On Reddit, one of the fastest growing areas is the "HermanCainAward." It is a message board where members post the 'story' of a COVID death with the preamble of social media posts denying the virus, them catching it (unvaxinated), and then ultimately dying (the notice of their death)--which earns them the award.
The Director for the Center for Medical Ethics at Columbia said that while possibly predictable (that people would take pleasure at the misfortune of others) it goes against all medical ethics. Slate published an article noting it is a place where deaths "are celebrated." Certainly the descriptions of suffering and death that appear on the site--as well as the posts by burned out medical professionals who are numb, sad, and demoralized by the steady stream of preventable, horrible deaths choking their hospitals show that the specifics of death-by-COVID (at the end of their consciousness, many can't eat because they are too busy trying to breathe to even take a sip of a protein shake) are horrible.
So it's a cruel lefty celebration of the wave of schadenfreude at the deaths of righties. It's owning the cons, right?
Uh . . . no? Maybe? Let's think about this.
Here is a tiny smattering of the social media posts featured by some HermanCainAward "winners"--the posts they published before catching and dying from the virus--often in fashions that would be preventable even in the absence of the vaccine (such as having large gatherings).
See if you can notice a trend in the tone of these posts.
Whew . . . yeah. So--these posts do not show a lot of empathy for the 600k people--disproportionally black and brown, who have already died. They certainly don't show any empathy or sympathy for those working to salvage the country and prevent more deaths. They are, as a whole--and this isn't a cherry picked selection, The Omnivore just went to the Reddit and picked a couple of the top posts today and downloaded the pictures (the really racists ones were from an especially bad person who just happened to be at the top--but they are not in any way an extreme outlier).
What these show--what they illustrate in excruciating detail--is that the flip-side of the sneering libs (not actually, but let's pretend the Reddit posters are all sneering libs for a second) are visibly palpable sneering conservatives. You can say they aren't "wishing death" on their fellow Americans (you can say that--the lack of wishing-death-posts exists both in these pictures and on the sub-reddit: wishing death is actually not allowed and most of the posts The Omnivore has seen express sadness and some level of despair) --but you cannot claim that these posts show any sense of unity or understanding of what "the rest of us" see plainly: that we have a country-wide medical emergency that is killing people and overwhelming our hospitals and giving our front-line medical people PTSD.
If you want to see what "the rest of us" see, read this thread--a COVID horror story where nobody gets COVID:
TL;DR: the poster's dad falls and hurts his leg and has to go to the hospital. He can't get care because it's full of COVID and he develops a secondary condition and nearly dies due to neglect because everyone in the hospital is overwhelmed with COVID patients (unvaxed) who are dying in droves.
Make no mistake: a big part of not-getting-vaccinated is "owning the libs"--it's taking a stand, like hosting a boat parade or flying a Trump Flag, or 'rolling coal' (if you don't know, don't ask) to strike a blow in the culture wars. The movement that has turned into the anti-COVID-vaccine is also the one that spawned "Fuck Your Feelings (Trump 2020)" and Ben Shapiro's "Liberal Tears" coffee holders merch.
The inherent cruelty has been around for . . . erm . . . quite a while: the HermanCainAward really has nothing on the people who are posting the memes they gobble up or the misinformation they gleefully spread. The hatred directed at Fauci--much like the hate directed at Lt. Col. Vindman--is the incoherent rage at anyone who dares question or in any way disagree with their orthodoxy. Even the 'rational' members of the movement are ensconced in a cocoon of theory that "no one can say what 'misinformation' actually is" and as such, attempts by social media to take steps to curb it are overreach by a tyrannical lefty culture.
So The Omnivore's proposition is this: If the HermanCainAward is unconscionably cruel then before anyone can levy a complaint at it, they had best address what the recipients--and more importantly, the movement they represent, their enablers (Trump voters, reluctant Trump voters, anti-anti-Trump pundits, QAnon people, and so on) in terms of a societal standard for empathy or sympathy and forgiveness.
If you take a few steps down that road (a quick stroll and scroll through the subreddit) you will discover that posting their own words--their own broadcast messages---which appear over and over in different 'winners' timelines (these are, after all, viral memes) with a coda showing the consequences of their positions and actions--and their willingness--no, their gleefulness--to push their experience on others--to reinforce the same behavior that takes parents from children, destroys families, and damages our hospitals and society is, itself, a kind of gleeful cruelty that the HermanCainAward actually lacks.
Maybe the sad, horrified posters are "really" cheering and celebrating each death--but they're not allowed to say that on the sub-reddit. If Facebook were to implement a rule saying you weren't allowed to cheer setbacks in COVID vaccination or post racist memes, these people would decry it as an unacceptable limit on their freedom of speech.
They would stand tall for their inalienable right to be mocking and cruel.