‘It’s time to make life a living hell for anti-vaxxers,’ Washington Post columnist writes

News & Politics

A Washington Post columnist lambasted the vaccine-hesitant and praised French President Emmanuel Macron in a Tuesday piece titled, “Macron is right: It’s time to make life a living hell for anti-vaxxers.”

What are the details?

James McAuley, global opinions contributing columnist for the Post, recounted Macron’s headline-grabbing statements from last week in which he said he intended to push the unvaccinated out of public life in France until they get the jabs.

“The unvaccinated, I really want to piss them off. And so, we’re going to continue doing so, until the end. That’s the strategy,” Macron told newspaper Le Parisien in an interview, Reuters reported.

McAuley seemed to enjoy Macron’s actual word choice, noting that “the English translation hardly does the comment justice. In French, the verb he used is ’emmerder,’ which means, quite literally, to cover in excrement.”

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He soon added that Macron “happens to be totally right. There is no justifiable excuse for refusing vaccination, which is the only way the pandemic will ever come close to ending. Macron has set a fine example for other world leaders to follow in refusing to kowtow before ignorance or honor selfishness.”

McAuley added that Macron’s vulgar commentary, which a number of his opponents denounced, “already seems to have worked. By last Thursday, the first full day after Macron’s comment was made, France’s Health Ministry announced that the number of first vaccinations against the coronavirus had tripled to 66,000 — the country’s highest figure since Oct. 1.”

But despite the glut of newly jabbed French citizens, McAuley still tore into them, saying it’s “sad … that the only way to compel citizens to act for the greater good is not to appeal to some higher sense of civic duty but to tell them there will be no restaurant meals if they don’t get their shots.”

“Funny how even the loudest vaccine skeptics start to reconsider their convictions when they realize there won’t be able to drink wine on cafe terraces,” he concluded. “It’s almost as though their convictions are not so much convictions and actually just, well, what Macron said.”

How did folks react to McAuley’s column?

A number of Twitter users took umbrage with McAuley’s premise and a number of points he made:

  • “The CDC director said ‘vaccine doesn’t prevent transmission.’ Stop spreading false information. Getting the vaccine will not end the pandemic,” one commenter said.
  • “What a dumbass you are,” another user wrote. “The unvaccinated are not the problem when the vaccine doesn’t actually stop transmission.”
  • “I’m vaxxed but this story is desperate,” another user said, after which another commenter added, “Desperate? It’s downright insane.”
  • “You know, for someone who’s info is publicly available and is physically incapable of defending themselves, you might want to think twice about advocating the abuse of others to the point of them having nothing to lose,” another commenter responded. “Just a thought.”

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