Who is responsible for political division over COVID-19?
Fear, distrust and hatred are also pandemics, and our politicians are guilty of infecting as many people as possible.
These anti-maskers need to listen to the experts and stop pushing political division. They are embracing their "freedumb" over saving lives. They are causing people to get sick and die. Right?
Wrong. Not only is it not nearly that simple, that statement itself is politically divisive. From the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, people who oppose (or question) mask mandates, "stay at home" orders and closing businesses were accused of killing people or at least not caring if others die.
Yes, some people skeptical of pandemic mitigation policy have politicized the pandemic. But when your first reaction to someone questioning public policy is to accuse them of "killing grandma," you are the one being divisive. The fact of the matter is that there are tradeoffs to public policy, and quarantine orders contributed to depression (which harms physical health and shortens lifespans) and other deaths of despair.
But many of the people who support strict pandemic mitigation policy are not at all interested in actually discussing the benefits and drawbacks of pandemic mitigation policy. They want to sneer at and demonize those who disagree with them. But if your first response to someone who disagrees with you about public policy is to accuse him of all sorts of nefarious things, why should that person respect you or take you seriously? Do you really want to convince skeptics, or do you just want to demonize them?
Fear has always been a powerful motivating force in politics, and that has been proven innumerable times over the last two years. It is sobering to realize that over 800,000 Americans (and many more worldwide) have perished from COVID-19 since it arrived on our shores in late 2019 or early 2020. But fear can also be abused to make us distrust or even hate our fellow citizens. The politicians who are exploiting this fear are moral reprobates and are deeply unqualified to hold office.