I am a manager at a U.S. federal contracting company with over one thousand employees. This week, we were called into a senior management update meeting. What happened next made my heart break.

I should’ve known it was coming. After hearing announcements on the news and reading about the recent executive orders from the White House, I heard it might be a possibility. But I didn’t think it would actually become real - after all, this was supposed to be America, land of the free.

We were shown a timeline with deadlines. The first deadline was for those who might elect to not get vaccinated due to medical or religious exemptions, which would be approved by a third party. The second deadline was the date by which both doses of the vaccine needed to be administered. The third deadline was the last day to upload proof of vaccination. And the fourth deadline was where I lost my breath - it read: “last day of employment for people who are not vaccinated”. Terminated. Just like that.

Senior management later held a Q&A session for the whole company. They reminded us that the government often makes decisions that most people do not agree with or support. They then reminded us that we must comply, because we fall under the jurisdiction of the government. I could hear the disappointment in their voices as they tried to sound convincing - but I knew that the faces of friends, colleagues, and clients were in their minds, faces that were asking, “but what about me? Haven’t I served you well? Why does a shot suddenly cost me my livelihood, everything I’ve worked so hard for? How am I supposed to provide for my family now?”

Why is this the solution? How does forcing people into important medical decisions and firing them if they don’t comply a good idea?

I understand that the government is saying they want to “protect” people and that this is for the “good” of the people. This is absolutely not for the protection or the “good” of the people. My company is 100% remote. Everyone works from within their own homes, we don’t go to the client site, why does it matter if we are vaccinated or not when we’re sitting inside our homes all day long? No, it’s not about health. It’s about the current presidential administration exercising control and power, and seeing how far the people will allow them to go. Unfortunately, we’re allowing them to go too far.

Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. I’ve always been interested in learning about World War II - I’m inspired by those who fought against the evil of that world, intrigued by the strength they must’ve had, and heartbroken over how cruel society became against one group of people. While we are currently nowhere near the painful divisiveness of Europe during WWII, the current rhetoric of the U.S. government is terrifying. The government’s constant “vaccinated versus the unvaccinated” mentality is driving a stronger wedge between the two groups rather than helping them come together to try to solve the problem. With that kind of cruel and divisive mindset in the White House, no wonder the country is falling apart.

Our company is going to lose amazing, innocent employees. The federal government is going to lose hardworking, dedicated people - and there’s no one to blame but the government itself.