‘Vaccine passport’ perils and other commentary



Reality check: ‘Vaccine Passport’ Perils

At Spectator USA, Dominic Green takes aim at the drive to establish “vaccine passports” to, for example, “exclude the unvaccinated from attending sporting events.” Crucially, “the unvaccinated are disproportionately poor and non-white. So they would suffer most from vaccine-based exclusions. In functional terms, mandatory vaccination passports would be the Jim Eagle of class and race discrimination.” An administration obsessed with things like minority voting rights “is floating a proposal to bureaucratically disenfranchise black people. This is incoherent, knee-jerk control-freakery.” It leaves you “feeling that we’re governed by fools.”

Conservative: The Pretense of the Powerful

“Why do members of the political elite insist that they’re not?” asks Samuel Goldman at The New York Times. “Take Andrew Cuomo,” who protests he’s “not part of the political club” despite his stints as state attorney general and Clinton Cabinet member. Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, has had a “meteoric career” but claims, “I have never shied away from speaking truth to power.” This “false advertising” of “insiders pretending to be outsiders cuts across party, gender and field” and “allows powerful people” to “blame an incompetent, hostile establishment for thwarting their good intentions or visionary plans.” Yet the “defining task of politics isn’t to speak truth to power” but “to use power to achieve shared goals.” The “cult of the outsider” and its “performance of disruption” make it impossible “to deliver results through negotiation, compromise, institutional know-how.”

From the right: Trump Critics Can’t Let Go

In February, President Biden claimed he was tired of talking about former President Donald Trump, recalls The Wall Street Journal’s Bill McGurn — yet he keeps doing it. Biden’s presser last Thursday “was chockablock with references” to Trump, “including the accusation that he’d let unaccompanied minors ‘starve to death.’ ” Biden press secretary Jen Psaki and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also blame Trump for “whatever blows up” in their side’s faces. Meanwhile, without Trump as his foil, Gov. Cuomo has become “just a governor” caught up in scandal. And anti-Trump news sites have seen large dips in traffic. “The received wisdom was that Mr. Trump’s voters would be absolutely lost without him. Who would have thought that would be even truer of his critics?”

Culture critic: Finding Pleasure in Poetry

Many “who love to read novels and biographies, who are undaunted by string quartets and abstract paintings,” find “poetry a closed door,” laments The New Criterion’s Adam Kirsch. Poetry has “moved from the center of literary culture to the outskirts of the academy,” and it’s “all the more embarrassing for poets” with the “undeniable public appetite for the things poetry is supposed to provide: verbal artistry and words of wisdom.” Millions “find the former in hip-hop lyrics,” and millions more “find wisdom in the bite-sized inspirational poems of Rupi Kaur,” an Instagram poet on the “bestseller list for 170 weeks and counting.” Most people “encounter poetry” in school, giving it “associations of dutifulness and dullness.” And “few contemporary poets” can “gratify a taste for complex verbal music of the kind that Milton, Pope, and Hopkins coaxed from traditional verse forms.” Look for “poets who aspire” to that tradition.

Election watch: New GOP Hopes for Black Votes

For decades, Republicans seeking to enlarge their coalition have “paid less attention to the African-American vote, perhaps because it seemed so completely out of reach,” observes the Washington Examiner’s Byron York. But Donald Trump managed to win 8 percent of black voters in 2016 and even more in 2020. Political science prof Ryan Burge suggests that “black Protestants are slowly and surely drifting toward Republicans,” which “could bode well for the Republican future.” Since “church members are now a minority in the Democratic Party,” and so ignored in its agenda, Burge “expects the move to Republicans to continue.” York’s hedge: “Trump was such an unusual candidate . . . that it is impossible to gauge whether” this trend “will last.”

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board


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