That sense of community requires a lot of humility, precisely the thing I am afraid that the onslaught of Covid denial stories is robbing me of by undermining my empathy for others. Martha helped me with perspective. This is not a problem of individual moral certainty or persuasion. This is a social problem with big structural issues. That does not absolve me of my responsibility for seeing the humanity in people I vehemently disagree with, but it does make me feel less guilty about being unable to save them.
I still do not understand how we can be in community with people who, by withdrawing from their social responsibility, are actively harming others. But, I do not think I have to understand it. I don’t think that I even have to be in community with Covid deniers. I have to somehow be in community with the people who are behaving in socially responsible ways without demonizing those who are not. Demonizing them turns my community into a reactionary force, which is precisely how the vaccines and masks became weaponized to begin with. It is a classic case of not becoming what you despise by losing focus on what you value.