Facebook is a menace. COVID-19 is a menace. Conservatism is a cesspool. Together, those three ingredients have created a toxic stew of malevolent death and devastation. We can talk about all those things in the abstract, look at the numbers and statistics, and catch the occasional whiff of seditionist right-wing rhetoric. But I hadn’t really fully understood just how horrifying that combination of right-wing extremism, Facebook, and a killer virus was until I became a regular at the Herman Cain Awards subreddit. This series will document some of those stories, so we are aware of what the other side is doing to our country.
I’m going to be honest. For me, COVID was a statistical nightmare, not a personal one. That is, my circle of family and friends have always taken this disease seriously. I haven’t lost anyone close to me. I’ve been horrified by the grim statistics, numbers and charts on a page, thousands of people dying. But I’ve never had a personal experience with what that looks like on the ground, and I hope I never do. Today’s cautionary tale provides just that—a look at the pandemic’s personal toll—and it’s even more nightmarish than I ever imagined. Fair warning, this one isn’t easy to read.