Old man winter has apparently decided to give a bonus round of snow and in the process decided to invite the entire State of Washington to the party. This has led to some unusual weather in the Seattle area which is getting more snow than we are and has created some interesting visuals like beaches covered in snow.
Back before the advent of social media, we could call this the great blizzard of 2019 and pack away stories in our minds for the next 40 years to tell our kids that we went to school by walking uphill both directions in a snow drift.
Instead of enjoying this fun spate of winter weather with our NE Washington Paul Bunyan pioneer spirit, it appears that some people are more interested in dancing in the snow at the thought of liberals suffering on the west side of the state.
I knew something was up when I posted a story on our newspaper’s Facebook page about Governor Jay Inslee declaring a state of emergency for the entire state because of the impending snowpocalypse.
What followed was a small football team of commentors calling Inslee an idiot since it “was just winter, dummy.”
Then the storm hit. There was a laundry list of closed roads all across the state, even Highway 395 had some shutdowns because of the snow, and this week will probably be a musical chairs of cancelled and rescheduled events.
I’m still waiting to see if those commentors want to chime in on the supposed lack of emergency when there are photos of semi-trucks laid up on I-90 like some end-of-the-world movie “Planet of the Snowmen.”
But if there is one pastime we like more than anything, it’s making fun of the west side when a snow storm hits there. While I’m all for giving Seattle a good ribbing for their hatred of plastic straws, plastic bags, guns and good major league baseball teams… don’t we have better things to do than gawk at multiple west side car accidents because of the snow?
Now having lived on the west side for a few years (making me a closet snowflake), I can see why it would be such a mess when it snows. I don’t really buy into this glee considering it’s an area that is still part of our own state and populated by human beings.
If you want to react with glee over dangerous conditions for liberals, you need your head checked. This goes for the fires down in California, tornados and hurricanes in the southern region of the country and forest fires in red states like Montana. I’m not sure why it’s okay to hope for bodily harm against someone who voted differently than you.
That kind of thought process doesn’t even hold up in its failed logic. It might come as a shock to some people who, much like hobbits in Lord of the Rings, have never left the Shire of Stevens County, but there are large swaths of Republican counties on the west side. Are we cheering on their doom as well?
(Lewis County is basically Stevens County west, and I’m presenting a resolution to the commissioners soon so we can become sister counties and share elk-hunting tips.)
The thought is, the western snowflakes can’t handle snowflakes, right? Incorrect.
The west side has a wetter climate and usually warmer conditions. This means no one bothers with snow tires, and local government entities probably don’t have a fleet of snowplows to sand and plow the roads. It is also wetter over on the west side, meaning that the freezing rain we’re deathly afraid of over here blankets their roads like icing.
On top of this, traffic is way different. While I may have to brave a few inches of snow on my way to work around Chewelah, I’m going to see like three cars along the way. This makes it much easier to drive since I don’t have to quickly accelerate or stop on a dime in traffic.
In western Washington, there are a lot more cars and a lot more people. They also don’t get the early season tutorial of small snow storm after small snow storm to get used to their car’s handling in the snow like we do.
And have you driven in downtown Seattle? I know San Francisco gets all the hype for its steep, hilled streets, but there are roller coaster roads I have a hard time stopping on in perfect conditions, much less ice-slicked streets.
It’s easy for us to laugh when Chewelah and other Eastern Washington towns sit on a valley floor. If you have a steep driveway, however, you know the insanity of going down some of these streets.
This is a new thing for me: sections of the country cheering on the plight of another section of the country with different political leanings. It doesn’t even make sense considering no place is completely Republican or Democrat. Stevens County is as red as they come and 25 percent of voters still vote blue. That’s a lot of your neighbors, friends and family. These demographics are flipped in say, King County, but guess what? Over 200,000 people still voted for President Trump in the 2016 election in the Seattle area. That’s the population of Spokane.
(My other job writing for Loggers World exposes me to a large number of west-side loggers and log truck drivers. It’s not just man buns and lattes over there.)
While living on the west side in 2015 when those harrowing wildfires struck this area fast and furious, there was no cheering or celebration that Repubs were getting owned. Now a little snow causing dangerous conditions nowhere comes close to the dangers of huge wildfires, but nobody was laughing and saying we can’t handle fires over here.
My employers were more than willing, with no questions asked, to let me take some time off work to head over here as the evacuation zones creeped closer and closer to my family’s home.
For those people who just see Republican or Democrat for every, single occurance … I might recommend going to a spa, taking a vacation, perhaps going to some kind of yoga class. Unwind from the social media that declares the end of the world is near thanks to Nancy Pelosi or Donald Trump. Remember, the U.S. survived a Whiskey Rebellion – so I think we’ll be okay.
The faulty “R or D and no inbetween” thought process is somehow perpetuating that people on the west side are always plotting to get us. Sure, Washington government is always sneaky in the way they try to tax everything (still waiting for a snow storm tax from Governor Inslee), but I wouldn’t say every west side person is a Democrat. The bulk of the population is more or less indifferent to the east side. Although they might even look longingly over here for a place to retire.
That is not to say the indifference is good, as out-of-touch laws that heavily effect us but mean little to the metro areas over there are infuriating. Still we shouldn’t be hoping somebody’s Nissan
Leaf plows into a semi-truck trailer because of Jay Inslee’s statements or what our legislators voted on.
If you think this is a defense of the west side, it isn’t. It’s a stressful rainy mess sometimes over there.
What I’m getting at here is when these weather events or natural disasters hit, bringing politics into the matter doesn’t help anyone. We’re all part of a country or a state – and we have our differences – and whatever happened to just being decent human beings?
Besides, Seattle is getting an NHL team here soon. They’ll get used to ice soon enough.
(BRANDON HANSEN/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)