We mentioned this story in today’s Get More Smarter update, the vote yesterday by the all-GOP Douglas County Board of Commissioners to opt-out of a mask order from the Tri-County Health Department for children in school ages 2-11 and as a result not yet able to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Elliott Wenzler at Colorado Community Media reports:
Following a nearly four-hour-long meeting including dozens of public speakers, Douglas County voted to opt out of the latest public health order from Tri-County Health Department calling for students to wear masks at schools as a COVID-19 safety measure.
That move came two days after Douglas County School District leaders said they will require all students in preschool through sixth grade to wear masks when inside school buildings.
The three county commissioners unanimously approved an opt-out resolution during the Aug. 19 special business meeting.
The right of conservative Douglas County to opt-out of public health orders issued by the Tri-County Health Department is one of the concessions won by DougCo commissioners after they threatened to pull out of Tri-County and form their own health department last year. Douglas County has been a consistent hotbed of COVID-19 misinformation and misguided “resistance” to best practices to control the spread of the pandemic from the beginning of the crisis, with county and state lawmakers eagerly feeding falsehoods to their local supporters who responded by defying public health orders.
Back in April, or about 60,000 dead Americans ago depending on how you mark the time, the Douglas County Commissioners declared the pandemic officially over and opted out of Tri-County’s orders in effect at that time. Republicans who politicized the response to the pandemic have steadfastly refused to take responsibility for the obvious connection between their actions and the nation’s death toll, which remains as of this writing the highest of any nation in the world despite the United States also having the widest availability of vaccines.
The nation’s impenetrable partisan divide prevents most Republicans from acknowledging this simple but damning reality. But to the rest of the country, including Democrats and most of the unaffiliated plurality of voters in Colorado, the sixteen words that follow could be some of the most frightening you’ve ever heard:
“By opting out of this public health order, we will be securing the blessings of liberty,” [Pols emphasis] said Commissioner George Teal in the meeting.
What Douglas County’s GOP commissioners are exercising is not the “liberty” Americans grew up believing in.
It’s ignorance in the name of liberty. And history will judge them thusly.