Following the lead of other leftist-run cities, Washington, D.C., just instituted a new COVID-19 mandate that requires anyone who wants to dine at a restaurant, go to a movie, or workout at a gym to show proof of vaccination.
But a big part of the story that many in the media seem to ignore is that in this majority-black city, run by a black mayor, the government is also requiring people to show a photo ID to prove that they are the actual owner of the vaccination card they present.
Hold on a minute! Wasn’t it just a few short months ago — as the battles over election reform raged in the states — that we were told requiring photo ID to vote was racist and discriminatory because black folks couldn’t get IDs? In fact, it was considered so racist that businesses, sports teams, and celebrities boycotted entire states.
Now, by the left’s own definition, Washington just instituted a whole new level of systemic racism. And it’s certainly affecting the black population — the district’s largest racial group — disproportionately.
Since the mandate’s announcement in late December, I’ve been scouring the legacy media looking for news reports and media pundits who are labeling this new photo ID requirement racist, “the new Jim Crow 2.0,” the marginalization of people of color, and the other assorted slurs that were hurled at proponents of voter ID just months ago.
Not surprisingly, I haven’t seen one such headline.
Back in December, district officials initially said citizens wouldn’t be required to present an ID with their vaccination card. While such an absurdity seemingly made sense to the left, it made the vaccination card system entirely useless. One could just borrow the card of a friend or relative and have free reign of the city.
Remarkably, this idea of unverified vaccination IDs raised eyebrows for one local news outlet. When Washington’s ABC affiliate questioned Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, about the inconsistency, she reversed course and stated that photo ID would be required.
Of course, requiring proof of identification — whether along with a vaccination card or at the voting booth — is not and never has been racist, and this majority-black city run by a black mayor just proved it. The real issue here is the government attempting to coerce people into getting injected against their will and taking away their ability to use public accommodations when they refuse.
While the district has created medical and religious exemptions to the mandate, individuals are required to take a COVID-19 test and present it within 24 hours to enter a covered business. Tests can be costly and, at present, have been in such high demand that they can be hard to find, making this a high hurdle. Requiring a new test every 24 hours will only make compliance costlier and tests scarcer.
Perhaps that was the intent.
The mandate will hit Washington’s black population the hardest. Nearly 45% of the population is black. And according to the district government’s own coronavirus statistics, it is the least vaccinated racial group, with only 49% of the population partially or fully vaccinated as of last week. That means over half of the black population is now barred by the government from going out to eat, to a sporting event, or to the gym.
Essentially, Washington is forcing its largest — and its most vaccine-hesitant population — to either get vaccinated or be barred from most indoor venues. That is hypocrisy that only the left could get away with.
But it’s not just hurting patrons. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the country who would normally come to the nation’s capital and patronize restaurants, bars, and museums but aren’t vaccinated now won’t be patronizing them at all. The result? Another economic blow for district businesses — nearly 30% of which are black-owned.
I won’t hold my breath waiting to see the massive protests form in the streets, as happened in many cities over voter ID requirements. I’ve heard zero calls for woke companies to stop doing business or hosting conferences in the district. And there are no celebrities or politicians condemning the mayor or the city council or threatening boycotts.
Is it because they actually realize that requiring photo ID was never racist to begin with and they’ve simply been using that lie to scare people into fearing commonsense voting reforms? Or is it because the photo ID argument is an easy way to demonize and marginalize those they disagree with politically? Or is it because, in the end, they really don’t care about the plight of black people or anyone else who gets in the way of their sacred leftist policies like vaccination mandates?
The answer is, of course, all of the above.
Originally published at The Daily Signal.
Brian Gottstein is a senior communications writer and editor at The Heritage Foundation, a best-selling author, and a former radio talk show host.