Media specialists working in the administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis emailed me Friday afternoon, saying, "We were the first state to initiate large-scale canvassing campaigns in Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville. Our teams knocked on nearly 1.1 million doors over a span of just three months - March, April, and May."
The email continued, "Through this initiative, the State of Florida vaccine outreach teams helped answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, assist individuals to identify vaccination sites near them, and pre-register individuals for vaccine appointments through this strategy. The teams also distributed more than 516,000 informational material to Floridians across the state and canvassed in more than 2,100 neighborhoods."
Terrific, I say. The government ought to take affirmative action to help people live better lives. But the action the DeSantis administration took flies in the face of Republican and right-wing outrage over the Biden administration's plans to go door-knocking. The president's plan calls for outreach workers to go door to door now that about 100 million people remain unvaccinated. Health experts warn that the Delta variant is causing more illness and death, mostly among people who have declined to get vaccinated.
Try selling any of this information to a bevy of Republican politicians who apparently did not know what Governor DeSantis was doing in the Sunshine State in March, April, and May. Here is a greatest-hits sampling of right-wing outrage over the purported denial of freedom and liberty foisted on unsuspecting Americans by Biden the evil Democratic usurper.
While President Joe Biden's White House may be hitting back against critics of its door-to-door vaccination push, at least a few GOP governors have made moves to ban such efforts in their state - most notably South Carolina's Henry McMaster.
GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert on Thursday called medical professionals conducting door-to-door vaccination efforts "needle Nazis," marking the second time in one week that a Republican member of Congress has likened the Biden administration's COVID-19-mitigation strategy to Nazism, the ideology that led to the Holocaust.
EXCLUSIVE: The conservative House Freedom Caucus is pushing back on President Biden's latest door-to-door vaccine push decrying the home visits as a "deeply disturbing" violation of Americans' privacy.
Rep. Andy Biggs, the chairman of the House of Representatives' right-wing group with a history of ruffling feathers, is leading the effort to call on the White House to explain the "constitutional and statutory authority" for conducting the door-knocking coronavirus vaccination campaign and demanding answers on whether the federal government is tracking individuals' private health information.
"Door-to-door vaccine checks on Americans are a blatant abuse of government authority and a pure power play by the Biden administration," Biggs, R-Ariz., said in a statement to Fox News. "The federal government has no right to track the private health information of Americans or to intimidate people into getting the vaccine."
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene refers to Nazi-era 'brown shirts' in opposing vaccination push (yahoo.com): "Biden pushing a vaccine that is NOT FDA approved shows covid is a political tool used to control people," she tweeted. "People have a choice, they don't need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations. You can't force people to be part of the human experiment."
Rep. Jim Jordan implied that Biden's proposed community outreach was merely a precursor for more government oversight, tweeting, "The Biden Administration wants to knock on your door to see if you're vaccinated. What's next? Knocking on your door to see if you own a gun?"
Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina suggested on Friday, during an interview at the Conservative Political Action Conference's summer gathering in Texas, that Biden may use the strategy to later take away people's guns and Bibles.
(Article changed on Jul 17, 2021 at 6:23 AM EDT)
Steve Schneider lives in Florida. He writes articles for Humor Times, Democracy Chronicles, The Satirist and OpEd News.