GOP legislators miss the mark

The Nov. 13 Leader-Telegram quoted a joint statement by area legislators Kathy Bernier, Jesse James and Rob Summerfield “calling on citizens to be more diligent in preventing the spread of COVID-19.” The same article said Warren Petryk issued a similar statement.

Certainly we all need to do our best to get this terrible virus under control. But it’s worth recognizing these same elected “leaders” have for months fought shamelessly against actions expressly designed to prevent pandemic spread. They have opposed and criticized proposals by the governor, state Department of Health Services, area local health departments and most public health professionals to slow the COVID-19 advance. In lock step with fellow state Republican legislators, they have ignored public opinion favoring more aggressive control measures.

These legislators have wasted many chances to reduce the extent of the outbreak. Worse, they have intentionally obstructed attempts by others to do so. They have been complicit in accelerating and expanding our risk of contracting the virus.

This pandemic is fast becoming a worst-ever crisis situation for many of us. Surely these legislators can come up with a better plan than for the public to “be more diligent.”

Perhaps they should try a little harder. Maybe they should be proactive and follow their own advice. Maybe they should use their positions of leadership to fight this scourge. Maybe they should lend support, rather than hinder, more aggressive control measures regardless of who suggest them. And maybe they should work to persuade their political party mates to do the same. It’s simply not enough to ask the public to “do as I say, not as I do.”

Tom Lovejoy

Eau Claire