A mere 20% of American adults say they trust our government to “do the right thing,” according to Pew Research.

Judging by recent actions, many in Congress seem determined to whittle that number down to single digits.

As coronavirus cases soar and hospitals across the U.S. breach capacity, elected leaders are making sure that they are first in line for the critical COVID-19 vaccines.

They are not first responders. They do not work in medical facilities with coronavirus patients. They are not nursing home residents.

But they do have power, and in many cases, a distinct lack of shame.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 31, got her vaccine last week on Instagram. Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who is putting off his shot, took her to task — tweeting “It is inappropriate for me — who has already gotten the virus/has immunity — to get in front of elderly/healthcare workers. Same goes for AOC or any young healthy person. They should be among last, not first.”

Amen to that.

Fellow squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar also slammed AOC, tweeting “It would makes sense if it was age, but unfortunately it’s of importance and its shameful.”

But a sense of entitlement means never having to say you’re sorry, and AOC defended her actions. According to Politico, Ocasio-Cortez argued that she felt obligated to get the vaccine in part because of misinformation Republicans have helped spread about the virus and efforts to mitigate its spread. She insisted that lawmakers need to set an example for Americans and assuring the safety of the vaccine.

Unfortunately, she’s not alone.

Democratic Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia was also on the early vaccine roster, which according to Roll Call, he justified in a statement, saying, “I am mindful that millions of Americans are still waiting for shots they will get after me, many of whom are workers on the front lines of this pandemic. I do not believe that I am more important than they are, but as national leaders it is important to lead by example.”

Note to AOC, Beyer and others of their ilk: You are not Elvis, and we are not fighting polio.

Presley famously got a polio vaccine on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1956 to encourage other young people to get inoculated.

Politico reported that two staffers in every House member and senator’s personal offices are now eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine, as well as four staffers of every committee chair and every ranking committee member.

That’s a lot of “leading by example.”

Those who aren’t using that as an excuse to get the vaccine ahead of constituents who need them more file their actions under “government continuity” — as in, we need to do this to keep the country running.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted: “Just received the safe, effective COVID vaccine following continuity-of-government protocols. Vaccines are how we beat this virus.”

When vaccines are on the table, government continuity is of prime importance. When wrangling over legislation to stave off a shutdown, not so much. Where was this sentiment during the 35-day shutdown in 2018-2019?

It’s good to know that there are some lawmakers who are appalled at colleagues jumping the line to get a vaccine that vulnerable populations and health care workers across the U.S. desperately need. But it isn’t enough to stop already-dismal trust in government from eroding further.

And “me-first” lawmakers have only themselves to blame.

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Source:
https://www.bostonherald.com/2020/12/30/back-of-the-line-for-lawmakers-seeking-coronavirus-vaccines/

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