The Idaho Republicans have sent their state into a pandemic crisis. Now it is spreading across state borders
The Times dryly notes that Brad Little's office would not make the governor available to answer questions as he steadfastly declares his continued determination to do little to nothing to respond to the medical crisis in his state. Idaho's vaccination rate of 40% is among the lowest in the country, and Little is among the Republican governors who naturally roared that he would take legal action to ensure the federal government can't mandate vaccinations for employees in his flag-waving lump-loving neck of the woods. There are also no plans to take other measures to reduce the spread of the pandemic in the state.
The Little Plan appears to be related to the Republican plans in Florida and elsewhere, and can be roughly described as follows: "If we say it is patriotic not to try, no one can blame us for the staggering death toll. " Like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Little also tried to portray pandemic security measures as a democratic assault on "freedom," especially the freedom to spread a deadly disease when you want, wherever you want because you're kidding everyone else.
Right now it's hard to blame Donald Trump for this. His stubborn incompetence was the reason Republicanism first insisted that competence was indeed the real enemy here, but Trump is now retired and the rest of these clowns are still in the center ring. If they want to keep explaining that 600,000 dead and counting is not something Republicanism has to grapple with, then it's up to them.
What the Idaho-Washington State case shows, however, is that it is not only the declarators of Idaho conservatism of personal pandemic freedom that are being killed by their new affinity for a disease that "the liberals" do not want to get. Little's incompetence in dealing with today's state emergency puts lives at risk in Washington state and any other state that now has to accept an influx of ventilators in Idaho to have freedom. It is the same dynamic that happens over and over again when republican ideologues make state and federal budgets catastrophic, cause economic crises, exacerbate infrastructure crises, act as willing enablers of medical crises, wage wars on incompetent premises, and then turn to the nation's non-republicans try to mend the damage without them.
Why the hell isn't Brad Little arraigned right now? In the Republican government, you can fill hospitals to the point of overflowing, keep filling them until crisis protocols need to be issued, fill them up even further so that hospitals in neighboring states will also see an influx of your citizens, and yet no one in the party will question whether or not Republicanism should do something more substantial than Bupkis' in response.
If Idaho Conservatives love their freedom more than they love being able to breathe without mechanical aid, will the state reimburse surrounding states for the costs of those Conservatives changing their minds? Of course not. Will Idaho send its own National Guard to help out in these states? Unlikely. Will the Idaho Conservatives ever be influenced by mass deaths? Recent history suggests that any freedom-loving Republican will only regret his past actions if a member of his own family kicks the pandemic bucket. If a member of your family gets infected and dies, they don't care. If your cancer surgery needs to be postponed so the cancer can continue to grow, so that hospitals can clear rooms and doctors for unvaccinated anti-mask fighters who are now sucking air through a hose while their families search local cattle dealers for veterinary worming agents, it is them no matter.
Washington State may need to introduce vaccination certificates for crossing its state lines.
Something that doesn't seem to be addressed just yet is the possibility that the chaos in the Red State caused by Republican governors and lawmakers openly poking fun at pandemic security will have long-term effects on the state that over the immediate death toll go beyond. The vaccination is free. Being treated in an emergency room even for a "mild" case of COVID-19 infection is not only not free, but also remains heartbreakingly expensive. Spend a night or ten in an intensive care unit and even with insurance, many Americans still face a mountain of priceless bills.
What will be the long-term economic impact in places like Florida and Idaho after a sea of unvaccinated patients survive the pandemic, only to see their savings wipe out, and then some of the costs of their survival? What is the long-term impact of so many unpaid bills on local health systems?
How much of it will be distributed among neighboring, more responsible states?
Idaho's "plan" as it is is a worldwide embarrassment. Little and his fellow Republican ramblers have shown such unfathomable incompetence that it is fair to ask whether any of them should serve a prison term. Not only do the state's conservative operators pride themselves on doing absolutely nothing remarkable to curb a rate of infection that state hospitals are experiencing in crisis, they also continue to take steps to ensure that no one else is allowed to mitigate the damage, either.
If that's what the Idaho Conservatives really want – and who should we say – then fine. But their own crisis is causing havoc outside of their borders and in places where conservatism does not prevail, and other Americans have every right to get angry about it. Keep your patriotic deaths to yourselves and let the rest of us out, Republican idlers. These are your payable bills, not ours. Stop relying on everyone else to save you from every disaster that causes you so dizzyingly.