It was brief, but it was there; a chill in the bones, that feeling of dread, a sense that something evil was coming and nothing could stop it.
And oh, did it come.
Jane Mayer, writer for The New Yorker, was one of the first with the message: Sources close to the family say David Koch has died.
And with that news, a tsunami of hate swept across the land with the speed of light. Before the sun had risen over Los Angeles there were already over a thousand comments on The Washington Post website. A sampling:
"Satan is adding a new wing in Hell for them Koch Hall, or something like that."
"I feel it is inappropriate to speak ill of the dead, so I’ll dance silently."
"Good riddance. My delight in his death cannot be overstated. Now, Charles, it’s your turn.
"It’s a start."
"Good riddance, wonder if his money will now help him in his grave. If there is a hell, he belongs there with the devil."
"I am at a loss for words. But, if only you could see the smile on my face, that picture would be worth a thousand."
"I don’t wish for people to die. But I won’t lament Koch’s passing just like I didn’t lament (Antonin) Scalia’s passing. And when it comes to Koch’s two brothers, (Rupert) Murdoch and (Mitch) McConnell, I won’t lament their passing either."
And on and on they came.
I posted a comment highlighting some of the good David and his brother Charles have done, but alas, all that did was redirect the anger back:
“Who cares about Wichita. For the rest of the country the Koch brothers are a destructive and dangerous force, denying climate change, promoting fossil fuel, and backing right-wing lunatics — all of which has led to the most disgusting president we or any nation has ever had."
"And a few well-placed tornadoes will take care of their major contributions to Wichita that you hold so dear — which shows how ephemeral those contributions really are.”
As disappointing as it was to read such comments, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for those commenting.
For years, the American public has been fed the narrative of the "evil" Koch Brothers — the billions they've amassed in their climate-destroying fossil fuel businesses, the "dark" money behind everything wrong with politics today.
Over and over and over, story after story, the Brothers Koch have been the twin pillars of evil that the political left has relied upon to stir up its base for decades. When it comes to the two of them, there can be no good, the narrative they are evil must be protected.
Hate David Koch to your bitter heart’s content, but as you do, read this list of organizations that had him on their boards:
Aspen Institute, Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, Americans for Prosperity Foundation, WGBH, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Ballet Theatre, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Deerfield Academy, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and American Museum of Natural History.
If he was good enough for them, he’s certainly good enough for me.
Rest in peace David Koch. You most certainly earned it.
Geoff Caldwell lives in Joplin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.