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.