Credibility of lockdown partisans strained after endorsing mob violence

by WorldTribune Staff, July 10, 2020

Since coronavirus lockdown orders were first imposed, mostly Democrat politicians and their leftist allies in the media instructed Americans that they must adhere to the new normal of wearing face masks in public, social distancing, and generally not enjoying life.

Some on the Left, such as View co-host Joy Behar, boasted about driving around looking for people not wearing masks in public so they could snitch on them.

Social distancing was in short supply when Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer marched with protesters. / YouTube

Then came Black Lives Matter and the riots and looting that followed. Thousands of so-called protesters packed together, screaming, some not wearing masks. The same politicians and media who pushed lockdown orders embraced the new normal-violating mob.

“Governors of states with some of the tightest coronavirus restrictions, including Democrats Phil Murphy of New Jersey, Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan and Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, joined the protests in early June, wearing masks but not always social distancing, as shown in photos, Valerie Richardson noted in a July 8 report for The Washington Times.

“With little social distancing, Whitmer marches with protesters,” said a June 4 headline in the Detroit News.

Credibility. Gone.

“The same supposed so-called experts who tried every scare tactic in the world to say that if you take a step outside, you’re going to kill everybody’s grandparents, and all of these draconian restrictions are necessary — they then went and literally participated in protest events with massive, massive crowds of thousands of people,” Phil Kerpen, president of the free-market advocacy group American Commitment, told The Washington Times.

For three weeks, Seattle officials allowed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) to hold a six-block area of the city that included Cal Anderson Park.

Seattle-based lawyer Shella Sadovnik told The Washington Times that she still isn’t allowed to take her child to the local playground.

“Apparently, my toddler is much more dangerous [than protesters],” said Sadovnik. “I guess all the law-abiding people have to be subject to all these restrictions, but if you’re protesting and looting and rioting, that’s OK, you don’t spread coronavirus.”

Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, an associate professor at UCLA’s Geffen School of Medicine, called it the “the coronavirus credibility gap.”

“[P]olitical leaders and health officials have sown distrust by politicizing the pandemic response,” Dr. Ladapo said in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “Political leaders and health officials have often invoked ‘science’ to justify decisions manifestly guided by their personal preferences. That costs them credibility.”

More than 1,200 public health experts, doctors and activists in a May 30 letter urged authorities to support the protests, saying that “white supremacy is a lethal public health issue.”

Kerpen wasn’t convinced: “They defended it on the basis that their political objections were more important than the public health claims they had been making about everyone else just moments before. And then when that story fizzled and was no longer on the front page, they went right back to the same draconian demands, as if it hadn’t even happened.”

Richardson noted that the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) brought up Nevada Gov. Steve’s Sisolak’s participation in a June 19 Black Lives Matter protest in a challenge to the Democrat’s reopening order on churches.

Under the order, churches cannot hold services with more than 50 attendees even though restaurants, casinos and theme parks have been allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity, which the ADF described as a disparate treatment.

“What’s funny about all this is that we have a First Amendment right under the free-exercise clause to practice our religion in churches,” said ADF senior counsel John Bursch. “The Constitution does not protect your right to gamble at a casino, to eat at a restaurant, to frolic at a theme park, and yet those are the activities that are being given preferential treatment under the governor’s order.”

A federal judge in Las Vegas rejected the request for an injunction, noting in a June 23 ruling that the state gambling authority had imposed even stricter rules on casinos by requiring gamblers to wear masks, undercutting the church’s “selective enforcement” argument.

“Plaintiff’s requested relief would require the court to engage in potentially daily or weekly decisions about public health measures that have traditionally been left to state officials and state agencies with expertise in this area,” U.S. District Judge Richard Boulware II said.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit upheld the ruling, prompting the ADF to file Wednesday an emergency application with the Supreme Court on behalf of Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley, which pointed to the governor’s attendance at an “unlawful protest” in Carson City.

“The governor has not only allowed but participated in protest marches in recent days where thousands of people were getting together in close proximity without distancing, without masks, and he didn’t seem to have any problem with that, either,” said Bursch. “You put all that together, and it certainly does start to feel like churches are being intentionally singled out for mistreatment.”

A photo of the rally showed the governor wore a face mask, although others at the protest did not.

In Seattle, Sadovnik said her organization, the Freedom Foundation, has been working overtime to represent businesses and individuals challenging the state’s restrictions.

The foundation filed a lawsuit against Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s “no mask, no service” order on Tuesday, the same day the mandate went into effect, arguing that the state is “essentially compelling [residents] to support junk science in violation of their freedom of conscience.”

The lawsuit cited a May 21 study in the New England Journal of Medicine that said wearing cloth masks outside a health-care facility “offers little, if any, protection from infection,” while the Democratic governor argued that the mandate would protect public health.

“This is something that can save lives,” Inslee said. “There is nothing in the constitution that says people should die of a virus. It’s just not there. And anybody can file a lawsuit, but so far courts have upheld.”

Aaron Withe, national director of the Freedom Foundation, told The Washington Times that the order was particularly galling given Inslee’s treatment of protesters and rioters.

“The face-covering directive is the definition of government overreach,” said Withe. “If people choose to wear a mask, that’s their choice. But Inslee is going after otherwise law-abiding citizens when there are rioters destroying Washington cities such as Seattle with no punishment in sight.”

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