What Country Is This? | Letter

What Country Is This? | Letter

Those of us in a certain age bracket remember the cold war and its many atrocities. Most infamous were the Stasi, the brutal East German Secret Police who adopted the Nazi’s psychological warfare tactic of using citizens to spy on, then report their neighbors and friends to the government. It was the communist autocrat’s way to use fear and intimidation to control the citizenry.

Congratulations to Jay Inslee and Bob Ferguson who in a mere two weeks have managed to turn our wonderful State of Washington into their version of East Germany. They have created a new online form to encourage all of us to report our own friends and neighbors who we think might be violating the Governor’s Proclamation against doing business. I want to say that these are unprecedented times and our leaders at all levels of governments, including our governor and attorney general, are doing their very best. I truly believe that. However, this despicable form crosses a line. It is disgusting and shameful. Creating a “tattle tale” culture of vigilante justice is dangerous and evil. It is so reminiscent of Soviet and Fascist policies that it should concern every one of us, young and old, who cherish freedom.

Almost as frightening as the virus itself is the amount of power we have given over to the public officials, local, state and federal and how quickly they have allowed our system to devolve into a near dictatorship that exploits the fear and panic they themselves have helped to create. We are a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The United States and her citizens are extraordinary. We are a resilient people who have overcome tragedy and disasters in the past and will do what we have to do to overcome this one. During this unsteady time, we need kindness, patience, understanding and hope. We need to be trusted to do what is right and make the right choices because in spite of individuals who won’t, we have proven as a whole that we, the citizens, will.

We do not need public servants to turn neighbor against neighbor and usurp our freedom in the name of public good. Jay and Bob, we are going to take care of our friends and neighbors rather than turn against them. We, Americans, Washingtonians, San Juan Islanders are better than that. You should be too.

Lauren Cohen

San Juan Island