This whole employer vaccine mandate thing has not exactly snuck up on anyone. Based on the last 21 months or so, anyone with a hint of foresight should’ve seen it coming. And as much as they may have wanted to believe it would not come to this — it has.
UnityPoint, for example, will allow its mandatory vaccine policy to go into effect Sept. 1 and the first dose of the vaccine must be injected into its workers by Oct. 1. These are deadlines that are rapidly approaching.
It is highly unlikely the legislature will conduct its special session for redistricting — and whatever else it decides to do — by the Oct. 1 deadline.
There are essentially five weeks left before Iowans start receiving pink slips for not receiving an experimental injection. They are already being coerced and pressured into taking the jab if they have not already.
And yes, I understand the argument that we do not want government restricting private businesses. But in this case, we’re talking about preventing people from having to choose between their livelihood or having something injected into their body that will always be with them — at work, home or play.
This is not your typical government overreach or government interfering with private enterprise. This is about the government’s interest in ensuring people have jobs and individual rights to go along with liberty.
Keep in mind many of these businesses who do not want the government dictating anything to them today were first in line for government (read taxpayer) money to survive the COVID-19 outbreak. Who did those companies turn to for help? The government. Again, read taxpayers.
Who are taxpayers? People who have jobs. The same people some of these companies are now requiring to take a jab to keep those jobs.
So the whole keep the government out of private business just is not something I can quite agree with in this instance. Besides, there are exceptions to every rule. We have to be wise enough to discern when one principle (individual liberty, bodily autonomy) trumps another principle (less government regulation).
Think of the consequences if 25 percent of the health care workforce is fired. We already have a worker shortage, so it is difficult to understand how any sane administrator of a health care facility would cut more staff in the midst of a pandemic.
More people on unemployment. Fewer people to offer services. Everyone is impacted in a negative way.
Who wins in the current scenario? Nobody.
There are two possible solutions — Governor Kim Reynolds could end it all with an Executive Order until the special session for redistricting takes place or the legislature could convene for a special session aside from redistricting and tackle the most pressing issue of our time.
That first possibility is pretty easy to figure out. The second one still comes down to Gov. Reynolds — as she would have to call for the special session. It is highly unlikely two-thirds of the legislators in each chamber would call for such a session.
So, no matter how you look at this, it is pretty obvious that Gov. Reynolds is holding all the cards right now.
It is difficult to imagine Reynolds alienating anyone with an executive order to stop the employer vaccine mandates — with one exception.
I mean, it is really hard to believe anyone unvaccinated at this point is going to vote Democrat in 2022. And it’s hard to believe anyone who believes private businesses should have the power to require employees be vaccinated and will vote based on that issue is going to vote for Reynolds anyway in 2022.
So, the only thing she really has to lose is potential donations from the big business community ahead of her re-election year.
Is it risky? Maybe. For her.
But the decision on her shoulders is simply a matter of re-election at worst. For the employees faced with this dilemma of getting the shot or getting fired — the decision may well feel like it is life or death.
It is great seeing encouraging social media posts from Iowa lawmakers who promise to do all they can about the situation. And it is reassuring to hear Gov. Reynolds say she will continue to fight for individual rights and liberties.
But the time for talk is running out. And once the final speck of sand falls from the hourglass, if nothing is done between now and then, all of the words we hear today will have been nothing but empty promises.
Iowans deserve more than that. Much more. Hopefully it doesn’t take us all five weeks to find out if they’ll get it.