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Pandemic Politics

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a bleeding heart liberal: democratic socialism, LGBT equality, immigration reformation--you name it. Anyone who has spoken to me about it the past few weeks also knows that I'm all for social distancing and stay at home orders, and am definitely not in the vein of people who think C19 is some giant government conspiracy to strip us of our freedom. I think the people out protesting are extremely selfish, and are putting their own health and public health at risk. However, I do not think that these gun-toting, MAGA-apparel-rocking people we see on the steps of various capital buildings around the country deserve to die for their decisions, and I am 100 percent against the widespread celebrations of their deaths I've seen plastered all over social media (generally by my fellow liberals).

Yesterday I came across a news article shared by one of my friends on Facebook, detailing the C19-related death of a man who participated in a protest a few weeks prior. The comments were full of "serves-that-fucking-idiot-right" and "one-down-several-to-go" type comments, all from liberals--all from the party of purported love and tolerance. Yet here they were, celebrating the death of man they'd never met before. Here they were, celebrating the death of a father and a husband. Here they were, celebrating the death of a (misguided, sure) human who undoubtedly had people in his life who loved and now miss him. Nowhere in these comments could love be found, only hatred born from disparate ideologies. Nowhere in these comments was tolerance practiced as a step towards understanding.

Why, my fellow snowflakes, is it okay for us to wish death on people who think, talk, or dress differently than we do? In my humble opinion it isn't, and this hatred accomplishes nothing; hoisting personal tragedies above our heads as some sort of I-told-you-so trophy only strokes our egos, nothing more and nothing less. I want people to stay at home and keep my grandma safe as much as any of us, but I don't think that hating and disparaging these protesters makes them feel any more inclined to behave properly. If we want these people to understand and hear us, we must first try to understand and here them. Very little potential for productive discourse exists within the space of "fuck you, I hate you, you deserve to die," and the fact that this space exists at all among my beloved party sickens me, quite frankly.

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