For a brief period, Michael Flynn was the actual national security adviser to an actual U.S. presidential administration. He left in disgrace (i.e., was fired) after lying to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. Ultimately, he was fired by Donald Trump. For being a liar.
Let that sink in for a moment. Trump fired a guy for telling one lie. That’s a little like Jeffrey Dahmer ratting out a fellow grocery shopper for stealing a grape in the produce aisle.
Anyway, after being unceremoniously cut loose, Flynn became a hero of the bonkers far-right, and he’s still plying his trade as a purveyor of pernicious piffle. The latest? Well, if you laid down a big bet on “the libs want to put vaccines in your salad dressing because they hate our freedoms,” well, you’re about to be a very wealthy individual.
FLYNN: “Somebody sent me a thing this morning where they’re talking about putting the vaccine in salad dressing. … And I’m thinking to myself, this is the Bizarro World, right? This is definitely the Bizarro World. … These people are seriously thinking about how to impose their will on us in our society, and it has to stop.”
Yes, this is very much the Bizarro World. You sure got that one right, Mike.
Of course, this story wasn’t concocted out of whole cloth. As is typical with these sorts of wild assertions, there may be a kernel of truthiness to Flynn’s dystopian fever dreams:
From the RochesterFirst.com story linked in the tweet:
Researchers at the University of California-Riverside are working on a way to grow edible plants that carry the same medication as an mRNA vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine is one of the many inoculations which use messenger RNA (mRNA) technology to defeat viruses. They work by teaching cells from the immune system to recognize and attack a certain infectious disease. Unfortunately, mRNA vaccines have to stay in cold storage until use or they lose stability. The UC-Riverside team says if they’re successful, the public could eat plant-based mRNA vaccines — which could also survive at room temperature.
Thanks to a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, researchers are now looking to accomplish three goals. First, the team will try to successfully deliver DNA containing mRNA vaccines into plant cells, where they can replicate. Next, the study authors want to show that plants can actually produce enough mRNA to replace a traditional injection. Finally, the team will need to determine the right dosage people will need to eat to properly replace vaccinations.
So great news, right? While it appears this technology is a long way from coming to fruition—assuming anything comes of it at all—it would be a great way to encourage vaccination, especially among the needle-phobic (like, for instance, me). Who wouldn’t rather tuck into a hearty and delicious bowl of romaine (with croutons!) than tromp into a doctor’s office for a needle jab?
But, naturally, if you’re predisposed to thinking the government is out to get you—and to get that Bill Gates Windows patch into you by any means necessary—your mind is naturally going to gravitate toward the serial depredations of killer salads.
But how many people will see the original story Flynn’s cockeyed comment was based on? How many will understand that if the government—which regularly inspects our food—wanted to poison us, it could readily do so? Besides, if the government wanted to ensure Trump supporters got the vaccine, the last place they’d put it is in a salad. If he’d said they’re looking into dosing nougat or Keystone Light, I’d be more inclined to believe this.
But then, where’s the fun in spreading rumors that the government cares about you and wants to save your life? Especially when you can trash well-meaning scientists and researchers more than you already have?
That said, if Flynn is right and the government does want to spike my salad, I’ll take the pomegranate vinaigrette. And please don’t skimp on the kalamata olives, or I’ll send it back.
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