The Johnson & Johnson pause


In 2008, then-President-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, famously said: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

That lesson appears to have been well-learned by the left. The COVID-19 crisis has presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the federal government to expand its reach into every crack and crevice of life. Under the pretext of mitigating the spread and “flattening the curve,” the economy has been shut down, businesses permanently closed, tens of millions of people left unemployed, our elderly left isolated and marooned, schools closed and children bereft of the halcyon days of their youth.

At first, these unprecedented measures made sense to a frightened public. We were told these measures were made necessary by the rampaging virus. Absent these restrictions and impositions, COVID-19 would spread uncontrolled and overwhelm hospitals, causing patients to languish without ventilators and resulting in suffering and death of Biblical proportions. During the early months of the pandemic, these measures were generally accepted by the public. This is a burden that has been borne now for over a year.

With lightning speed, testing proliferated, therapeutics were developed, and, at last, enormously effective and safe vaccines are available. New cases, hospital admissions, and the gravity of illness and deaths from COVID-19 have fallen precipitously as these treatments and inoculations have spread over the last several months. Even so, still we are told that fully vaccinated individuals should not yet eat in restaurants. The president addressed the nation and suggested that perhaps, if the public continued to follow instructions obediently, it might be possible to have a few family and friends over to the house by the Fourth of July for a barbecue. Not too big a group, he cautioned.

The COVID-19 crisis is being fully exploited by the ascendent left. Even as the economy roars back, trillions of dollars are spent in COVID-19 relief. Predictably, taxes will need to be raised. Left-leaning states have imposed new restrictions and shunned the examples of Florida and Texas. The talons of big, central government dig deeper into the public flesh as school openings are delayed and economic redistribution undertaken that provides disincentives to return to work. These measures hamper the economic recovery and result in deepening dependance on the ever-growing federal government. To do otherwise would allow this great crisis to go to waste.

Most recently, we learned that the federal government had “paused” the continuing distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. This happened when six women developed clots within a large vein that drains the brain within a few weeks of having received that vaccine. Almost 7 million Americans have already received the J&J vaccine. Early in childhood, Johnson & Johnson baby powder soothed our rashes. After falling off our bikes, it likely was a Johnson & Johnson band-aid that Mother used to cover the scrape. Tylenol was the likely choice for headache and minor pain. The first coronary stent was a J&J innovation. This is among the most trusted names in American business. Leaders were thrilled in the early days of the pandemic when J&J announced they, along with Pfizer and Moderna, would race to develop a vaccine.

Now, the government has recommended that the vaccine distribution be put on hold. Was the company not to be trusted to inform the public and advise health care providers how best to proceed? Has it been the case that an adverse event that occurs in fewer than one in a million users should result in product withdrawal, particularly as we are told that the virus rampage continues? We know that aspirin causes bleeding in rare cases, yet it remains on the shelf. Birth control pills have been linked to major clots, yet the government has not recommended pulling them from usage. The likelihood of being struck by lightning is one in 500,000. The odds of being struck by lightning twice still exceed the apparent risk of clots related to the J&J vaccine.

The ascendent left has adhered closely to Emanuel’s instructions. As a result, they have thrived amid this pandemic. Why would they be in any rush to see this apocalyptic time pass? It has been said that one is wise to make hay when the sun shines. This crisis is that moment for the left. If they are left to their own devices, then when the COVID-19 pestilence finally passes, we will be left with a new America: one deeply dependent on the largess of the government with a permanently installed governing elite and a nation lurching inevitably and tragically to the left. Years ago, I thought to brand my company The Right Side. Never before has that been so fitting.

By Patricia Older