Rantz: Anger as Seattle Councilmember Herbold trivializes PTSD with bizarre claim

Seattle News

Seattle Councilmember Lisa Herbold. (Seattle Channel)

Some people living with post-traumatic stress disorder are angry and annoyed with incumbent Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold for claiming she suffered “severe PTSD” after losing the fight over the job-killing Amazon head tax.

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When asked about the failure of the head tax by blogger Erica Barnett, Herbold claimed she had “severe PTSD talking about the employee hours tax for the first year after the repeal…”

Herbold does not have “severe PTSD” at all.

Indeed, council communications director Dana Robinson-Slote explained to MyNorthwest that “Councilmember Herbold was speaking in a figurative and not literal manner.”

This is an interesting misstep for a progressive social justice councilmember — to diminish the plight of actual PTSD sufferers by pretending she’s as much of a victim as them? It’s also a bizarre way to cast herself as the victim when Herbold put herself in this position. She’s not a victim; her constituents were.

The head tax was never a popular idea. Internal polling was damning — and it was ignored. Herbold, ignoring her constituents, pushed forward with the head tax anyway. Only after it was clear a referendum of the idea would have killed it, did the Council begrudgingly repeal the legislation. Herbold had many excuses why the public didn’t rally alongside her; not once did she make a meaningful attempt to admit her position was the wrong one. We just weren’t smart enough to see it her way.

People who say they suffer from actual PTSD weren’t happy with the insensitive, casual remark by Herbold. Some came to me, others I went to directly, in order to better understand the anger towards Herbold for trivializing a serious issue.

“If they’re experiencing truly severe PTSD as a result of a tax, unless there was some crazy extenuating circumstances, I would think they’re of such limited emotional maturity and internal fortitude that any opinion they might have about basically anything is questionable,” one former Seattle activist told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. She experienced trauma after coming out to her parents. “I dated a former ranger and yeah I’m sure he would have much rather been discussing tax laws than to have been fighting in Kandahar.”

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She called Herbold’s comment “dramatically off color… It’s really tacky.” But she did acknowledge that “anyone with severe PTSD is probably so wrapped up in coping with terrible, terrible trauma they’re not going to really care much” about Herbold. “But the people around them who support them… are going to be perturbed to pitchfork-and-torch[es].”

One Seattle law enforcement officer slammed the remark as “self-important” nonsense. He lives with PTSD after a traumatic experience on the job.

“I can’t grasp that one. Talking about a tax?” the officer explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “And ‘severe’? Are you kidding? How much sleep did you lose? How many relationships did you ruin and how much booze did it cause you to drink.”

He called the comments “frustrating” and doubted Herbold would clarify her remarks. He was right.

Herbold ignored multiple requests for comment.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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