What, exactly, are they protesting?

I certainly get the feeling it wasn’t just Covid-19 mandates, but something bigger.

In a column last week, Seattle Times writer Danny Westneat pointed out that even though all Washington mask mandates will end two days from now (on March 12), the protests against mask mandates go on, and on, and on.

He says, “Isn’t it great the masks are finally coming off? That vaccine passports have ended? That regular medical care is returning to the hospitals, and offices are opening back up? Apparently not. So while the great pandemic may be winding down, the great grievances that have coincided with it are not.”

Then he asks, “What is the point to protesting stuff that’s ending anyway? ‘We demand you do this thing you’ve already done!’”

Westneat concludes, “It all seems like further proof that the pandemic culture wars never had much to do with the pandemic. It’s as if the disease and the public health measures that went along with it were simply fresh targets for the same crowd that’s always down in Olympia calling the government tyrannical for one reason or another. It’s right-wing vaudeville.”

Read his column here.

I’m strongly inclined to agree. That last sentence — it’s vaudeville, a show — is key.

The Great Rightwing Grievance Circus is fact-free, logic-free, and devoid of serious public policy suggestions. It’s a clown show.

Westneat opines that, “If the coronavirus now fades for real, the traveling grievance circus will seamlessly transition back to protesting things like gun control instead of the mask policy.” On this, I disagree; I think they’ve moved on to new targets: Teaching schoolkids that slavery and racism are part of our history, targeting LGBQT kids for persecution, attacking librarians and banning books.

The crowd that punched out Costco employees for enforcing the company’s state-mandated mask policies is like a roving gang looking for fresh victims. And pretty much any victims will do. You may be next. What are they protesting? Everything. They hate the world, their place in it, and everyone not like them.

What’s really behind it is the same human pathology that drives sick people to push strangers off subway platforms into the path of oncoming trains, and shoot people for Jogging While Black. There’s an evil spark in them.

Related: Westneat is a cool and perceptive writer, and I like his work. Read here what he wrote in 2019 about the GOP’s plummeting political fortunes in Washington state, and what’s behind it (the “Trump” effect on taking political sides, and global trade’s impact on the local economy). (Note: His columns appear in the Yakima Herald because the Seattle Times owns that newspaper.)

Photo: Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat

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