Facebook is a menace. COVID is a menace. Conservatism is a cesspool. Together, those three ingredients have created a toxic stew of malevolent death and devastation. We can talk about all those things in the abstract, look at the numbers and statistics, and catch the occasional whiff of seditionist right-wing rhetoric. But I hadn’t really fully understood just how horrifying that combination of right-wing extremism, Facebook, and a killer virus was until I became a regular at the Herman Cain Awards subreddit. This series will document some of those stories, so we are aware of what the other side is doing to our country.

Today’s cautionary tale is Jessika.


There is something perverse about using a picture of yourself with your children to brag about how you’re not protecting yourself or your family against a deadly pandemic. A parent’s prime directive is “protect your kids at all costs,” yet these anti-vaxxers have surrendered that protective instinct for ideology. And never overlook the way Facebook reinforces and spreads that malevolent hostility like, well, a virus.


So clever, using “freedom” with a Christian cross to hilariously co-opt the Constitutional separation of church and state. So there she is, with her medical “freedom” and three lovely kids who, by all indications, love their mom.


Greg is Jessika’s father, making sure everyone on his feed focuses on the real problem with America today. And no, it’s not January 6 insurrectionists who literally looked like that drawing above, complete with gallows and noose. 

He “miss[es] the America [he] grew up in,” which was better when people who looked like that were murdering Black folks. And no women were in charge of anything. 


This is just 11 days after Jessika posted her “medical freedom” photo meme on Facebook, which means she may have been infected when she posted it. Her lungs don’t look so good. She doesn’t look so good. It’s horrifying for everyone involved. 


The desperation is heartbreaking, the pleas to a god that, if real, had already sent all the necessary help. I suppose I’ll keep posting this because it’s relevant in almost every single one of these stories. 

You know the old joke, right? The one about the preacher caught in rising flood waters? A boat shows up, offers to take him to safety, he refuses, because he trusts god to save him. Same thing when a second boat arrives. Waters keep rising, he’s on the steeple of his church, a helicopter arrives, he waves it away, he trusts god to save him. He drowns.

Eventually, he meets god, and asks him why his prayers went unanswered. God says, “I sent you two boats and a helicopter, what else was I supposed to do?”

Jesus didn’t need to breathe air into her lungs—he had already sent several vaccines to take care of the virus. Their refusal to take the vaccine is the same as the preacher waving away lifesaving boats and helicopters. All the talk about “medical freedom” is clearly empty, as they rush to the hospital when things turn for the worse. But heartbreakingly often, it’s too late. Like this time. 


I can’t fathom leaving behind my kids. I would do anything to protect them. Anything! And here they reject a life-saving vaccine while bragging about it with pictures of her kids! Kids aged 14, 10, and 2 shouldn’t lose their mothers. I don’t care who she might be and who she votes for.

Take her father at face value, that his daughter Jessika was kind and generous, so much so that she would give you her shirt in freezing temperatures … then why would she not take a vaccine that would protect her loved ones, her community, her country? Isn’t that the most generous act possible? 

It’s because of this propaganda machine and a social media company that have conspired to short-circuit basic survival and protective instincts. Conservatism and Facebook left these kids motherless.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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