Noted YouTuber Keith Olbermann made waves on Tuesday night for making a pretty outlandish suggestion on Twitter: that maybe nobody in Texas should be allowed to have the COVID-19 vaccine because Gov. Greg Abbott decided to prematurely end the state’s mask mandate.
“Why are we wasting vaccinations on Texas if Texas has decided to join the side of the virus?” Olbermann wrote in a quote of Abbott’s tweet announcing the end of the mask mandate.
This is a problematic take from the former ESPN and MSNBC host on a few different levels. The most obvious is one that so many people pointed out in reply to Olbermann’s tweet: That it’s cruel to punish everyone in the state of Texas for one person’s bad decision. While we often think of states as being red or blue, none of them fit either category completely.
For example, we tend to think of California as hard blue, but there are more Republicans in that state than in any other. No state is a monolith.
The second reason is that Texas’ borders are not closed to the rest of the country. You couldn’t quarantine Texas until everyone else gets the vaccine, so it’s not clear how this idea would even help anyone.
And third: the vaccines can help stave off some of the likely consequences of lifting the mask mandate. While the end of the mandate may lead to a COVID-19 surge in Texas, continuing the distribution of the vaccines there will certainly help many who could otherwise be harmed by the removal of the mandate.
In any case, Olbermann was the subject of much ire from the Twittersphere as his tweet was dogpiled by basically everyone on both sides of the aisle. You can read a sampling of those angry responses below.
Ah yes millions should be left to suffer and die because their Governor (who they are already trying to oust) is a festering pile of feces…or…or hear me out…we could support the communities he plans to sacrifice https://t.co/BiVz3oKHWd
— Openly Black Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) March 3, 2021
Because Texas is populated by human beings and saving lives is never a waste you absolute monster. https://t.co/xE3FAdP3qF
— Erin Biba (@erinbiba) March 3, 2021
*governor does something stupid*
me: why do we let anyone living under that governor have water? https://t.co/MFO9aPYMyC
— Rajat Suresh (@rajat_suresh) March 3, 2021
Texas is great. People in Texas are great. Texas’ political leadership is not. Keep that all separate https://t.co/uvkmrMsHtx
— Brian Floyd (@BrianMFloyd) March 3, 2021
I just think it’s wrong to make gross generalizations about the lives and potential deaths of an entire population. It is mean-spirited and unhelpful on every front.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) March 3, 2021
People deserve to stay safe and healthy no matter who they voted for.
— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@MollyJongFast) March 3, 2021
Keith, my grandmother lives in Austin. She’s done everything right, and yet, that shouldn’t even matter. These are human beings. There is no metric of “deserving” for a vaccine. Everyone who needs one should get one, regardless of where they live and their elected officials.
— Charlotte Clymer 🏳️🌈 (@cmclymer) March 3, 2021
Because vaccinating people isn't a waste even if you don't agree with them politically, and because the 29 million people who live in Texas aren't the ones who issued the executive order.
— Cody Johnston (@drmistercody) March 3, 2021
Delete this, Keith
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) March 3, 2021
You’re totally right. Let’s just write off MILLIONS of people because of shitty politicians who owe a great deal of their influence to voter suppression. Thank you for your valuable contribution to the discourse. It’s hard to see what went wrong with your career. You’re a gem.
— Saeed Jones (@theferocity) March 3, 2021
I understand your frustration, but this is a garbage take. That’s my family you’re talking about. My friends. Everyone I grew up with. Human beings with human rights. They should not be denied a life-saving vaccine because their governor is an idiot.
Delete this & apologize.
— David Slack (@slack2thefuture) March 3, 2021
hey keith, not sure if you’re aware but people actually deserve not to die regardless of their political beliefs
— Shehan Jeyarajah (@ShehanJeyarajah) March 3, 2021
Keith, this is a wrong take man. Take it from a former Republican they vote crappy leadership for different reasons, but they are still human beings. They have families, children. I get it, you are angry, but this is not the right message.
— David Weissman (@davidmweissman) March 3, 2021
Did New Jersey deserve to be hit by Hurricane Sandy because Chris Christie happened to be in office, Keith?
— Nick Stellini (@StelliniTweets) March 3, 2021
Thanks Keith really appreciate you helping here.
— Levi Weaver (@ThreeTwoEephus) March 3, 2021
The millions of Texans that hate that idiot and care about people don't need to be punished.
— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) March 3, 2021
A state is full of people, and people deserve to live. Not everything is a goddamned scorecard.
— Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) March 3, 2021