by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In the spring of 2021 during my first year at the U.S. Military Academy, I was told that my decision to reject getting the “optional” COVID-19 vaccine would not negatively affect my time as a cadet at West Point.
That quickly changed. …
… During summer training, my unvaccinated friends and I were segregated, ostracized, and mocked. We endured rude comments, while others pointed and laughed at us for being in the “dirty” platoon of only unvaccinated (and therefore masked) cadets. Cadets yelled that we were the “sick” or “dirty” or “anti-science” platoon. Officers told trainees to stay away from us.
After returning to the academy in the fall, unvaccinated cadets were subjected to COVID testing twice a week at 6:00 a.m., even if we didn’t have COVID symptoms. Even though the vaccinated can also contract and transmit COVID, they were not tested, and those who felt sick were denied COVID tests. The leadership purposefully made life miserable for unvaccinated cadets, in what I can only conclude was an attempt to convince us to violate our consciences and blindly follow the rest of the herd. …
… I was subjected to this treatment while knowing that some of my fellow cadets had an adverse reaction to the vaccine, including life-changing heart problems. One of these adverse reactions resulting in heart issues happened on the Crew team. That same team kicked my best friend off for being unvaccinated, with her coach saying it “went against [her] ethics” to coach an unvaccinated cadet.
Around the same time, guidance was pushed down that we could not even attend our religious clubs. While this guidance then changed shortly after, no one questioned the unethical nonsense of telling cadets they could sit shoulder to shoulder in a classroom to study calculus, but it was too much of a “health threat” to have us in the same classroom six hours later discussing the one thing that gave us hope and comfort.