Surpassing week nine of the lockdowns in some states, the paper-thin patience for our government and our politicians looks to start collapsing the borderline tyrannical lockdowns. Our leader’s credibility dwindles with every press conference and patriotic acts of civil disobedience threaten the structural integrity of the lockdowns. As America crawls toward re-emerging, these acts of civil disobedience must continue calling politicians bent on eternal lockdowns on their bluffs. While not encouraging ticker-tape parades and beach raves, the lockdowns wore out their purpose weeks ago and a sense of normalcy must be re-instated carefully but diligently, as proven possible in Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Civil disobedience will be the key to punishing politicians for their arbitrary power grabs and ridiculous extensions of lockdowns.
Politicians tend to forget how distinctly liberty-loving Americans can be. Our founding documents flaunts our individual rights to liberty and the “land of the free” moniker leads to a patriotic sense of arrogance in Americans, which results in massive undertakings of government power rarely go over well. Reflected ideologically, our entire system of governance revolves around checks and balances on itself to prevent overreaches of power. Since no human can achieve aptitude capable of running a perfect society, the constant tension between branches of government prevents the sovereignty of an inherently flawed (or malicious) group amassing dangerous amounts of power.
Local institutions engage in the same fashion. Dutiful defiance of government by those whose consent allows the government to organize our lives defines the American spirit, fueled by the embers of the Revolutionary War itself. As we view the hallmarks of American defiance like the Boston Tea Party or the Declaration of Independence in such a light of nobility, the same light should be held upon the view of modern examples against the lockdowns of equal tyranny. When states get to deem what constitutes an “essential worker or business” (while burying small businesses in federal debt), diminish religious freedom by closing churches, and arrest those who don’t comply while releasing violent criminals onto the streets with no transparent roadmap, civil disobedience becomes a civic obligation.
Thankfully, many Americans understand this. Businesses across the nation, flying in the face of state orders, continue to open their doors as they should, rendering politician’s authority over lockdowns weaker and weaker by the day. In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy threatened Atilis Gym, “If you show up at that gym again tomorrow, there’s going to be a different reality than showing up today, These aren’t just words.” After re-opening against the state’s orders, the Democratic governor asserted “We’ve got to enforce this, but I also don’t want to start World War III.”
Running at only 20% capacity and taking numerous preventive measures including temperature checks, the officer sent to shut them down took notice, telling the crowd “We are and only were here for everybody’s safety today. We planned for the worst and hoped for the best, and it seems like that’s what we have out here today.” To the sound of ravenous cheering, he ended by saying “Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order. On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe.”
In California, one of the strictest states in their lockdowns, Elon Musk re-opened the Fremont, California, Tesla plant, tweeting “Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.” Threatening to relocate his operations to Nevada or Texas, Alameda County Health Department officials caved, stating “We have agreed that Tesla can begin to augment their Minimum Business Operations this week in preparation for possible reopening as soon as next week”
Even when we broaden out to a national scope, fatigue plagues the lockdowns. Apple data shows levels of walking and driving approaching pre-COVID-19 levels, highlighting the steady decline in obedience. Lame, drawn-out lockdowns have exhausted Americans as politicians pile on frivolous guidelines like Los Angeles extending mask requirements to everywhere outside or inside and multiple states shutting down public parks and beaches despite increasing public area ensures easier social distancing with the unmatched circulation of the outdoors, where chances of infection drop significantly as compared to being indoors. For some inexplicable reason, some California beaches allow running and walking but prohibit biking.
Politicians seem to expect blind faith from their citizens in these lockdowns under the guise of public health but, the truth is, people follow their laws for three reasons and three reasons only. Either the people believe the law is good or the government bribes or threatens them. Bribery doesn’t apply here since such bribery of 328 million Americans would be absurd and plainly impossible. Faith in the lockdowns’ purpose has dwindled over the past few weeks, as seen by the countless acts of civil disobedience. State Police, such as in Illinois, begun refusing to arrest those who don’t comply under lockdown guidelines, meaning, without a dependable police force, enforcement of the lockdowns become relegated to either begging or bluffing.
And politicians hope their citizens can’t see through it. New York City mayor Bill de Blasio threatened swimmers at New York Beaches by stating “Anyone tries to get in the water, they’ll be taken right out of the water.” De Blasio even tried to weaponized his citizens against those who don’t comply with social distancing, launching an app for people to report gatherings, only to get whacked by genitalia and horribly offensive memes. Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot warned gatherers “We will shut you down. We will cite you and if we need to, we will arrest you and we will take you to jail. Period.” Of course, police officers beginning to resist and people simply disregarding the lockdowns sucks all of the air from these intimidations.
Politicians’ only claim to maintain lockdowns depends entirely on the hysteria of the pandemic. More cases mean more panic and the lockdowns become much easier to impose. So rather than opting for transparency in their reports to accurately portray the situation, states have turned to manufacture terror by artificially boosting death numbers. Colorado had to reduce their death total by nearly three hundred after the Colorado Department of Health and Environment concluded the state’s reporting included those who died with the virus but necessarily from COVID-19. Similarly, Michigan has begun reporting “probable” deaths, defined by the “death certificate lists COVID-19 disease as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death without a positive COVID-19 confirmed lab result,” according to state health spokesperson Lynn Sutfin, a move that could increase death totals by as much as 10%.
In the frenzy, the nation forgot how economically unsustainable politicians designed the lockdowns and only recently have begun experiencing the rude awakening on exactly why the White House’s “15 Days to Slow the Spread” should have guided the lockdowns. With another 2.4 million filings for unemployment last week, total jobless claims now exceed 38 million in the past nine weeks. Millions of livelihoods demolished at the hands of the lockdowns. Over 100,000 small businesses have shut their doors in the United States, about 2% of all small businesses. 3% of all restaurants have also gone out of business. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warns of “permanent damage” to the economy.
The country blew past a breaking point weeks ago, in violation of the promises made. Americans made a pact with the government. For 15 days, we would lock ourselves in our homes, sacrifice a paycheck or two by shutting down our businesses, and remain in near-total isolation to prevent overwhelming the medical system. And we did. But then fifteen days grew into a month. Then six weeks. And now has blossomed into over two months. The people held their side of their bargain. The government failed to complete their half. Civil disobedience no longer can be a choice but a civic duty. Even CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield agrees with re-opening, as long as we continue consistent social distancing and contact tracing guidelines.
While confidence for some may be wary, the trailblazing Georgia, Texas, and most impressively Florida serve as shining examples of re-opening without experiencing any spikes or second waves when done properly. Florida, a state with a population of nearly 22 million, has only 48,814 cases along with 2,233 deaths according to the state health department. Georgia, with a population of 10 million, has 42,242 cases and 1,822 deaths. The 29 million population in Texas had endured 52,268 cases and 1,440 deaths. New York, for comparison, has 359,926 cases and 23,282 deaths in a population of 19 million. Every single death undeniably a tragedy but the statistical disparity exhibits the effectiveness of one approach over the other.
Georgia and Florida also have reopened nearly a month ago while New York barely crawls towards doing the same. Georgia began phase one of their re-opening plan on April 24th and Florida had beaches open back in mid-March as the rest of the nation started shutting everything down. Texas governor Greg Abbott began lifting the lockdowns on March 19th. No spike ever occurred in either state, despite the mainstream media’s clamorings. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s nuanced and targetted approach to lockdowns should be praised and the rest of the nation should follow Florida’s footsteps almost exactly.
If we want to accurately gauge how seriously governments should impose lockdowns, we first have to understand the virus only poses severe threats to small and specific populations, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions. In England, 95% of deaths had underlying conditions, according to England’s National Health Services. According to the European CDC, the United States has a 6% death rate but 65+ account for around 80% of all deaths. Keep in mind, the numbers are a tad fuzzy due to shoddy reporting by states like Colorado and the fact more people have had it than we have numbers on, as suggested by New York City study back in April that found 1 in 5 people had antibodies, meaning they already had the virus and their bodies already built antibodies to fight it off.
Under this pretense, we must protect our most vulnerable but, for the average healthy adult, the virus rarely will result in death or even, as the New York City antibody study suggests, hospitalizations. Our lockdowns should reflect this and Florida’s handling comes as close to perfection as we can get. Democrats keep hammering a technocratic perception of science to lead the nation but, since perversely omitted from the media, Florida has done a better job of any state of that.
Taking a note from South Korea’s and Italy’s experience, DeSantis keyed in on these specific at-risk populations, immediately rushing to protect nursing homes. As New York dropped COVID-19 patients back into nursing homes, the most vulnerable population in any pandemic, Florida banned visitations and the reintroduction of COVID-19 patients to nursing homes to protect the 350,000 state residents and staff members. As for how he felt about a state-mandated lockdown, DeSantis said, “one of the things that bothered me throughout this whole time was, I researched the 1918 pandemic, ’57, ’68, and there were some mitigation efforts done in May 1918, but never just a national-shutdown type deal.”
With the state’s routine natural disasters, Florida’s data infrastructure has a far more sophisticated and thorough emergency status system than nearly every other state. Every morning, the Florida Department of Health compiles a comprehensive report, including new cases, the number of tests, hospital admittances, and ICU usage, among other critical figures. Since brought down to the county level, specific action can be taken at the exact places that demand help, instead of a blanket shutdown resulting in unnecessary economic damage and wasted resources.
“I said from the beginning,” DeSantis explains, “we’re a big, diverse state. The epidemic is not going to affect this state uniformly, and what’s appropriate in Miami and Broward may not be appropriate for Jacksonville or the Panhandle. And that’s pretty much the way we did it.” The state’s order never closed any businesses, along with keeping recreation and daycares open as well. Considering New York suffered thirteen times the number of the cases Florida did and ten times the deaths, the nation must adopt a similar strategy.
Ultimately, we achieved the core purpose of locking down weeks ago. The most glaring misconception of the pandemic, “flattening the curve” does not save lives, rather it can only spread out cases over a longer period of time to prevent overwhelming the medical systems. Without a vaccine or effective treatment, stopping the spread and losing no lives would be virtually impossible. And, seeing as the United States began shipping ventilators out from our overstocked hospitals to other countries in need and a 21 million dollar field hospital in the epicenter of Brooklyn never saw a patient,
But as states continue to refuse to end their lockdowns, defiance in the form of civil disobedience from institutions and citizens alike must push back. Overpreparation only begins to harm once we fail to correct the ship. With the nation staring into the eyes of a Great Depression scale recession, careful re-opening must start picking up, whether or not the government complies. American government foundationally operates under the consent of the governed and extensions of lockdowns no longer deserve our consent, regardless of politician’s bluffs.
Instead, we must call them out. Go right at their arbitrary power grabs and take back our civil liberties and our economy. Obviously, not without care for our most vulnerable, but Florida proved both can be achieved simultaneously. Wear the mask. Stay six feet apart. Re-open our economy. The time to go right at tricklings of tyranny is here.