One More Time: Dirt ≠ People

Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert (R).

On Friday, the 14 out of 16 of Colorado state senators in the GOP Senate Minority sent a letter complaining to Gov. Jared Polis about the statewide stay-at-home order currently in effect to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Two Republican Senators who have broken moderate on a range of issues in the past year, Sens. Kevin Priola and Jack Tate, did not sign. Denver7’s Ryan Osborne:

The senators’ letter to Polis on Friday described a “disconnect” between the social distancing needs in larger areas that have seen more cases, such as the Denver metro, and smaller rural communities, where the overall number of confirmed cases has been low but where testing has not been prevalent thus far. [Pols emphasis]

“With the Denver metro area already under a ‘stay at home order,’ what is accomplished by closing down the business activity and daily routines of Coloradans living in a county that has fewer than five cases of COVID-19 after weeks of dealing with this crisis?” the letter said.

Polis on Wednesday said the stay-at-home order — which calls on Coloradans to stay inside their homes, except for essential activities — was necessary to “save thousands of lives” as hospitals prepare for an expected surge of coronavirus patients. Health officials from the state and various counties had called for a statewide order in the days ahead of Polis’ decision, as Denver, several other Front Range counties, and some mountain communities had already implemented similar orders of their own.

It’s just another in a growing string of disgraceful political attacks on the party in power for exercising out of necessity powers that admittedly have resulted in considerable hardship–the goal being to prevent the vastly greater harm of allowing the pandemic to spread unchecked. As the pandemic rapidly worsens throughout the United States and cases in Colorado continue to grow, the political wisdom of being the party against stopping this pandemic seems, to say the least, extremely dubious.

But there’s one particular “point” made by Senate Republicans in their letter to Gov. Polis that is sufficiently absurd it deserves its own mention:

In our caucus, four of our State Senators represent 78% of Colorado’s land mass [Pols emphasis] – and none of those four were consulted on how an order such as this would affect their rural communities…

So first of all, a pandemic disease does not respect county or any other boundaries–and it also spreads in assemblies of people, which can occur in big towns and small. That’s why a statewide order was necessary, and the “land mass” represented by four Senators is totally irrelevant.

And that, gentle readers, is where their contention takes a turn for the absurd:

Because although four Republican Senators may represent 78% of Colorado’s “land mass,” meaning Colorado’s vast expanses of dirt, they represent (in 2011 numbers, anyway) the same number of people as every other Senator–about 150,000 each, or all four together about 12% of the state’s population. We rounded up just to be nice.

From the National Popular Vote debate to public health measures to slow a global pandemic, if we never, ever hear the preposterous “dirt=people” argument again we’ll consider that a major breakthrough for reality-based discussions of all these issues.

Fat chance, we know. But it is awfully damned absurd.

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  1. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    "……Two Republican senators who have broken moderate on a range of issues in the past year…….."

    I prefer to call them common sense conservatives.

    • JohnInDenver says:

      I appreciate the idea of "common sense."  It might also be appropriate to consider them "evidence based."  Or "pragmatic."  Or even, dare I say it, Lincoln Republicans, willing to sacrifice in pursuit of a united government.

  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    I’m sure what with all the hundreds of world-class locally-funded hospitals and emergency medical and long-term care facilities in Yuma, and Swink, and Calhan, and Blanca, and Cedaredge, and Creede, and . . .

    And if they should need any more care facilities, well, they’ll just build ‘em as they need ‘em. Can do — that’s one thing rural communities still know that all you citified pansies have completely lost and forgotten.

    . . . the folks (and, yes, even the dirt; you smug city pricks) that these signers represent, are all completely bootstrapped-up to handle this time of minor inconvenience for everyone in their exceptional all-American communities; and would never even have to consider sending any patients ever into the gubbermint-dependent socialist metropolitan areas???!

    These folks are ready, ready, ready for anything! I mean, look at all the minutemen guns they’ve got stockpiled . . .

    . . . those Chinese germs better know better that to screw with any of our Backboners; and if they don’t, well, hasta la vista virii.

    So, please Governor Polis, let them reopen all their rural shopping malls, and cineplexes, the art museums, the theme parks, and the opry’ houses, immediately. Please!

    • kwtree says:

      There are some decent hospitals in little NE Colorado towns. Greeley and Longmont are pretty well situated for hospitals in larger towns. They’re just really far apart, so rural residents have a long drive in an emergency, and the facilities have limited capacity.  If they start getting slammed with covid19 patients, it’ll be as ugly as any metro area.

  3. davebarnes says:

    But, GOPers = Dirt[y].

    Wasn’t there a US Supreme Court ruling about 1 acre, 1 vote?

  4. 2Jung2Die says:

    Sometimes, as a Swiss psychoanalyst, the statements of people who are technically adults remind me of children going through the "Idawanna" phase.

  5. DENependent says:

    After redistricting they’ll be doing even better! I bet just three of them will be representing 78% of Colorado’s landmass or even more! They’ll be gaining on those evil o’ Dems by the logic that having more land and less State Senators will make them better!

    Seriously, though. Redistricting is going to be brutal for Republicans. Everywhere that is growing is competitive or Democratic.

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