Washington state has been shut down for several weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and while there was bipartisan consensus that residents shouldn't die, nothing lasts forever, especially when tattoo parlors are closed.

Frustrated Republicans demand a "plan" from Gov. Jay Inslee for reopening. He has one: Stay the fuck home. It's not a ridiculously circuitous plan. It's straightforward and the necessary first step in advancing to Phase 1 of the White House's own guidelines, which require 14 straight days of falling infection numbers. Washington isn't there yet.

State Republicans released their own "road map" last Friday for opening Washington's economy, and it's paved with COVID-19. The plan identifies businesses that apparently have a "low risk" of spreading the coronavirus. This includes residential construction, car dealerships, and hairdressers. Seriously, do these people not know how hair styling works?

Some spoiled babies are defying the governor's stay-at-home order and a shocking number are actual elected officials. One of the goofballs marching on the capitol Sunday was state Rep. Vicki Kraft, a Republican from Vancouver, which isn't the one in Canada like I have to keep telling people.


Kraft posted the following on her Facebook page the day before Coronastock:

Ultimately the governor has to decide if he is going to face the reality of our crumbling WA economy, listen to the Legislature and business community, and respond or not. There are many business owners on both sides of the aisle whose livelihoods are vanishing before their eyes and they feel the pain. And employees whose jobs are severely and permanently at risk.

Kraft should advocate for small business relief, rent and mortgage deferrals, and expanded unemployment insurance. She has the ear of her state rep because she was born with both of them. She doesn't need to join protests like the common hippie she would've hated a few months ago.

She wore her office badge to the rally but not a face mask. Reps. Jim Walsh of Aberdeen and Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls were also in attendance. Sutherland has warned that if Inslee tries to enforce the current ban on recreational fishing, it might result in a "revolution."

SUTHERLAND: You send your goons with guns, we will defend ourselves.

C'mon, Sutherland is a Republican. He's supposed to love cops. Now he's threatening to shoot anyone coming between him and his Calvins bass fishing. (He later said he regretted the use of the words “goons.")

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney declared Tuesday that he won't enforce the stay-at-home order because he thinks it violates Washingtonians' constitutional rights. He's wrong. Fortney has complained that marijuana retailers are considered essential businesses but gun shops aren't. This isn't a zombie apocalypse. We can't shoot the virus. We kill it by staying home, ideally with edibles if that's your thing.

The Franklin County Commission in Pasco, Washington, also rejected the governor's stay-at-home order and voted that businesses could reopen.

"As far as I'm concerned the county is open, and I'd encourage people within the law and within the parameters of their own safety — we're adults, we can make decisions — to behave accordingly. That's what I'm doing," said Commissioner Brad Peck, as reported by the Tri-City Herald.

The insidious twist here is that these officials are promoting behaviors that will delay Washington from safely reopening. Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a joint statement Thursday advising residents to behave like grownups even if their elected officials weren't so inclined.

"People's lives are deeply impacted by this crisis. We are working hard to turn the tide on COVID-19 and begin lifting restrictions. These decisions are guided by science. Our priority is keeping Washingtonians healthy.

"In both Franklin and Snohomish counties, the prosecutors have informed our office they agree the state's orders are legal. The Snohomish County sheriff and the Franklin County Commission are misleading business owners and individuals in their jurisdictions, putting people's health at risk and potentially putting them on the wrong side of the law.

"These orders are legal, and they are working. Do not be misled by local officials who encourage you to risk your health and violate the law. Please continue to take care of yourself, your family and your neighbor."

It's a tiresome thought exercise but it's hard to imagine a Republican governor and attorney general having to politely ask Democratic officials not to openly break the law and encourage others to do so. These brats aren't Rosa Parks.

[Governor.wa.gov / Columbian / Seattle Times]

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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