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Editorial

EDITORIAL: Protesters show the myopia of the anti-vaccination movement

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Vaccine rally

Dozens gather around Centennial Circle in downtown Glens Falls on Friday to protest a COVID-19 vaccine mandate handed down by Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this week that requires all health care workers in the state to get vaccinated.

The most grotesque expression of anti-vaccine sentiment was on display Friday at Centennial Circle in Glens Falls, where a woman who refused to identify herself was carrying a sign showing swastikas and vaccination needles.

Other protesters around the country have worn yellow stars as they demonstrate against vaccine mandates and so-called vaccine passports, drawing a parallel between requirements to prove you’re vaccinated to, for example, go to the movies and the forced identification of Jews by Nazis so they could be singled out for oppression, deportation, imprisonment and murder.

The ignorance and the gall it takes to refuse to take part in a national effort to prevent the spread of a deadly virus and then compare yourself to a Holocaust victim is boggling.

But let’s be clear — many of the anti-vaxxers do not feel ashamed of their beyond-the-pale, stupid behavior. They know they’re being outrageous and offensive and they thrive on the reactions. They crave the angry attention they provoke.

It is not enough for them to choose not to get vaccinated, which they have the right and the ability to do. They must make a spectacle of themselves as well, and by some psychological sleight of hand, transform themselves into victims.

They are the ones refusing to engage with the emergency we are facing now. They are the ones facilitating the spread of the virus, so the suffering will affect more people, who are the real victims.

The trivialization of the sacred is a hallmark of our contemporary culture. Nothing is too inflammatory to shout at a rally or post online, no symbol too imbued with tragedy to co-opt for your own little grievance.

Respect for the legacy of the Holocaust is characteristic of human decency. Using Holocaust symbols to promote your own cause reveals your own deficiency.

It is bad enough that some of us refuse to rise to the challenge of the pandemic by working to prevent as many Americans as possible from getting sick. To also compare yourself to a Jew in Nazi Germany — hunted, rounded up and murdered by the millions — is obscene.

Local editorials are written by the Post-Star editorial board, which includes Ben Rogers, president and director of local sales and marketing; Brian Corcoran, regional finance director and former publisher; Will Doolittle, projects editor; and Bob Condon, local news editor.

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