Friday, July 16, 2021


Amanda Marcotte thinks it's no surprise that Republicans appear to be encouraging the spread of COVID-19, which is now generally worse in their own states. She reminds us that Republicans have long opposed public health measures involving sex.
For decades, Republicans have done everything they can to discourage preventive sexual health care, including cutting off access to birth control and condoms and lying about the usefulness of various methods. The claim was that this was all justified to promote "abstinence," but the result, time and again, was just more disease and unwanted child-bearing.

Megan Carpentier at Dame Magazine took a deep dive on Wednesday on the Republican war on a vaccine for HPV, a sexually transmitted virus that causes many kinds of cancer, most notably cervical cancer....

It's the same story with all other sexually transmitted infections, especially HIV, which conservatives have long exploited to stigmatize LGBTQ people. And the same story with unwanted pregnancy and childbirth, which is useful to conservatives who want to demagogue about how girls today are a bunch of sluts and feminism is the reason.
Marcotte is right about conservatives' cold-bloodedness when human suffering can advance their cause. But when what they consider immoral behavior leads to unwanted pregnancies or possibly lethal STDs, they portray the suffers as morally deficient people who brought their problems on themselves. With COVID, it's different. They're not blaming the victims. They're not saying that people who test positive brought it on themselves through sinful conduct. (What could they say? That the infected should have worn masks? They can't say that. They hate masks.)

Instead, they simply disappear the infected. Last year, when the COVID death toll in the U.S. was more than 150,000, they pushed a distorted reading of CDC data to claim that the real death toll form the disease was less than 10,000. Recently, Tucker Carlson expressed opposition to a Biden administration vaccination campaign by arguing that COVID deaths effectively don't count, because in many places the average age of coronavirus dead exceeds local life expectancy.

They can get away with this because although the death toll from COVID is very high, it's still only 0.2% of the population in America. As long as most of the target audience for this propaganda is mostly either uninfected or recovered -- and especially because COVID clusters have often centered on urban areas, particularly in the early days of the pandemic -- they can dismiss COVID as the "Wu Flu" and treat reports of the suffering as disinformation. (Remember when they were passing around highly misleading videos supposedly showing empty hospitals in hot zones?)

They're fine with suffering if the suffering helps the Cause. But in this case, they've made the sufferers all but invisible.

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