Right-wing elected officials and media personalities have vocally opposed virtually all efforts to encourage vaccinations against the virus that's killed over 750 thousand Americans—vaccines that have proven to be safe and effective.
They've painted vaccine information initiatives as federal overreach on par with Nazi atrocities. They've decried businesses who've chosen to mandate vaccines for their employees and customers. They've repeatedly peddled disinformation regarding the lifesaving medicine.
They also claim that willfully unvaccinated people are being discriminated against by initiatives barring them from certain activities.
Far-right pundit Dennis Prager of conservative media company PragerU recently appeared on the right-wing disinformation outlet Newsmax, where he proceeded to claim that unvaccinated people are being treated like "pariahs"—and he rewrote some history in the process.
"During the AIDS crisis, can you imagine if gay men and intravenous drug users, who were the vast majority of people with AIDS, had they been pariahs the way the non-vaccinated are? But it would've been inconceivable and should've been inconceivable, they should not be made pariahs."
No one has to imagine if gay men and drug users were made pariahs in the face of the AIDS crisis, because that actually happened.
At the height of the crisis, Republican heavy-hitters like then-President Ronald Reagan and GOP Senator Jesse Helms dismissed efforts for adequate AIDS awareness programs, choosing instead to blame what they perceived as a lack of morality in gay men.
In justifying his stance, Helms once said:
''We have got to call a spade a spade and a perverted human being a perverted human being.
Until just last year, gay men couldn't donate blood in the United States unless they'd been celibate for a year, regardless of whether or not they're HIV negative. That mandatory celibacy time has since been reduced to three months.
People were amazed at Prager's complete revision of history and reality—and they soon brought receipts.
There was universal disgust at Prager's deliberate deception.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Prager attempted to backtrack, claiming he specifically meant the government didn't make gay men pariahs—once again, at odds with reality.