Progressives are showing their true colours as the movement to reject mask and vaccine mandates continues to grow around North America, Europe and Australia. A newly popular community on Reddit, titled the “Herman Cain Award”, celebrates the deaths of people who have died of COVID-19.
The most upvoted post on the subreddit mocks the death of Herman Cain, the Black conservative politician who initially expressed scepticism of the virus’ existence early on in the pandemic last April. He would later advocate for social distancing and wearing masks as more information about the virus became known.
Cain died shortly thereafter in June, a month after he was diagnosed with COVID-19. While his passing did not impact anyone’s outlook of the disease, it inspired cruel and malicious progressives to not only celebrate his death, but to turn it into an award they could bestow onto others.
The r/HermanCainAward community hosts over 340,000 active members, with tens of thousands of online users at any given moment, and is one of the fastest-growing communities on the platform.
Not only does it mock those who died from the virus, but it also mocks anyone who questions the wisdom of mask mandates and mandatory vaccines. Users are also encouraged to share photos showing proof of vaccination as a means of in-group virtue signalling.
According to an NPR and PBS poll, some 12 per cent of Americans say they do not want to be vaccinated.
One of the moderators of the community defended its establishment, claiming to Insider that the subreddit is for “documenting a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
"If you don't want to see yourself or your family in the Herman Cain Awards, it's easy," the moderator, who goes by the pseudonym Rocky Moose, said. "Go get vaccinated."
Coverage of the Herman Cain Awards subreddit has been largely condemnatory across the board. Progressive-leaning website, Slate, called the community “simple and ugly.”
“It is cruel, a site for heartless and unrepentant schadenfreude. This is a place where deaths are celebrated, and it is not the only one,” wrote Lili Loofbourow.
“Nothing about the r/HermanCainAward, a dark record of a dark, dark time, is decent or kind or particularly fair,” Loofbourow wrote. “Even using Cain as the model is uncharitable; he was actually among the conservatives who didn’t deny that COVID was real. He advocated following CDC guidelines including social distancing and even masks on his radio show, despite not always adhering to those recommendations himself. “
An Insider piece quotes an ethicist who describes it as “cruel,” but “not surprising.”
Director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at Columbia, Lydia Dugdale, said that she was not surprised that people would celebrate the misfortune of others, adding that the practice goes against medical ethics.
"We just can't stop watching people suffering the consequences of their actions, publicly, especially when these deaths are so preventable," Dugdale said. "Delighting in the suffering of others lies contrary to everything medical ethics espouses and certainly it's cruel that regular people would do this."
A Reddit spokesperson, speaking to Insider on Monday, said that the platform is reviewing “COVID related communities on our platforms for violations of our policies,” including the Herman Cain Award subreddit.