Anti-Quarantine Protests: Backlash Against the Lockdown
Updated: May 15
We've all been in quarantine for some time now due to the COVID-19 pandemic and people have just about had enough. Recently there have been daily protests on the news in certain states with citizens going against the lockdowns in their areas. These protests have gotten out of hand - not only are people putting themselves at risk but others as well. People are also comparing quarantine and protesting to past historical events that do NOT compare. What are these wrong perceptions of anti-quarantine protests? Let’s get into it.
What Exactly Is Going On?
The past couple of weeks have been full of protests. Starting with a small Facebook group, they eventually led to something much bigger. One of the first protests was in Michigan on April 15th. It was organized through a Facebook group called “Operation Gridlock.” Other states protesting include California, Minnesota, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Tennessee and Washington, and our very own Texas. People have been protesting in their state's capital against their governor’s stay-at-home orders. They are protesting lockdown and they want their states to reopen.
Now, the question you may be wondering is, why are they protesting if America still has the highest number of cases in the world? Many fear that we are heading towards a financial disaster as big as the Great Depression. Many businesses have closed, leading people to worry about how they are going to provide for their families, which is a legitimate reason to worry, but there are other, less legitimate reasons why people are protesting. Some signs have read, “I need a haircut” or “I just want to swim." Others are protesting to go to beaches and parks. It all sounds a little bit unnecessary.
Stephen Moore, the president’s economic adviser, said something that was quite shocking. “I call these people the modern-day Rosa Parks. They are protesting against injustice and a loss of liberties.” He also said in a video chat, “We need to be the Rosa Parks here and protest against these government injustices.” Not only is he encouraging the protests, but he just compared protesters to a Civil Rights icon. How does protesting to open business compare to civil disobedience? As ridiculous as that was, it was not surprising. New York Times staff writer, Nikole Hannah-Jones, explained Moore’s comment by saying, “When people like Stephen Moore make comparisons to Rosa Parks, we should treat it as the cynical, calculated form of race-baiting that it is. Enslavers said they were, in fact, the slaves. Segregationists adopted Civil Rights movement language to fight policies to help black people.” This is a case of people who are not oppressed but are acting like they are. What comes next is even worse.
Many signs stating, “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery,” were held in protests. This quote by Thomas Jefferson does not apply to this situation whatsoever. Protesters have said that the government has taken their freedom and violated their constitutional rights. To even think for one second that this situation compares to slavery is absolutely insane, insensitive, harmful, and just plain wrong. This is when protests become a mockery. We have freedom. If we didn’t, people would not be able to protest in the first place. Too many citizens aren't taking this virus seriously and are comparing shutdowns and quarantine to slavery. Let that sink in.
There are people who still believe that Coronavirus is not real and that the state government has taken their freedom and is making them live in fear, causing more problems. This has gotten way out of hand - it’s even gone as far as people protesting with guns. It doesn’t help that the president of our country is encouraging all of this behavior by tweeting, “LIBERATE MINNESOTA! LIBERATE MICHIGAN! LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!"
What started as a worry for the economy is now a mockery of history and historical figures. Protesting at this time is dangerous and reckless, as it only takes one person to spread the virus. As states begin to reopen, we expect COVID-19 cases to spike. Do your part by staying home, washing your hands, and staying safe!