What is a RINO (Republican In Name Only)?
RINO is a pejorative word for a Republican who is not as right as the ultra-right think one ought to be. By that I mean you do not support Trump, and want everyone to be vaccinated! Republicans used to be the party of Ronald Reagan, the party who believed in the conservative point of view, Capitalism, less government, fewer taxes, law and order, but now it has something to do with Donald Trump and whether you get vaccinated or wear a mask.
Trump was once upon a time the leader that embodied the Reagan principles. He won the 2016 election because no one wanted Hillary Clinton, but then something happened. Trump clearly had a meltdown. The anti-vaxxers took over. Vaccination was now against freedom, against my rights over my body. But vaccination has nothing to do with rights, nothing to do with freedom, nothing to do with Anthony Fauci. It is a vaccine against a lethal illness, that has killed close to six and one half million people. The problem came about by the issue if you can mandate people to get vaccinated against their will. Somehow the Trumpists allied with the anti-vaxxers even though it was Trump that first pushed the vaccine, and even though he and all his family took it. But the far right saw it as an infringement on civil rights. Somehow the personal right to choose became mixed up with the right to protect yourself.
As a physician and a scientist, I find this a curious position that I have failed to comprehend. When the Polio Vaccine came out, no one talked about personal rights. We all stood in line to get our vaccine and were very grateful to get it. One issue is that the Covid virus is very clever. It can change (mutate) quickly and gains new characteristics that make it more infectious and able to avoid the vaccines we have developed to attack it. This somehow has weakened the argument for vaccination in the eyes of the anti-vaxxers. Science is however not like religion. It is not absolute and it certainly is not the word of God. Science is the search for truth. If evidence points to a new discovery then that becomes the standard. Science is not wrong, it becomes better educated and then acts accordingly. In this pandemic we have learned that this virus has abilities that we didn’t think it had. It can change into other forms quickly. Last year’s version of the vaccine does not work as well against it. Yes, you need the latest version in order to be fully protected, and it will likely become a yearly ritual. The older vaccine still works, just not as well. It will keep you out of the ICU and likely keep you from dying, but the newer vaccine works better. Just like the latest version of the newest model Tessla has more buttons and more features than last year’s model. Some models keep you safer in a car crash than other models, just like some vaccines work better than others. I do believe in personal choice but I also believe that if you want to ride next to me in an airplane or be a police officer or serve me food you must be vaccinated. You have the right not to get vaccinated but you can’t infect me either.
Wearing or not wearing a mask is another thing I cannot wrap my head around. How in heaven’s name does that have anything to do with your being a Democrat, Republican, RINO, or anything to do with political persuasion? It is just a mask, a piece of material that filters out the air you breathe in and out. Granted, it does not do as good a job as you think it should, but it does work which has been shown to be the case for the last 130 years. That is what the science shows over and over. How much evidence do you need, and it is why surgeons wear them when doing operations? You can get better working masks but they must be fitted to you and are really uncomfortable.
I have come to the conclusion that I am an ELMO, a combination of the elephant , symbol of Republicans but also have Rino features at the rear, just as my cartoon above shows. An ELMO is a conservative who believes in vaccination, keeps believing in the US Constitution, and thinks that Trump has voided his ticket to run for President a third time.