The Republican governor won't push for COVID-19 vaccinations, but farmers will pay to vaccinate their cows
So you probably just read this and thought, "Man, how could they be more ridiculous?" And then Tennessee Governor Bill Lee sat up and said, "Stop my bull."
You see, Lee refuses to offer incentives like cash payments to encourage people to save their own lives, but his attitude changes significantly when it comes to his sacred cows:
Tennessee's herd health program began in 2019 under Lee, whose family business Triple L Ranch raises Polled Hereford cattle. The state is currently reimbursing participating farmers up to $ 1,500 for vaccinating their herds and has distributed $ 492,561 over the past two fiscal years, according to Tennessee Department of Agriculture documents.
Lee, who has so far avoided drawing a serious challenge to Republicans on his 2022 re-election bid, has been accused of complacency in the face of the deadly pandemic. Tennessee's vaccination rates for Covid-19 are 39 percent of the total population, up from over 49 percent nationwide for the fully vaccinated. The state's Covid hospital admissions have more than tripled in the past three weeks, and infections have more than quintupled.
So if you're a Tennessee resident and want to get paid to do the right thing (admittedly, you should be doing the right thing anyway, but some people seem to need a nudge), you might have to try something like this …
Just make sure you are in your buttocks if you want to get the full dose.
As reported by the AP, Lee has created incentives for Tennessee residents to prevent the further spread of a (now dangerously mutated) virus that has already killed nearly 630,000 Americans. Speaking to the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association on Friday, Lee said he didn't think incentives would be effective, adding, “I don't think that's the role of government. The government's role is to make them available and then encourage people to get a vaccine. "
All states should have to hit vaccination benchmarks before receiving a single cent in federal infrastructure dollars. https://t.co/YRvYwtvcjy
– Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) August 3, 2021
In a statement, Lee spokesman Casey Black also tried to explain away the apparent contradiction: "Tennesseans have every incentive to get the Covid-19 vaccine – it is available for free and with virtually no waiting in every corner of the state. While a veterinarian can weigh up safely raising cattle for consumption, the state will continue to provide information and access to Covid-19 vaccines to the people of Tennessee.
Okay, no one has said that cows are equal to humans when it comes to responsibly choosing adequate health care for yourself. Granted, if you read through the DMs of some of my anti-Vaxxer family members, you can give that impression.
Obviously, “information and access” is not enough when so much disinformation flows through the veins of our body politics. In fact, the best that could happen to our wavering country right now would be if Tucker Carlson choked on his own vomit in a My Little Pony costume from Spirit Halloween. (Come on, you know this is coming.) Otherwise, we must do everything in our power except direct coercion to get shots in the arms.
Unfortunately, not only are Tennessee not doing that, they're also desperately dragging in the opposite direction.
More recently, Lee's government has come under fire after the state Vaccination chief was fired in what she called an attempt to appease GOP lawmakers outraged by the spread of Covid-19 vaccinations for minors. At a June hearing, a Republican lawmaker called an ad promoting youth vaccination “objectionable” and some even went so far as to suggest withdrawing health department funding.
Hello, great idea! In the midst of the biggest public health crisis in 100 years, let's grab a big steamy dookie with the one time-tested tool that can actually get us out of this mess.
I'm tempted to say that people like Lee cut off their noses to piss off their face, but it's actually much worse. They kill (or at least let them die) their own people for no clear reason.
But hey, as long as his cows are fine, the world is fine, right?
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