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Sad, Also Angry
The pandemic has already produced more than its share of human drama and will probably be responsible for a lot more before it’s done. These stories have been uniformly sad, of course. It’s hard to get anything but darkness from all that death and suffering.

There is still room, however, for anger. In fact, anger can easily become one's dominant emotional state. Spend a few moments listening to the gibberings of our president and you’ll feel what I mean. Then change the channel, please. You don’t need that in your life right now.

Other stories are worth paying attention to, however — even if they end up making you mad. One story in particular caught my eye recently. It features a regular guy from Texas named Tony Green. Tony had been a Trump supporter, and he was deeply suspicious about the pandemic. He thought it was a hoax perpetrated by the media, and liked to call it the Scamdemic. He finally got fed up with the limits that had been put on his life, and held a party in his home with five other family members.

That party proved to be a super-spreader event. Fourteen members of his family, including Tony himself, came down with COVID-19; two died. Let’s be clear that Tony loves all of those people. Apparently, he had an especially close relationship with his father-in-law, who was one of those who died. He is understandably shaken and remorseful about the tragedy he brought to his family. He knows now that he was thoughtless and foolish. He accepts that he is utterly responsible for what has happened.

I watched the interview he gave with Anderson Cooper. He was in genuine anguish over what he had done. I could feel his pain. I could empathize. But I could not sympathize. It doesn’t feel like I’m gloating or high on self-righteousness or denying this man’s humanity. I just can’t find the understanding within me to actually feel sorry for him.

He screwed up — badly. He made judgments about a very dangerous threat based on the shallowest grasp of the facts. A hoax? Really? How would such a hoax actually work? Through some giant conspiracy somehow kept secret from the rest of us? No, that is not how the world works. And for what purpose would this hoax be perpetrated? To diss Donald Trump? It’s almost too stupid to even say, much less actually believe and act on. If he had even tried for one moment to think independently about this very real danger, he would have realized that. But he didn’t because he left such thinking to others who couldn’t care less about his welfare or his loved ones’ Yes, it is his fault!

Despite his remorse, however, I’m not feeling sympathy. Anger is what I feel, anger at this bonehead and all the millions like him who smugly dismiss reality and callously ignore their duty to the rest of us. I have no patience for these fellow citizens of mine, even if they have confessed their sins and are doing penance for them. I am not impressed by their suffering.

I honestly hope that I will have room in me for that sympathy someday. But right now, it's just not there. It’s people like Tony Green — even now, in the depths of his sorrow — that are the problem. They were fine with all the lying, fine with their white supremacist fellow travelers, fine with the ugliness and dereliction and the consorting with our enemies. Their abuses have undermined democracy and given freedom a bad name.

Sorry, not sorry. Just angry.

Please Note: Tim Eagan will read your comments but he is currently not publishing them.

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Trump supporters are people who know what they believe.
~ JC, Bonny Doon