Bureaucratic health officials who, only months ago, no one knew existed have thrown their weight around with excessive and constitutionally questionable health directives that have greatly infringed upon the personal and family lives of others. One shouldn’t be shocked that protestors might find their way to the health officer’s home addresses to peacefully assemble and speak freely from the public sidewalk. But apparently, some are shocked.
The Montana Daily Gazette has written extensively about a handful of health officers representing county health boards who have served as the only standing weapon of Governor Steve Bullock against dissenters of his mask edicts, with the exception of CPS and DPHHS who are aggressively going after conscientous objectors. Although most county health officials in Montana have acted with restraint and concern for the balance between health and liberty, a half dozen or so health officers have been downright draconian. Matt Kelley of Bozeman in Gallatin County is in the latter category.
The Montana Daily Gazette has covered Kelley’s Napoleonic control over Gallatin residents since the COVID coup d’etat began. Kelley recently limited peaceful assembly to 25 peaceful assemblers at a time. He also closed businesses at several hours earlier than their ordinary operating schedule, ostensibly under the idea that COVID-19 spreads worse after 10PM. He has repeatedly asked that businesses “make sacrifices” for him, just as business-owners have just started recovering from the Phase 1 shutdown which, any reasonable person, would admit was ill-timed or altogether unnecessary.
Kelley’s famously white-knuckled clench on unelected power includes him deriding the Vice President of the United States for meeting in Gallatin County without getting his permission first. By all intents and purposes, it seems that Matt Kelley personifies everything over-handed and strong-armed about America’s misguided COVID-19 response.
And predictably, some citizens are outraged enough to gather politely, respectfully, and peacefully outside his home. Montana’s outside-owned, liberal media calls it “harassment.” Perhaps they can think of it as Kelley just “making a sacrifice” for liberty.
Ironically, more than 25 people gathered on behalf of Kelley to protest the counter-protestors over the weekend. According to the Bozeman Chronicle, nearly 60 people gathered to support Kelley outside of his home.
Lei-Anna Bertelsen (pictured left) organized the counter-protest and said, “No government official or their family should have to endure threatening behavior, especially when they are doing their job well.”
She continued with some factually unsupported claims, including, “Wearing masks, social distancing and reducing in-person gatherings are common-sense actions we can all take to make sure everyone can gather for the holidays in 2021.”
There is no empirical data that suggests wearing masks, social distancing, or canceling holidays has any notable or significant impact on stopping COVID-19 or other similar airborn pathogens. The urban legend regarding masks and social distancing seems to have originated with politicians of a particular worldview persuasion and has been picked up by lower-level health officials around the nation in a case of “science following politics.”
Meanwhile, Kelley is busy prompting Gallatin County to sue Rocking R Bar for being open past what Kelley apparently thinks is their bedtime and some of those patrons were among the protestors outside Kelley’s house.
Reveling in the attention as someone who in the pre-COVID world was an unknown, mid-level bureaucrat, Kelley glowingly said to the press, “I’m doing what I’m doing, but teachers every day are going into classrooms, some of them with underlying health conditions, and standing in front of 20, 25 noses and mouths. That’s pretty heroic.”
In Kelley’s logic, it is not heroic for a single mom or working father to go to work in the service industry after 10PM. That type of heroism is only reserved for public employees living off of tax revenue.