Right now, 21 states are experiencing increases in average daily new cases of coronavirus, and public health experts are warning us that there could be another wave at some point.
If that happens, there will be new lockdown orders—and the media is going to applaud those. But why should we listen? Why should we believe them? And why should we obey?
They’ve been wrong about so much.
First, they said don’t wear a mask. Now, wearing a mask is noble. We were told that COVID-19 was spread by asymptomatic carriers. Now, the World Health Organization suggests that might be “very rare.” This is a novel virus, so some of the confusion is understandable. The larger problem is that we no longer trust that the so-called experts are putting our health first. That’s because the wall between politics and public health has collapsed.
Numerous public health experts encouraged Americans to ignore social distancing guidelines, and take part in the recent police protests. They argued that it was worth it—that the ends justify the means. And this contention was largely cheered on by media outlets that previously shamed people for violating social distancing rules.
We all know that Trump has lost his moral authority, but let’s be honest: He’s not the only one.
One of the reasons that Trump got elected is that almost every institution in America—the media, the church, the police, you name it—has squandered its reputation, too.
In prioritizing social justice over social distancing, our public health experts suggested that public safety can take a back seat to a really important cause.
And who’s to say which causes are important? I think conservatives know the answer to that question. And it ain’t them.
This wouldn't be the first time they’ve encountered a double standard.
As I watched recent police protests and the fawning coverage, I couldn't help but think back to the protests in Michigan and elsewhere against state stay-at-home orders and the negative coverage they garnered. What's the difference? Both are groups of citizens expressing First Amendment rights.
But by and large, the media portrayed the Michigan protests as the handiwork of people who were willing to kill grandma so they could get their hair done. And, no doubt, some of the protesters fit that description.
But what about the people who saw their economic livelihoods going down the drain because of Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s heavy-handed (and, in some cases, seemingly arbitrarily) executive orders? "These protests, you know, in a perverse way, make it likelier that we're going to have to stay in a stay-home posture," Whitmer said of the people protesting her economic shutdown. Interestingly, she was recently photographed kneeling incredibly close to other protesters.
Admittedly, losing your small business because of rules imposed by people whose salary you pay isn’t in the same league as being murdered by people whose salaries you pay to serve and protect. Still, we shouldn’t discount the serious physical and psychological impacts associated with economic loss. Maybe, just like the police demonstrators, they thought their cause was worth taking the risk?
Of course, that opens a can of worms. Since coronavirus started, I’ve lost two uncles and two high school classmates. As far as I know, coronavirus had nothing to do with their deaths. But still, that’s four funerals I didn’t get to attend out of an abundance of caution. Four times I wasn’t able to pay my final respects to friends and family publicly. This sacrifice is tolerable and arguably even noble, but it’s also painful. And what about the people who died alone when hospitals banned visitors—or their loved ones who were told they couldn’t say their last “goodbyes” as a loved one lay dying?
I get it. Peaceful protest is enshrined in our Constitution. However, there is no similar right to attend a funeral in a pandemic or sit at a deathbed, much less sunbathe at the beach (although someday, we’re gonna change that law).
But what about other political speech? What about the right to assemble and support a political campaign? Just as protesters might conclude that social distancing rules conveniently undermine their ability to redress past wrongs and pressure the ruling class to change, supporters of Donald Trump might also argue that the stakes are too high to stay home—that supporting the politician of your choice, at a rally, is worth the inherent risk. Once we start making exceptions to stay-at-home orders, who’s to say which causes are important enough to risk it? Again, I think we know the answer to that.
Trumpism has always been fueled, in part, by a belief that the media is unfair. This recent hypocrisy does nothing to disabuse Trumpists of this notion. Nor is the hypocrisy limited to protests and rallies.
Another example of media bias is their portrayal of CHAZ, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. This is an area in Seattle whose anarchists are so hellbent on defunding the police that they literally chased an entire precinct out, with its tail between its legs.
As was the case in Michigan, there are examples of guns being carried openly. In Michigan, this was generally portrayed as both dangerous and intimidating. Although there are conflicting reports of what is actually happening in CHAZ, KUOW reporter Casey Martin tweeted a photo of one man holding an AR-15.
I’m old enough to remember when talk of secession was taboo. Statues and military bases named after Confederate generals were an affront not only because their side wanted slavery, but also because they were traitors to America. But you don’t have to go back hundreds of years to find the accusation of secession weaponized as unpatriotic and evil. This resurfaced during the Tea Party era when, as FactCheck.org reports, “The Obama team falsely suggests Texas Gov. Rick Perry advocated secession.”
Maybe the negative connotation is finally hitting home on the left, as there is now a movement to rename the four-block area CHOP, for Capitol Hill Organized (or Occupied) Protest. (What is it about progressives constantly choosing slogans and names they can’t actually defend?)
We live in the divided states of America. One man’s secession is another man’s “sanctuary city.” The ends justify the means. Enduring principles have been cast aside.
The only question that matters is this: Which tribe is yours?