Seems every week, we watch some prominent or vocal conservative anti-vaxxer die of COVID. Today, it was a couple in Alabama who called themselves “Alabama Pickers.” They gave people advice on buying and selling used items on their Youtube channel. The husband, Dusty, died yesterday and his wife, Tristan, died August 25. Their last video showed them deriding the vaccine and claiming the pandemic would be “behind us in a couple of years.” For them, it’s over now.
On Monday, Bob Enyart, an evangelical preacher who mocked people who died of AIDS by reading their names to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” succumbed to COVID after dismissing mask mandates and the vaccine. His wife is reportedly very sick. Karma is a bitch.
A Nashville radio host, Phil Valentine, died a few weeks ago after a month long battle. He used to play a parody of the Beatles song “Taxman” called “Vaxman.” His family says he died wishing he had been more “pro-vaccine.” I just wish he had been smarter.
And the list goes on. At least three other conservative talk radio hosts have died. One claimed the government was using the virus and the vaccine to consolidate control of the population. That’s funny because I believe the right-wing is using talk radio to dupe people into doing stupid things like not take the vaccine.
The people over at Fox News, though, are the real cynics. At least the talk show hosts who died walked the walk and paid the price. The Fox News hosts are all vaccinated while telling their audience about the dangers of vaccines and downplaying the threat of the virus. They’ve pushed conspiracy theories about Democrats using the pandemic for control. They’ve been wrong about the pandemic since the beginning and yet people still watch them. I don’t believe they care about the well-being of their audience as long they keep getting the ratings. Ironically, prolonging the pandemic is in their best interest. It keeps dumb people watching and believing their bullshit. If the mask mandates go away and the vaccines become less controversial, they will have to find another divisive issue that has as much emotional juice as COVID.
And the silence coming from the Republican Party and its leaders as the body counts increase is pretty stunning. It’s the same silence that enabled Donald Trump and his band of grifters. After a brief moment of outrage over January 6, they are now silent or supportive of the attempted coup. The Madison Cawthorns and Matt Gaetz and Marjory Taylor Greens have no push back from within their own ranks.
We’ve reached the point where one major political party and its expansive network of allied media outlets is complicit in extending a pandemic that is killing its own supporters. They defended a president who asked a foreign country to interfere with our elections. And now, they’re allowing the Big Lie of voter fraud to continue and calling those who attacked the Capitol “political prisoners.” And their main justification is that Democrats are worse. I’m not optimistic that this ends well.