What are Republicans in the East Valley drinking?

First, there is Arizona Congressional District Five Representative Andy Biggs who thinks helping people get through the COVID 19 pandemic and making individuals wear masks to ensure public safety smacks of government handouts and tyranny.

Then you have Legislative District (LD)16 Representative Kelly Townsend who feels even the half measures Doug Ducey took in the spring and then after the Coronavirus spike in the early summer was executive overreach.

The other Legislative District 16 Representative, John Filmore, might have rhetorically (in the extreme) outdone them both earlier this week.

At a “Labor Day” Rally at the State Capital, Mr. Filmore likened the requirement of mask-wearing to ensure public safety to tattoos placed on Holocaust victims.

Laurie Roberts of AZ Central reported that he stated:

“It’s reminiscent of the 1930s in Germany when people on their own bodies were tattooed.”

Reaction to the LD 16 Representatives’ ill-conceived remarks came swiftly.

Helen Hunter, a Democratic Candidate looking to win one of the LD 16 State House Seats, commented:

“I am horrified at the representative’s comparison of the government mandate
to wear masks to MINIMIZE sickness and death to a government mandate that citizens, because of their ethnicity, be tattooed to signify that they are TARGETED for sickness and death.”

“It is a comparison of two interventions: masks to prevent death, tattoos to initiate death.
Thankfully the representative has apologized and acknowledged that his comments are insidious.”

“I wonder how many people who heard and heeded these remarks became infected. How many people who ascribed to your beliefs between February and June are now dead? How many have transmitted the disease to their families, coworkers, medical personnel, bus drivers, etc.?”

“Our Representatives and leaders must consider the impact of COVID-19 on their audiences. Especially in light of the complex decision-making taking place regarding school reopenings and the devastating repercussions. The Representative must consider the impact of failure to wear masks on school teachers and students and their families and administrators and support staff as well as healthcare workers and the multitude of essential workers who are struggling to take care of themselves and their families … and ours.”

“I would ask that the Representative rethink the benefits of wearing a mask. The Government’s fundamental task is to protect its citizens. (The right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness)”

“Mask wearing is not governmental overreach; it is governmental Outreach to care for its citizens. The wearing of masks is grounded in science and championed by medical professionals as the best intervention (along with social distancing and quarantining) to stem the tide of a global pandemic.”

“Ignorance, bigotry, and political motivation lead to destruction. Political orientation cannot carry more weight than regard for the health and well-being of one’s constituency and the people of Arizona.”

“Decisions must be based on science, medical expertise, and humanity. I offer a twist to Bill Clinton’s famous quote – DO THE MASK!”

Two House Democrats, as reported by the September 8, 2020 edition of Yellow Sheet also issued stinging rebukes of Filmore’s statements.

LD 28 State Representative Aaron Lieberman wrote:

“The Jewish people who were tattooed during the Holocaust were being inventoried. They were being denied their basic humanity and marked for murder just for the crime of existing. It’s beyond offensive and wrong to compare that stain on history to a public health effort that is designed to stop the spread of a deadly virus, to save lives, and to return our world to normal, an effort that is working, we might add. I count John Fillmore as a friend, and I’m hoping this was just a bad day, but there’s no excuse for every using this type of analogy in any public setting.”

LD Three State Representative Alma Hernandez stated:

“It’s appalling that we have elected officials who continue to use the atrocities of the Holocaust as comparisons to issues they don’t like. I don’t understand how anyone could use the public health measures taken to keep us safe and say it’s like ‘Germany when people on their bodies were tattooed.’ This is disgusting. No one is trying to kill you. No one is selecting you for death because of your religion. Yes, the virus takes lives, but there is no evil here, only tragedy. Public health experts are trying to keep you from dying. This isn’t about ‘freedoms.’ As a Jew and a member of the legislative body who has dealt with this behavior before, I want my colleagues to know it’s offensive and minimizes the horrors so many were forced into. Please stop using the Holocaust to make a point. Holocaust survivors deserve an apology as I’m sure they don’t look down at their tattoo every day and say someone was trying to keep me alive.”

In the aftermath of the comment and the stinging reactions to it, Filmore has made conflicting statements regarding what he said.

Dennis Welch AZ Family reported the LD 16 Representative relayed:

“I don’t run away from my words.”

He then attempted to say that he had not meant to talk about masks but COVID 19 vaccinations.

“No government should have the right or the ability to tell any of its citizens they should have to ingest, inject or drink any serum, and that includes tattooing on their bodies. And then I did make the statement; I make no qualms about it, such as what happened in the 1930s with the German government on some of the citizens.”

However, Roberts and the September 9 edition of Yellow Sheet reported that Filmore said:

“I believe strongly that the negative impact from this in our communities outweighs any public health benefit. In trying to make this point, I used a bad analogy – and I take full responsibility for doing so. I wish to make it absolutely clear that I never meant, in any way, to denigrate or belittle the atrocities of what happened in the Holocaust.”

Whatever Filmore intended, whether it is wearing masks or vaccinations, equating these public health and safety measures with what millions of victims had to endure in the Holocaust is sickening and wrong.

How dare he make the comparison.

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