Who are these people protesting lockdown? Ordinary Americans: ‘We want to work’

by WorldTribune Staff, April 20, 2020

Demonstrations against state governments’ coronavirus lockdowns have erupted in recent days in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Protest at the state capitol in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. /YouTube

In Pennsylvania, the state legislature passed a bill that would order much of the state re-opened much sooner that Gov. Tom Wolf had called for. More protests are planned in the Keystone State this week.

“There they go again, ordinary Americans denying science and refusing to defer to their betters.” Ordinary Americans are protesting to re-open the economy and facing “only contempt from elites,” William McGurn noted in an April 20 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

Who are the lockdown protesters?

“These protesters aren’t rich or privileged,” says Stephen Moore, an economic adviser to President Donald Trump. “Most are folks living paycheck to paycheck or small-business owners seeing their livelihoods destroyed, and they are the ones who are bearing the crushing burden of the lockdown in their states.”

Moore said he formed an organization, Save Our Country, to help them ensure their voices are heard.

The protesters are commonly portrayed in the corporate media “as putting profits over public health,” McGurn noted. But, “these are hardly wealthy investors worried about their portfolios. Unlike the roughly one-third of Americans who can work at home and still draw paychecks, for most Americans the lockdowns are more than an inconvenience. And the urgency of reopening looks very different for the 22 million American workers who have just lost their jobs — or the 1 in 4 small-business owners who, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, say they are two months or less away from shutting down permanently.”

The protesters are “for the most part simply struggling Americans who have concluded that — at least for them —the cure is turning out to be worse than the disease,” McGurn wrote.

“Some are folks who fear a permanent expansion of government and worry when they hear leaders such as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy saying that constitutional considerations about lockdown measures are ‘above my pay grade.’ Others are troubled by the First Amendment implications of politicians shutting down churches.”

McGurn continued: “The do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do behavior of those imposing these rules isn’t boosting trust in authorities, either, whether it be Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot going out to get her hair done or New York Mayor Bill de Blasio being driven to his gym even as they were imploring everyone else to stay home.”

On Monday Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg told George Stephanopoulos on ABC News that Facebook now classifies “a lot of the stuff” protesters are saying as “harmful misinformation” — and that Facebook will “take that down.”

McGurn noted that “Feeding the sense of grievance is not just the lockdowns but the way they have been imposed. Start with the overkill. This includes sheriff’s deputies arresting a paddle boater alone in the ocean off Malibu, California, city officials in San Clemente filling a popular skateboarding park with 37 tons of sand, and various states restricting big-box retailers from selling ‘nonessential items,’ which means that you can get three scoops of chocolate chip from your local ice-cream shop but God forbid Home Depot sell you a bag of mulch.”

As for the charge that the protesters are anti-science? “Surely we could all use a little more modesty,” McGurn wrote. “Any honest appraisal would have to concede there is much that scientists have gotten wrong (the many models whose estimates of, say, deaths and ventilators needed proved wildly off), and much we still don’t know (the true lethality of Covid-19, the average number an infected person will infect, and so on).”

The anti-lockdown protests “remain relatively small. But they do expose the elite disconnect with ordinary America,” McGurn wrote.

A recent New York magazine article captured the condescension and lack of empathy when it declared the protests are probably “going to spread nearly as rapidly as the coronavirus itself in the rich soil of anti-government subcultures where it’s widely accepted that ‘tyrants’ are exploiting the emergency to impose their godless socialist views on freedom-loving but fearful Americans.”

McGurn concluded: “A better sense of this subculture might be the words chanted by Kentucky protesters outside their governor’s office last week. Their outrageous message? ‘We want to work.’ ”

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