Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
For the last couple of weeks, a small but loud minority of Americans have held nationwide protests against the nation-wide stay-at-home orders. Many of these protests featured signs calling out local and national politicians, denying the severity of the situation and demanding the economy to re-open. Most of these protestors rally outside of state government buildings and stay there for hours on end, blaring horns and shouting.
I sympathize with these protestors’ economic concerns as it is true the economy is tanking due to the virus. Unemployment numbers have skyrocketed and the American economy’s well-being is up in the air. But where I disagree with the protestors is on the matter of them going outside, leaving their homes and gathering in large groups.
The virus, for the last three months, has swept across the nation, causing many governors to shut down everything but essential services in their state. Shutting down everything is no easy task, especially when closing the largest and wealthiest economy in the world. But the reason these governors shut down in the first place was to prevent the spread of infection. The Center for Disease Control and many top experts have promoted social distancing for a reason: to stop infection. Social distancing requires us to minimize or outright cease our social interactions in order to prevent the spread of the virus. These protests go directly against what the experts have been telling us, mostly due to the fact that they do not care or consider the opinions of said experts.
It is wrong for protestors to leave their home and gather in tight formation to protest state lock-downs.It is pointless and dangerous to be protesting a policy that is known to succeed. For instance look at New York City, the city was the epicenter of the epidemic and just last week the USNS Comfort left New York and new infections have declined. I shall say that their concerns are understandable, but leaving the isolation of their homes does not just endanger them and their families, but the rest of the United States too. With more protests going on, less people are staying inside, thus increasing the risk of infection which will worsen the ongoing crisis. There is no doubt that more infection equals more deaths, which equals longer shutdowns and a longer period of time until we can start back the economy. By not limiting our interactions we risk an even worse recession and an even worse future.
If these protests must protest then I ask them to voice their concerns at home. Modern technology has enabled us to connect with each other digitally over social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am not saying these protestors should stop protesting, but if they are angered or concerned by the stay at home orders, they should write to their state legislators and congressmen or share and advocate for their viewpoints online. By doing this, protestors are not just expressing themselves, but also saving lives and helping eradicate this virus.
In the words of Mokokoma Mokhonoana, “Solving some problems requires less than half the energy or time it took to complain about them.”