Killing Themselves To “Own the Libs”

Each morning, I get one of those “news of the day” emails sent out by the The New York Times. The version I get always begins with an introductory discussion of one of the main stories, and last Monday, that introduction was mind-blowing–at least to me.

The data shows that the racial gaps in vaccination that were worrisome have narrowed, although they haven’t entirely disappeared. But it also shows that the partisan gap remains enormous.

A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 86 percent of Democratic voters had received at least one shot, compared with 60 percent of Republican voters…The political divide over vaccinations is so large that almost every reliably blue state now has a higher vaccination rate than almost every reliably red state.

One consequence of differences in vaccination rates, rather obviously, is a difference in death rates.

Since Delta began circulating widely in the U.S., Covid has exacted a horrific death toll on red America: In counties where Donald Trump received at least 70 percent of the vote, the virus has killed about 47 out of every 100,000 people since the end of June, according to Charles Gaba, a health care analyst. In counties where Trump won less than 32 percent of the vote, the number is about 10 out of 100,000.

The story was accompanied by multiple charts demonstrating the salience of political identity to death rates and resistance to vaccination, and the obvious question is: why? Why has a decision that should be made on the basis of medical science and individual prudence become so politicized that Republicans prefer to risk illness and death rather than take elementary precautions to protect themselves and their families–let alone their neighbors?

As the article noted, other countries aren’t experiencing a political vaccination divide.

What distinguishes the U.S. is a conservative party — the Republican Party — that has grown hostile to science and empirical evidence in recent decades. A conservative media complex, including Fox News, Sinclair Broadcast Group and various online outlets, echoes and amplifies this hostility. Trump took the conspiratorial thinking to a new level, but he did not create it.

“With very little resistance from party leaders,” my colleague Lisa Lerer wrote this summer, many Republicans “have elevated falsehoods and doubts about vaccinations from the fringes of American life to the center of our political conversation.”

Evidently–as one pundit noted– a number of Trump supporters believe they are “owning the left” by refusing to take a lifesaving vaccine. (Presumably, dying is the ultimate  evidence of that “ownership.”) Even some Republican strategists are beginning to worry; as one was quoted, “In a country where elections are decided on razor-thin margins, does it not benefit one side if their opponents simply drop dead?”

I frequently accuse today’s GOP of fostering–and exemplifying–insanity. Readers may consider my use of that term overblown, and I have occasionally wondered whether it might be hyperbolic. But nothing else seems to fit.  What would you call someone who was not suicidal–but who jumped out of an airplane without a parachute, confident that he could land safely?

Rejecting empirical evidence, risking death, and endangering loved ones and acquaintances in order to “get” political opponents is to be mentally disordered. There’s no way around that conclusion.

Among the dictionary definitions of insanity is “extreme folly or unreasonableness.” Synonyms include “derangement,” “lunacy” and “madness.” One example given was  “someone who acts or speaks strangely because their brain isn’t working correctly. An example of insane is a person who goes shopping without any pants on.” 

How about people who refuse to believe that a deadly disease–a pandemic–threatens not only their own lives but the health of the community in which they live, and who proceed to act in ways that endanger not just themselves, but others? And who base that refusal on the “fact” that science is a liberal plot?

There’s a point at which “stop the world, I want to get off” becomes more than an expression of annoyance or anger. it’s a statement of intent.


  1. If the dumb ass community was just killing themselves, that would be one thing. BUT they are putting a huge load on our medical system and costing the rest of us HUNDREDS of Millions of dollars in Medical and societal costs. And they are keeping ill people from getting the hospital care they would otherwise benefit from. This is just nuts.

  2. What about all the healthcare providers who are quitting because their employer just told them to get the vaccine, or you’re fired. They want sympathy on social media for having to make the choice of quitting – sorry, not sorry.

    “Please pray for Uncle Tommy. He’s on a ventilator in the hospital.”

    Sorry, not sorry.

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. I’ve posted the stats from the Health Depts and Hospitals pleading with people to get vaccinated. As they always say, “You can’t force me to get the vaccination!”

    I also can’t force you to jump out of a perfectly good airplane without a parachute, but I can encourage or recommend you wear one.

    In the future, their great-grandkids walking the cemetery will want to know why all the tombstones have “Uncle/Aunt ______ Owned the Libs!” written on them.

  3. “The story was accompanied by multiple charts demonstrating the salience of political identity to death rates and resistance to vaccination, and the obvious question is: why?”

    Can these charts be defined by the newly drawn gerrymandered lines to aid red states, such as Indiana, enact the hundreds of voter suppression laws to aid Republicans maintain control of the red states and give them the majority in 2022 they need to put Trump back in the White House?

    The early difficulty finding one of the few vaccination sites might explain the initial racial gap but are those unvaccinated suffering and dying in overburdened hospitals actually expendable to the enormous partisan gap? While telling the public their version of the “dangers” of vaccination and that the Pandemic is a political issue rather than a health issue, how do they explain all of the healthy white Republican elected officials relaying those lies as the public, including Republicans, continues becoming infected? As patmcc so aptly states, the dumb ass community is killing themselves along with others.

  4. ….and who was first in line to get the vaccination rather quietly at the very start? Taking advantage of…er…science. Oh, the irony. Yep, own the Libs

  5. Yesterday, Mitch D. asked some questions about single mutations causing the “loss” of tails in the apes and their relatives, humans. Today’s blog also addresses Darwinian principles, but with a political twist. Basically, gene pools that adapt to changing environments usually survive whereas those that don’t change eventually become extinct. Passing on faulty genes that prevent or limit adaptive necessities causes that extinction. Usually, however, a single mutation doesn’t cause the dramatic presentation of “lost” or “gained” traits.

    In the case of COVID, the political backwardness is astonishing in that it actually supports the dynamics mentioned above, but on a very short timeline. From a strictly biological viewpoint, the vaccine deniers and anti-vaxxers are practicing the lemmings-over-the-cliff scenario. That 25% gap between Democrat and Republican vaccination rates tracks with the 25% of the lunatics who want a violent overthrow of our form of government.

    In a stark departure from Darwinian imperatives, most of that 25% have already been allowed to reproduce, thus ensuring that their political gene pool will be defective into at least another generation.

    I shall now remove my tongue from my cheek.

  6. I used to worry about those who refused to get vaccinated. Now I only worry about the children they might kill. If they want to die to feel like they “own” me or any other liberal, that’s fine by me. Just stay away from those who CAN’T get the vaccine and please be quick about it.

  7. First thing I will say labeling the New GOP and certain pieces of the McMega-Media as “Conservative” would be incorrect IMHO. They are Right Wing Reactionaries. Medical Science and Hygiene are rejected as a big piece of Social-Cultural War. This Social-Cultural War leads into Politics with all the Big Lies that accompany it. So wrapped up with all the lies of voter fraud and stolen elections is the effort now by the New GOP to nullify elections that do not go in their favor.

    One thing seems clear the New GOP has incorporated anger and hatred as part of their Standard Operating Procedure. They are angry people carrying a tremendous rage.

    As I read the article above of owning the Libs, it reminded me of a saying: “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”

    These yahoos and yoyo’s who are drinking the poison then expect the medical establishment they did not believe to save them.

  8. Rational people will continue to struggle to understand irrational behavior. There is no rational basis to reject a vaccine that will keep you out of the hospital or in the grave. One of my favorite “Cheers” episodes has a desperate Cliff wearing a device that will give him an electrical shock, administered by his therapist, each time he says something annoying which, of course, is constantly. Finally, a frustrated Cliff, tired of the shocks, grabs the trigger device from the therapist, points it at him, and in a rage, says, “I’ll show you, you quack” and commences to shock the hell out of—himself. Today’s Republican Party.

  9. I’m FED UP and DAMN ANGRY right now — not at the unvaccinated Trumpees, but at the Democrats in Washington that are refusing to work together, leaving the public with the impression that the Republicans are right — Democrats can’t govern.

    The stubbornness of “progressives” in the House and the two “moderate/conservative” Democrats in the Senate are the problem. If they do not swallow their pride instead of wallowing in their perceived power, we won’t have to worry about who got their way. It will be the Republicans.

    The GOP will take power in both houses in 2022, and all those good things the Democrats want to do will once again be mere dreams of smoke and fog, with no substance. And AOC and Joe Mancin can sit back and brag how they stopped anything from happening.

    Until the Democrats get something done, all those contribution letters I get are going unopened into the shredder.

  10. Have some “fun” taking this forward…anything that science says is suspicious and can be ignored. Like climate change?

  11. Rev Jim Jones gave us the first example of this behavior. Trump gave us a second.

    Science knowledge can’t be beaten, it always prevails.

  12. Apparently today is the last day that medical insurance companies are going to cover all hospital expenses for Covid patients. Reality is about to hit the “going to own the libs” crowd.

  13. Theresa, that doesn’t sound right. I don’t think insurance companies can just unilaterally decide to stop covering hospital costs for Covid patients. The agreement to provide insurance is a contract. If the conditions are met for coverage, the insurance companies have to pay. Besides, there are scores of insurance companies out there and the notion they would all get together and unanimously decide to stop paying these bills on a certain day doesn’t sound correct.

    Not that I have sympathy for the unvaccinated. I’m on a group insurance policy with my employer. If the unvaccinated in my group get stuck with high medical bills our insurer has to pay, we all end up paying the bills later. Insurance coverages need to adjust to charge unvaccinated people higher premiums.

  14. Paul K. Ogden; below I have copied and pasted part of a Washington Post news article by Christopher Rowland, September 18, 2021 titled “The days of full covid coverage are over. Insurers are restoring deductibles and co-pays, leaving patients with big bills:

    “In 2020, as the pandemic took hold, U.S. health insurance companies declared they would cover 100 percent of the costs for covid treatment, waiving co-pays and expensive deductibles for hospital stays that frequently range into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

    You might want to reread the small print on your health care insurance.

    But this year, most insurers have reinstated co-pays and deductibles for covid patients, in many cases even before vaccines became widely available. The companies imposed the costs as industry profits remained strong or grew in 2020, with insurers paying out less to cover elective procedures that hospitals suspended during the crisis.”

  15. This is similar to an article by Leonard Pitts I just read about the people who are quitting their jobs because of vaccine mandates from employers. As a nurse working at a large urban hospital I can tell you that most of us are pretty damn tired of dealing with these anti-vax anti-mask COVID-iots, and if it was up to me we’d just send these folks home with a bottle of ivermectin, hydroxychloroquine, and a little bleach and tell them to hope for the best. Sadly these idiots are not just endangering themselves but they are a public health danger to everyone else. This continuing “pandemic of the unvaccinated” is maddening and completely avoidable.
    [Goodbye, and good riddance
    Sep. 26, 2021
    By Leonard Pitts Jr.
    “If you want to leave, take good care, hope you make a lot of nice friends out there.”]

  16. JoAnn, thanks for the back up info. People need to keep in mind that insurance companies can re-write those contracts when it is time to renew. Like I wrote earlier…. Reality is about to hit.

  17. This reminds me of the recent article by John Nolte (a Breitbart writer) where he told his flock that Democrats were trying to get them killed via reverse psychology. You see, Democrats _knew_ that Republicans wouldn’t take the vaccine if Democrats urged them to do it, so that’s just what Democrats did. Dastardly devious! (Apparently, Republicans are all 6 years old.)

    This might actually be a case where Nolte is trying to reverse-reverse psychology his audience into getting the vaccine. If so, I wish him luck. But that doesn’t stop it from being ridiculously stupid.

  18. Someone tell ’em that it doesn’t really make much difference whether they own the Libs or not if they are six feet under. What’s the point? Are they that far gone?

    Perhaps we should have had some inkling of what some Republicans might do in times of political stress. I can remember the chant of “Better dead than red,” an old anti-commie chant I suppose we could translate from White Christian Nationalism as “Better dead than black” as they bear witness to the new multi-racial and multi-cultural society taking shape, and all because of those evil and insufferable Libs! Gotta have someone to blame or field with our grievances, yuh know. . .

    The problem is that they cannot accommodate change from their real or imagined Norman Rockwell existence in which the cute little white girl with her Easter Basket comes skipping daintly down the sidewalk on the way home from church in Everytown, U.S.A., and the prospect of being ruled by animals like the Libs is more than their collective psyches can bear (though they voted for such a ruler), hence (illogically) the resort to worship of a Trump, their rejection of science etc., or of anyone or anything else championed by those neantherals.

    So where are we? I’m humane enough to plead with such people irrespective of their politics and/or religion to get their shots and save their lives though in individual instances I grow weary of hearing their manufactured responses from Fox and Republican politicians who though themselves inoculated advise others to reject such life saving elixirs, and as to the religious factor, I am aware of just how much TV preachers care for their flocks and how in history popes have led armies. (Thou shalt not kill?)

    Persevere. This, too, shall (or may) pass. Take your choice.

  19. Magats are on a one way road to hell. Who am I to stand in their way. I’ll even open the door for them.

    Before we save each other we need to save our country.

  20. The insanity of people who refuse to take the vaccine reminds me of how the once powerful Roman Catholic church wanted to excommunicate Galileo because his scientific research proved that the earth rotates around the sun. Da Vinci wrote his findings backwards to protect himself from religious zealots.

    If there is any truth to evolution then those who refuse to adapt to change, will, over time, become extinct. It may be that the children of some of these insane people will choose a different political stance. Perhaps they will change to offset climate change and to help prevent future pandemics. As a therapist, I have often been surprised by clients who chose to break dysfuntional family patterns.

    There’s nothing more seductive than the belief that one has stepped onto the journey of a heroic quest, especially for freedom or justice or to save the world. I suppose the anti-vaxxers think they are being heroic, and that those who die are holy martyrs. Hmm. I don’t think so. There’s a joke about a man who was praying to be saved from a flood who later died. He was ticked off at God. God replied “Well I sent you 2 boats and a helicopter, but you refused to accept the help!” The anti-vaxxers really don’t understand that God often works through doctors and medical scientists, not to mention scientists in general.

    So to all those anti-vaxxers who think they are on a holy quest to undermine Biden, I would say what one of Dolly Parton’s characters said. “Get off that cross! Somebody needs the wood!”

  21. A single mutation?
    Thank you Vernon @8:13 Thursday
    My needed guffaw laugh at 6:30 am Friday

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