Idaho Legislators Make Pro-Virus Video In Stupid-Spreader Event

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Screenshot, video by Idaho Freedom Foundation

As COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations set new records in Idaho this week, a group of rightwing state legislators released a video in which they publicly declared they'll ignore any orders aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, which they said might not be real at all. Reality, after all, is a deeply personal thing, and the Constitution prohibits the government from ever telling free people what to do. Then the legislators all ran a stoplight and died, the end. Fine, instead, they're all likely to be reelected because they represent districts that are similarly opposed to science, which is a tool of communism and the Devil.

The video was made in conjunction with the "Idaho Freedom Foundation," a rightwing clearinghouse for liberty and terrible ideas that's funded by, among others, the Koch political money operation and by Donors Trust, the notorious "Dark-Money ATM of the conservative movement," as Mother Jones puts it. You name a wingnut astroturf outfit, and IFF is likely to be up in its business. The Freedom Foundation, working together with a pro-gun group and a bunch of anti-vaxx idiots, has been at the center of resisting public health efforts in the state, including Ammon Bundy's Superspreader Easter Jamboree.

Here's the video, in which a collection of state legislators, including Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, read out, line by line, the Freedom Foundation's "Declaration to Idaho residents and public officials," which the group's website claims was "ratified by the people of Idaho" on October 1. They sure as hell didn't ask me to vote on it. We like the captions where two of the goofs, Karey Hanks and Ron Nate, are identified as "Representative-elect" by virtue of the fact that they're running unopposed.


There's just so much authentic wingnut gibberish here. You have the pseudo-Framer "We the people" stuff, and a line taken from the Idaho Constitution, which improves on the Declaration of Independence:

We, the people of the state of Idaho, reaffirm our solemn commitment to the foundational principles that have made America the greatest country in the world. As noted in our state constitution and restated here, we remain grateful to Almighty God for our freedom. We recognize that all of us are "by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, pursuing happiness and securing safety."

The state constitution doesn't have the Almighty God stuff, which is surely just an oversight, or perhaps a corruption imposed on the state by Politically Correct Cancel Culture. We also like that the "happiness" line is timed to McGeachin's pulling out her semiautomatic pistol, because happiness is a warm (yes it is) gun.

The single most jaw-droppingly stupid line goes to Karey Hanks, who served one term in the Lege, lost the seat in the 2018 primary, and then narrowly won the GOP primary again this year. She gets to proclaim, "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."

The rest of the declaration is a load of liberty and inalienables, claiming that public health measures trample all over the sacred right to never do anything you don't wanna, especially not for the sake of protecting other people's health, and the aforementioned vow to never surrender, never give up, full speed ahead into the ICU, should there be any space (there is not, at least in the only major hospital in Northern Idaho).

For what it's worth, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held the US Constitution grants state and local officials fairly broad powers to protect public health. Not that the Supreme Court has more authority than God and the wingnuts who speak for Him.

Idaho Freedom Foundation spox Dustin Hurst (no relation, we hope, for Evan's sake), who does not seem to know what communicable disease is, explained that preventing community spread of the virus is a matter of individual choice.

We want to remind people that, ultimately, their health is their responsibility, whether they want to wear a mask or not. [...] Personally, I wear a mask, but I respect others' right not to.

Earlier this week, Idaho Gov. Brad Little ordered new restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather in public, but there has never been a statewide mask mandate. Several cities and counties, including the People's Republic of Boise, have ordered masks be worn in retail stores and when social distancing is not possible.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus declined to directly comment on the video, noting, "Oh, man, I have so many places to be in this fucking ass-backwards state."

OPEN THREAD!

[Idaho Statesman / The Conversation / Idaho Statesman]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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