A small hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho, Bonner General, recently announced it will no longer offer obstetrical care due to the “political climate” in the state and a shortage of doctors. It turns out physicians object to having hard-right politicians without medical qualifications direct care plans and threaten clinical staff with lawsuits and jail time. From CBS News:
In a report last September, Pew found that Idaho was one of six states in which authorities can prosecute health care providers for performing abortions.
“The Idaho Legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care. Consequences for Idaho Physicians providing the standard of care may include civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to jail time or fines,” Bonner General said in its news statement.
The article says women in Sandpoint who need labor and delivery services will now have to travel to the nearest cities, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho or Spokane, Washington for care. If they’re smart, they’ll opt for Spokane. It’s roughly the same distance but is located in a state that allows doctors to provide services that meet modern standards of care without unqualified conservative religious fanatics threatening them and otherwise interfering with healthcare decisions.
Get Out of the State You’re In
Speaking of state borders and conservative fanatics, wingnuts in Eastern Oregon are so incensed about being outvoted by fellow Oregon citizens in the more populous western part of the state that they’ve started a movement to move Idaho’s border west to swallow more than half of Oregon’s current territory. CNN posted a story about the “partisan rancor” behind the Greater Idaho Movement last week:
The redress that members of Greater Idaho want is representation of their conservative, minority viewpoint in an Oregon state government overwhelmingly controlled by liberal Democrats, said [former Portland school teacher Matt] McCaw. But with that unlikely to happen, being part of Idaho – which backed former President Donald Trump by more than 30 points – looks more appealing…
McCaw cited gun control and decriminalization of drugs as two major issues where the lesser-populated rural and vote-rich urban divide collide. “The political tension does not come because Portland’s doing something. The political tension comes when Portland does something and says we have to do the same thing. It doesn’t work for us.”
Sandie Gilson, a Greater Idaho Movement board member and a small business owner in John Day, Oregon, sees the problem more simply. “We are very different people,” she said of the cultures in the east versus the west of her state. “The rules and regulations that they’re making, that makes sense in the city, don’t make sense out here. The people here haven’t changed. Portland’s changed. Salem’s changed. Eugene has changed.”
Good gravy, what a bunch of whiny babies!
I’m a Democrat who lives in a county and state/federal districts that don’t have a single elected Democrat in a state where Republicans control every statewide elected office and both U.S. Senate seats.
Do I whine about it a lot? Absolutely, because living in a place with unified Repub control sucks in ways that materially make my life harder and hurt lots of people for no good reason, including some of my loved ones, which makes it personal. But it never occurred to me to petition a carve-out to make my property part of a state with politics that match my personal views. The choice is to stay and oppose the shitty state government or move. I chose the former. The Eastern Oregon whiners have the same choice.
Underground Like a Wild Potato
The Greater Idaho Movement is unlikely to go anywhere, but it does have sponsors in both state legislatures. Movement leaders imply that such efforts are an outlet for disgruntled citizens who might otherwise act out violently:
(McCaw) and (Idaho GOP state Rep. Barbara) Ehardt acknowledge that rural leaders in multiple states, many of them battleground states like Michigan and Georgia, have inquired about the political path Greater Idaho is taking. When asked where the moving of state borders for political reasons should stop, their answers become murkier.
“What I would say to that is it needs to go as far as it makes sense,” said McCaw.
Ehardt sees the immediate redrawing of the state line between Oregon and Idaho as one that would bring peace to the northwest region.
“We don’t want them to start an internal war battle. But at some point, that’s what people are going to turn to if they can’t be listened to,” she said of rural Oregonians. “So they’re turning to us. And if we can create a path forward, others can too.”
Well, “an internal war battle” doesn’t sound pleasant, but Ehardt misidentifies the problem. It’s not that the wannabe Idahoans in rural Oregon “can’t be listened to” — if they are anything like their ideological fellow travelers in Florida, they never shut the fuck up, not even when they fully control the levers of power.
The problem in rural Oregon and elsewhere is that — egged on by their favorite twice-impeached, two-time-popular-vote-loser former president — a loud contingent of Repub voters only accept election outcomes when their side wins. That’s a problem all over the country and will continue to be until sore losers realize that the operative word in that phrase is LOSERS.