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It is disturbing that the people who enthusiastically supported an obvious and overtly fascist president who brought democracy to its knees now believe that preventing untold suffering and tens of thousands of deaths by wearing a mask and getting vaccinated will be the end of democracy.

This type of callous hypocrisy, lack of critical thinking and dearth of compassion has typified the American right wing for many years.

Freedom within a republic comes with responsibilities to the law, society and, most importantly, freedom from the will of religious zealots. It is deeply ironic that at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, George Washington required a smallpox vaccine (variolation) for soldiers of the Continental Army, thus saving the lives of thousands of soldiers who were then able to go on and win the war for the freedom we now enjoy.

People on the American right will not even entertain the possibility that they are wrong about masks and the vaccine and, therefore, can’t be inconvenienced or take the slightest risk to do anything that could save lives and suffering. In fact, despite all evidence, they actually fight against measures to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

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The people who support the American right are easy marks for those who crave the power gained by controlling them.

At their worst, they are people who fly large American, Confederate and Trump flags on their trucks, thinking they are glorious freedom fighters when, in reality, they are just woefully and willfully ignorant bullies.

At their best, and I believe this to be the vast majority of West Virginians, people of the American right are genuinely good people who have been terribly and tragically misled.

Tom Beal


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