Former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security under President Obama Juliette Kayyem said on Tuesday she wants the Biden administration to create a no-fly list for unvaccinated Americans.
She said in an Atlantic article that the list would be “an obvious step” the government should take. Kayyem wrote, “Flying is not a right, and the case for restricting it to vaccinated people is straightforward: The federal government is the sole entity that can regulate the terms and conditions of airline safety.”
While Republican Senators are pushing legislation to end the federal mask mandate on federal transportation, including planes, voices on the left are pushing for even more extreme limitations on the freedoms of Americans who choose to remain unvaccinated. The growing contrast indicates COVID-19 is much more than a public health issue; it has become one of the most heated political issues of our time.
One of America’s great freedoms is the freedom of movement. In contrast with Kayyem’s claim, freedom to travel is a right. Flying is one aspect of travel. Her analogy breaks down in which she compares vaccination with those who would act as terrorists. A terrorist is someone who has committed a crime or is planning to do so. An unvaccinated American has not committed any crime.
This is worse than the fictional “Minority Report” Tom Cruise film that sought to cut off crimes before they happened. Instead of cutting off potential crime, the suggestion would cut off potential spread of a sickness from which more than 99 percent of people recover.
And what happens when vaccination is deemed not enough? Do people who fly need a regular booster shot for approval to board a plane? What rights will be next? Will the government target those who own a gun or have been banned on Twitter?
The nation is quickly walking down the slippery slope of social credit scores like what Chinese government does to its citizens. It’s no longer good enough to be a citizen and buy an airline ticket. Instead, you must be socially worthy as defined by the government.
The Hill recently highlighted this concern through another political issue. In an Op-Ed by Kristin Tate, she reported, “PayPal announced a partnership with the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center to “investigate” the role of ‘white supremacists’ and propagators of ‘anti-government’ rhetoric, subjective labels that potentially could impact a large number of groups or people using their service. PayPal says the collected information will be shared with other financial firms and politicians. Facebook is taking similar measures, recently introducing messages that ask users to snitch on their potentially “extremist” friends, which considering the platform’s bias seems mainly to target the political right. At the same time, Facebook and Microsoft are working with several other web giants and the United Nations on a database to block potential extremist content.”
The actions by themselves may seem logical, but together point toward a system with much potential to become a mirror of China’s social credit system. It’s time to push back to keep our freedoms—before it’s too late.