In Trump Country, GOP Declares a War on Critical Health Care Workers

December 30, 2020

It’s a climate story because it’s about what happens when powerful people declare war on science.

Now that war on science has become a driving force among an increasingly paranoid and violent wing of a major political party.

KUSA Denver:

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — The leader of the Parker Republicans was posting the names and home addresses of public health employees online with veiled threats of retribution for COVID-19 restrictions.

Mark Hall, lead co-chair of the Parker Republicans, began publishing the names and home addresses of public health workers Monday, adding, “Take this information and make your own decisions.”

“We will publish the names/addresses of these people with no law enforcement abilities,” Hall posted to the Facebook group. “If they want a war, we can give them that but it is time for a revolution.”

Hall outlined his intended targets while announcing the new effort on his own Facebook page.

“If you work for the state, CDPHE, Tri-County or other agencies, you are on the radar, at your homes and elsewhere,” Hall wrote. “You want to be Anti-Americans, Patriots are going to show you the errors of your ways. We didn’t ask for this but you brought it on.”

The group dedicated to doxing public health workers does not appear to violate any laws, according to Douglas County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Deputy Cocha Heyden.

Heyden said Sheriff Tony Spurlock, seen posing with Hall in photos online, was aware of the page. Heyden said the sheriff’s office would monitor the page and respond if anyone called to report a crime.

The Facebook group, which began posting the home addresses of public health workers on Monday, Dec. 28, quickly attracted two high-profile members: Republican Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas and Parker Mayor Jeff Toborg.

A spokeswoman for Thomas said she joined the group to monitor its activities. Toborg said he accepted an invitation to join the group without looking at its purpose or content.

Thomas later released a statement saying she was not condoning the doxing of public health employees when she joined the Facebook group dedicated to doxing public health employees.

NPR:

Ten years ago, Dr. Kristina Darnauer and her husband, Jeff, moved to tiny Sterling, Kan., to raise their kids steeped in small-town values.

“The values of hard work, the value of community, taking care of your neighbor, that’s what small towns shout from the rooftops, this is what we’re good at. We are salt of the earth people who care about each other,” Darnauer says. “And here I am saying, then wear a mask because that protects your precious neighbor.”

But Darnauer’s medical advice and moral admonition were met with contempt from some of her friends, neighbors and patients. People who had routinely buttonholed her for quick medical advice at church and kids’ ballgames were suddenly treating her as the enemy and regarding her professional opinion as suspect and offensive.

Ten years ago, Dr. Kristina Darnauer and her husband, Jeff, moved to tiny Sterling, Kan., to raise their kids steeped in small-town values.

“The values of hard work, the value of community, taking care of your neighbor, that’s what small towns shout from the rooftops, this is what we’re good at. We are salt of the earth people who care about each other,” Darnauer says. “And here I am saying, then wear a mask because that protects your precious neighbor.”

But Darnauer’s medical advice and moral admonition were met with contempt from some of her friends, neighbors and patients. People who had routinely buttonholed her for quick medical advice at church and kids’ ballgames were suddenly treating her as the enemy and regarding her professional opinion as suspect and offensive.

And who, she asks, is going to take the jobs health care directors are leaving?

“It’s not a secret that the position is open because of extreme tension between the health department director and the city commissioner, county commission, or because the person has required a guard,” Collie-Akers says.

And it’s not just Kansas. Alan Morgan, CEO of the National Rural Health Association, says this is happening across a lot of rural America. 

“It’s been a terrible, an absolute terrible, no good year for rural health,” Morgan says.

Morgan worries that the loss of county health directors in the middle of a pandemic will lead to sicker rural populations and still more pressure on rural hospitals.

Rural hospitals were in deep trouble before the pandemic. Morgan says 132 of them have closed since 2010. COVID-19 made matters worse. The surge of desperately sick and highly contagious patients stopped hospitals from doing the lucrative elective outpatient procedures that keep them in business. Their small staffs have been run ragged. And the pandemic has filled the air with vitriol against medical expertise. 

Rural health care jobs can be hard to fill in the best of times; now, Morgan says many rural hospitals he represents are growing desperate.

“In community after community, after community, all I hear about is workforce, workforce, workforce losing clinical staff, trying to attract clinical staff into these communities. It is taking up the full time of our members right now,” Morgan says.

Closing rural hospitals, Morgan says, cuts health care to places where residents tend to be older, sicker and poorer than average.

3 Responses to “In Trump Country, GOP Declares a War on Critical Health Care Workers”

  1. doldrom Says:

    Don’t see any actual science presented here on this American partisan Corona bickering. Appeals to authority smack of, well, authoritarianism.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      First, an “appeal to authority” is not at all like authoritarianism.
      One is a reference to a possible logical fallacy (depends on the nature of the appeal),
      the other is a form of government which uses central control, typically by a single leader (Stalin, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler, Robert Mugabe, Pinochet, Erdogan, Putin, and Trump in his dreams), with little or no mechanism to check it.

      Appealing to the authority of people who base their knowledge on decades of research of contagious diseases (AIDS, ebola, polio, measles, etc.) does not at all compare to deferring to political authorities.

      People who never complained about requirements to cover their genitals (the sight of which is not a physical threat to those around you) are whining about covering their breathing holes to limit the transmission of a dangerous airborne virus.


  2. Crazy people are everywhere. In the Netherlands we call them “”wappies”.


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