Growing up on the west coast of Washington state, we knew one thing about political geography: going east meant going crazy. Ellensburg, about the middle of the state, was OK but a bit off; Spokane is where the ranchers were going rabid; and Idaho…well, Idaho was falling off the edge of the world, the land of neo-Nazis and fundie churches and potatoes, and that was about it. So I’m not surprised to read that a great many loons hold high office in that state.
Several Idaho lawmakers appeared in an Idaho Freedom Foundation video published Tuesday in which they question the existence of the coronavirus pandemic and state that they will ignore any state or local emergency orders that they claim violate their rights.
The video features cameos from Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, state representatives Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton; Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley; Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls; Christy Zito, R-Hammett; Chad Christensen, R-Ammon; Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird; Tony Wisniewski, R-Post Falls and Heather Scott, R-Blanchard; as well as Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, and Karey Hanks, R-St. Anthony, both of whom are unopposed for election to the House in November. The lawmakers’ script is a “declaration to Idaho residents and officials” that the Idaho Freedom Foundation published on its website in early October. [Note all those “R”s. Maybe I should change my name to “Myes” to avoid the taint — although some people already spell it that way]
I think the existence of the coronavirus pandemic is settled — the growing number of graves and the fact that hospitals in some states are currently overwhelmed with patients is a testimony to that. This is not a matter of constitutional law.
“The fact that a pandemic may or may not be occurring changes nothing about the meaning or intent of the state constitution in the preservation of our inalienable rights,” Hanks reads in the video.
The declaration goes on to “demand an end to the emergency orders issued by state and local government officials and the restoration of our constitutionally protected rights.”
Isn’t that special? What “inalienable rights”? The right to spread disease to anyone and everyone you want? I have some problems with people who want to point to a piece of paper and declare that it has priority over reality, or that the health and happiness of citizens in this country are somehow less important than whether you have to practice good hygiene, or whether you get to strut around with a gun, or whether you get to pasture your sheep and cows on public lands.
But then, that’s Idaho, the land of abstract privileges that must be defended at the cost of everyone else’s life.
I was talking to some students yesterday who were pessimistic about us returning to normal next year. I think they’re probably right, and yahoos like these Idahoans tell me that the plague years are just beginning.