freedom and every resident’s obligation to support the health of the community, an obligation that derives at least as much from most religious doctrines as from our secular social contract. House Bill 1097 would expand the exemption to allow anti-vaxxers to claim “a sincerely held religious or philosophical belief.”
So knuckleheads who think QAnon is real could say they really think coronavirus shots are part of the plot they fantasize is being hatched by devil-worshipping pedophiles, and there goes our herd immunity against coronavirus and our chance of getting the schools and hospitals and nursing homes and the whole economy back to somewhat normal activity. Thanks, Tom and Phil, for your helpful suggestion.
Some people never learn… and that is the fundamental failing of the South Dakota Republican Party: a rejection of learning and truth in favor of nutty conspiracy theories and selfishness. I hope Senator Lee Schoenbeck will repeat his 2020 party-cleanup effort, rally some candidates and cash to teach Pischke and Jensen a lesson, and oust these anti-vaxxers from the House in the 2022 primary.