Do these politicians and bureaucrats even care? Washington State’s rebellion grows
By Glen Morgan
Sunday’s protest against Governor Inslee’s lockdown policies and lack of plan for reopening Washington State appears to be just the beginning.
A common theme can be found throughout Washington State as regular people start to question the decisions and policies of the state and local governments and how they have responded to the Wuhan/Corona Virus crisis. While there are many arguments and debates around the virus impact itself, the focus appears to be shifting to local state government and their failures. As a snapshot in time, these are strange days in every way.
The virus is real, but so are the harmful effects of Inslee’s response
The above image has been floating around in more conservative/libertarian circles to represent the more nuanced approach and concerns that many average people believe. They know the virus is real, they believe the fear mongering has been exaggerated, and they are wondering if a less destructive approach to governing during a crisis can be found.
One weird outcome of the political polarization that has infected society worse than the Wuhan Corona Virus is how these policy questions become rabidly partisan. Literally, people who hate Trump, reflexively in a Tourette’s Syndrome style response just spout the opposite. Conversely, they will defend the EXACT same policy when pushed by Democrat Governor Inslee. It seems far more reasonable and rational to believe it is possible to have more nuanced public policy debates on this subject.
Those not affiliated with the political elite or billionaires who support them in Washington State, have concerns and critiques which are bizarrely mocked and rabidly attacked by political leaders in state government as well as those who support them. These concerns can be summarized as follows:
- The University of Washington fatality models have been consistently wrong every time. Why are we using failed models to impoverish millions of Washingtonians? Perhaps, less radical and more voluntary steps can be taken to protect the most vulnerable without destroying everything and everyone else? If our state has dismantled the emergency tent facilities, shipped ventilators to other states, and generally had plenty of hospital beds open for patients (and they have), why are we continuing down this path without some flexibility? This doesn’t mean everyone wants widespread naked orgies and street parties with the homeless druggies in Seattle (free needles and heroin for all!) – it just means allowing people and businesses to take responsibility for themselves and observe basic precautions. Nobody in Inslee’s circle appear to be even considering this.
- Why has Governor Inslee produced word salad announcements with no defined plan (as he did on April 21st) rather than complain about “insubordination” from the very people who he (if he read the State Constitution) actually works for? Why does Inslee (and AG Bob Ferguson) seem more focused on picking political fights and verbal sparring matches with Trump than they are on helping improve the lives of those who live here? The vague and unfocused future statements do not inspire confidence, while the aggressive and harsh one-size-fits-all emergency statements of sheltering in place (or “house arrest?”) seem greatly at odds and irrational.
- Why does it seem that Inslee (and more importantly, Inslee’s staff crew who do the work and thinking anyway) has used this emergency as a way to reward political allies and punish those who won’t vote for him? Government (union) construction vs. Residential(independent) construction? Keeping pot shops open while closing gun shops, fishing, hiking, jogging, and churches? Releasing violent criminals into the community and continuing to create sanctuary for illegal immigrants (including violent felons)?
- Has anyone in the Governor’s mansion even considered the harm and damage (including avoidable/preventable deaths) they are inflicting on the people of Washington State as a direct result of the harsh policies they are forcing on people? How many people are dying because they are not seeking or receiving regular medical care? How many people will die as victims at the hands of the early release violent felons? How much will suicides increase due to the willful destruction of the economy (there is a historic correlation between % of unemployment and increase in suicides)? How many people caught this virus unnecessarily because of reusable bags they were forced to use rather than using the (now-banned) plastic disposable bags? How many people caught the virus on mass transit or in packed homeless/drug addict camps? Is there a single bureaucrat in the state who cares about these or similar questions?
Inslee’s grip and credibility weakens…
Some people are going to shelter in place for many months or years. We are all “Preppers” now. No matter what, it seems very likely that this experience must significantly change how businesses (those that survive the collapse) and most people live and interact with others. However, some highlights of Inslee’s lost influence are as follows:
- Multiple counties in Washington State have formally voted to reject Inslee’s restrictions and they are taking more nuanced steps to reopen their economies and communities since the Governor refuses to help them. Chelan, Douglas, and Franklin Counties have been the first three to do this (Franklin being the most dramatic), and more are moving in that direction. Franklin was threatened by the Governor and apparently the weaker Commissioners backed down, however, they appear to still reject elements of the more irrational parts of the Governors orders. Open defiance of the Governor is likely to manifest itself in more places.
- Multiple sheriffs and other law enforcement officers have indicated they will not enforce the parts of Inslee’s proclamations or emergency powers that they believe are unconstitutional. See the Snohomish County Sheriff’s statement here for the most visible recent announcement. He is not alone, and more are joining him. If nobody except Bob Ferguson is going to enforce Inslee’s more unconstitutional actions, then they become meaningless.
- While the minority Republican Senate and House caucus leadership have signed off on all of Inslee’s orders so far (which they theoretically must do within 30 days of each of his suspensions of law or the suspension ends), there is significant dissention with a sizeable group in both Republican Caucuses who want concessions and reasonable decisions from Inslee’s office first. Many legislators are starting to demand a special session to challenge some of the more draconian choices and address the collapsing state budgets which now need to be cut dramatically, and this pushback will grow.
- Last Sunday’s event where thousands of protestors openly defied Inslee’s orders and demanded the opportunity to work again is merely the first of what appears to be many actions of civil disobedience.
- A lawsuit against Governor Inslee was filed in Federal Court Wednesday by Joshua Freed (linked here), a former Mayor of the City of Bothell and one of 5 candidates for state governor this year, demanding that Inslee rescind his obviously unconstitutional portions of his stay at home orders as they apply to churches and religious Bible studies. It seems unlikely this will be the only one.
This is just the tip of the iceberg
Symbols of Decay in the state are highlighted
On the Pro-Inslee side of the spectrum meanwhile, it really doesn’t look great either. The Seattle School Board decided to give every high school student an “A” for the year, which was so stupid and foolish that they actually had some board dissent in a 5-2 vote (usually everyone stays in the same commune and vote like they are Borgs). The homeless/drug addict camps are expanding and remain unpoliced and well-funded in most urban cores. Oddly enough, the drug dealers and fencing operations are not practicing social distancing, but it doesn’t matter because the law isn’t applied to them anyway. The City of Olympia didn’t even bother to question or discuss a recent $500,000 grant to one of the “approved” camps – they just put it on the “consent” agenda and passed it – business as usual. There is total silence on the obvious failures of the Central Planning State as the empty mass transit system continues to hemorrhage money while moving nobody. The ferry system is approaching radical fiscal collapse as the ridership drops below the levels last seen in the 1950s. Evergreen State College continues to fail and shrink while the school administration brags about getting their “friends” in the legislature to pick up the tab for their endless failures (keep the money pit filled).
The state has been quick to unleash violent felons into the community and even quicker to close parks, fishing, and hiking trails where social distancing is often measured by the acre or the mile. However, they have taken a glacial pace towards addressing the obvious fiscal tsunami coming their way – (will they need to cut $10 billion or more from the state budget?) Inslee is giddy and excited about scheming how to use this fiscal collapse as an excuse to push an income tax, yet slow to recognize there won’t be anyone left to tax if he keeps dragging this thing out. Of course, nobody in state government is willing to even whisper about the inevitable cuts that are coming – they plan to wait until after the election to face that reality.
It is the tendency of government to behave and proceed as though the people are stupid, apathetic and lazy. Most of the time, if the bureaucracy, the special interests, and the politicians keep their actions murky, plodding, and boring, and the tame media support them, they can get away with a shocking amount of incompetence and failure. Most people expect this from government (whether they admit it or not). However, when jarring events create accelerated timeframes with radical change that can’t be concealed – these are the times when unforeseen political change occurs. The Democrats have been openly cheering this in their universal campaign against everything Trump. However, these same circumstances can create political change at a local level which they might not anticipate. In Washington State, this political blowback will by necessity be targeted at the Democrats who control every lever of power in the state and in most local governments. Governor Inslee may become more vulnerable than his advisors or political opponents recognize.
Published with Permission of wethegoverned.com