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The politics of protesting

This may fall under the category of too dumb to live. I understand people who live on faith, wishful thinking and plain greed. I understand that some people don’t believe in facts and science. But it seems that even Fox News and other right-wing “news” media acknowledge the amount of infections and deaths from the highly contagious coronavirus. That said, how can the demonstrators screaming about lifting the stay at home orders believe that the virus is a hoax, a mild case of the flu, or a Democratic plot to oust the president.

So the next question is why are the few morons who are protesting with their M16s still willing to endanger not only themselves, but their parents, children, grandparents and others? The answer is that these demonstrators are political actors listening to the dog whistles of a president (and his right-wing funders), who will say and do anything to get re-elected. In addition, they are goaded and disseminate the mis-information posted on social media sites by Chinese and Russian state actors.

Forget their religious or patriotic convictions. They are smart enough to have heard about the Golden Rule, and if they haven’t read the Constitution at least they have seen examples of prudent government regulations. The reason they are carrying guns is simple, most of them are bought and paid for by far right groups and are Second Amendment zealots. Do you open up the economy by shooting people, perhaps doctors, nurses, policemen, and others? Perhaps they have small hands like the president or are hunting for those sneaky viruses.

Forget about their knowledge of economics and the disaster which would occur if we open too early and a second wave epidemic occurs. Perhaps it is too much to ask that they should look at recent and past studies which show that after the 1918 flu epidemic those areas that shut down earlier and opened later showed dramatically better economic results than other parts of the country (the latest study was three weeks ago by MIT). Forget about the fact that a large majority of their fellow citizens (80% according to recent polls), are very worried that the restrictions will be lifted prematurely. They don’t care.

Everyone wants to reopen the nation. We all know that different areas will have different timetables. That isn’t the issue. The question of when to do so must be predicated on the best medical and scientific advice based on the ability to do large scale testing. I could point out Trump’s failures and his contradictions, his lies and twitterings about testing and “liberating” three Democratic-governed states in direct contravention to his medical advisors’ guidance and the executive order in effect, but why bother. If the American people don’t realize by now what this president is like they never will. He is promoting policies which he knows will kill Americans.

His contempt for those lives was echoed by his conservative Supreme Court majority, which ruled, in a “decision which boggles the mind”, (Justice Ginsberg’s dissent) that the Wisconsin election should not be postponed. As of last week seven cases have been directly attributed to people exercising their most basic civic responsibility.

As I was contemplating the reasons for these yahoos’ armed parades with Confederate flags flying I started to think of Dan Patrick’s, (the deputy governor of Texas) remarkable news conference a few weeks ago. He suggested that as an older man he and other grandparents would be willing to die so the rest of the country could get back to work. Of course, there were only 800 cases and five deaths in Texas at the time, whereas there are now 20,000 cases and 500 deaths. Maybe he should have volunteered at a hospital to replace a younger staffer when the chance of his being infected was lower.

In thinking about Patrick’s comment, endorsed by Fox News commentator Bret Hume, I realized that this theme has some deep philosophical roots. The concept of social Darwinism he suggests is the culling of the herd of those pesky old men and women who might as well die so the protesters can get on with their lives. Hitler also believed in this, with his concept of killing the disabled, enfeebled and non-Arian races.

There is a solution to this problem, although it would be difficult to implement. If you want to violate state stay-at-home laws and intend to parade around with your guns and flags and assemble as you see fit, perhaps you could so as long as you don’t infect others. If you don’t want to wear a mask or socially distance yourself so that your strutting around endangers restaurant servers, health workers, public service employees, my kids and grandparents and the rest of us that is something else. If the latter is the case, all you and your loved ones and the other imbeciles who believe as you do should just sign up to be quarantined in restricted areas where you can interact as much as you want. After all you can’t expect the great majority of the country to accept your antisocial behavior as the norm, and to take the risks arising from it.

Once you settle in you could then go to work, enjoy your guns, go on Spring Break, eat out and have a fine time. If you worry about not being able to find work in your enclave that’s your problem, especially since factories and large and small employers won’t be endangering their employees and customers (and opening themselves up to law suits) by opening until it is medically advisable. Most job seekers and retail customers in the real world are concerned about staying healthy and not infecting their family and their neighbors. I know some nice parts of Idaho, South Dakota and Montana that have lots of space, as well as some rural and metropolitan areas in Alabama, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee.

The president’s contempt for everyone, and his monumental ego, leaves no room in his head for anything other than his lust for re-election. Churning up his base is key, regardless of the advice of all the medical experts in his cabinet and around the world.
I would just ask the protesters if they are willing to sacrifice themselves, the future prosperity of the nation, and their fellow citizens, for four more years of madness at the hands of the most venal, ignorant and incompetent president in our history.


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