Speaker Robin Vos started quite a kerfuffle when he changed his profile picture on his Facebook page last Sunday.
He updated it to a grinning picture of himself with his wife Michelle Litjens Vos, but what led to 170 comments, 300 reactions and 30 shares was the frame he put around the photo with the words: “I have an immune system” with two emojis of flexing biceps. Litjens Vos added the same frame.
The frame, which appears to have been created by a vaccine skeptic, and his picture got a love or like symbol from many GOP legislators: Shae Sortwell,Jeremy Thiesfeldt, Todd Novak, Tony Kurtz, Jon Plumer, Alex Dallman, Mary Felzkowski, Calvin Callahan, Mike Kuglitsch, Rachael Cabral Guevara, Shannon Zimmerman and Gae Magnafici who responded with a heart and a comment “Me too.” Incoming legislator Elijah Behnke also commented, “Love this!”
Not everyone was a fan. The battle flowed over to Twitter where Rep. Jimmy Anderson (D-Fitchburg) shot back with: “So did the 7400+ Wisconsinites and over half a million Americans who have died from COVID-19, you entitled, inconsiderate ass. Is this a weird flex over those with compromised immune systems? Whatever this is, it sucks and you owe the families who lost loved ones an apology.”
So did the 7400+ Wisconsinites and over half a million Americans who have died from COVID-19, you entitled, inconsiderate ass. Is this a weird flex over those with compromised immune systems? Whatever this is, it sucks and you owe the families who lost loved ones an apology. pic.twitter.com/w6cYMSj7x7
— Jimmy Anderson (@Rep_Jimmy) April 20, 2021
Defending Vos, Speaker Pro Tem Rep. Tyler August (R-Lake Geneva) went for an atypical GOP talking point of science: The left complaining about @repvos stating a scientific fact that human beings have immune systems would be hilarious if it weren’t so ignorant of them. Humans do in fact have immune systems. #followthescience”
Comments from his Facebook friends showed many took it as an anti-vaccine message. One bragged “no mask – no vaccine and I’m still alive” and “I have an immune system and having spent over a year without covid, I can handle whatever is left. No shot.” and “Health care worker and I’m not getting it. Nurse family and friends not getting it. I know more people not getting it than getting. I thank you for being our human test subject.”
Still others spread wild conspiracy theories: “people who are brainwashed, maybe You do understand that this is not even a normal immunization, right? It’s gene therapy and it changes your genetic make-up permanently. No, thank you!!!! Good luck with being a guinea pig!”
His new Facebook profile picture also drew a rebuke from Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Joe Oslund, saying, “It is disappointing and embarrassing, yet not at all surprising, that Speaker Robin Vos is now spreading doubts about vaccines on Facebook. At every turn, Speaker Vos has sought to sabotage our state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this latest erratic behavior is further evidence that nothing is off limits when it comes to Speaker Vos’s political games.”
Most revealing was seeing what Vos thinks about masks and the vaccine, which he says he plans to get. He waded into the arguments among the comments several times, stating, “I am 100% in favor of people getting vaccinated, just not mandating it or requiring people to live in fear after folks have gotten it” and “No one is saying you should not get vaccinated but the idea that after you are vaccinated that you still have to live in fear is what I am so frustrated by.”
Finally, on Thursday morning, he went on a rant in a new post, with a meme of Keanu Reeves with the words: “I HAVE AN IMMUNE SYSTEM THAT’S WHY VACCINES WORK.”
The following is what Vos posted, focusing on the “Democratoc Party” and “hateful leftists” and wrapping up with a pitch for an individual approach to vaccination.
“I can’t believe how liberals have to try and take everything and look for something negative to say. I posted “I have an immune system” and they presumed I was saying it as a statement on vaccines.
The reason I posted it was because I am incredibly frustrated that the goal posts keep moving and it’s not based on science.
The message has been get the vaccine so we can return to normal but now they are saying restrictions have to remain in place for the foreseeable future? Wear a mask outside? Get a vaccine and you still have to shelter in place?
How can many get behind policies that seem to never get us closer to a return to normal after over a year of data that shows many of the opinions have been wrong but not one official will ever admit that?
I understand some have compromised immune systems. That will always be with us. We should not change society permanently based on the idea that we can “protect” everyone by giving up our personal liberties. We know how to be smart in our strategy which is why those with compromised immune systems (and those in the same household) should closely follow the guidelines to stay safe and we should respect that. However, asking healthy people to all act as if THEY are all immuno-comprised can’t be the long-term answer.
Vaccines work by boosting the immune systems response to a virus. If you don’t believe me look here – https://www.cdc.gov/…/conv…/understanding-vacc-work.html
So for the Democratoc Party [sic] and all of the hateful leftists who felt the need to comment or send me a message, please know that your ignorance of how things work only causes more people to doubt the effectiveness of the COVID19 vaccine.
Please – as I have said for months, consider the vaccine. No one should force you to take it and I will never support that idea or a vaccine passport or work requirement.
I intend to get the vaccine. I would appreciate people not commenting on why we shouldn’t get the vaccine or why you are a moron if you don’t.
How about instead, if we respect each other enough to say it’s a personal decision and I’m good with whatever choice those I care about make?”