During World War II, as United States industry turned its attention to manufacturing military equipment and food was needed to feed troops, Americans were forced to do without – or, at least, to do less. Tires, cars, fabric, and certain home goods were hard to come by; most food were rationed.
I wasn’t alive then, but I have a feeling people weren’t storming their state houses, armed and furious at the gross violation of their civil rights.
Then, there was agreement that we as a nation were united against a common enemy, and whether you loved or hated FDR, his message for the entirety of his wartime leadership was one of unity underpinned by a singular desire to bring peace to the people he knew he existed to serve (and no, he wasn’t perfect. He cheated on his wife and had the blood of those aboard the MS St. Louis on his hands).
Things are a little different here in 2020. Some 80 years later, when most people have never seen an iron lung and find the idea of losing a child to diseases now preventable through routine vaccination protocols, I’m not sure there is even agreement that COVID 19 is a common enemy, and of all the things that are important to the person in the Oval Office, “promoting unity” is on the list right below “stop groping women” and “read a book.”
We as a country have become a spoiled, indulged toddler whining for candy in the grocery store line. We can not tolerate a moment’s discomfort; we are impatient and intolerant of anything that stands between us and instant gratification. We so take for granted the relative ease and privilege of our lives that being asked to stay at home is, for some, a burden of such oppressive dimensions it warrants screaming at law enforcement officers, health care workers, and elected officials – all of whom have no motive other than to – wait for it – keep people safe.
Selfish fucking bastards.
What is even more difficult to stomach is the staggering hypocrisy of so many protesters, armed with their placards invoking the Constitution and insisting with the hollow self-righteousness of someone who has never actually read the Constitution that their personal freedoms have been abridged.
It’s probably not even worth mentioning that these protestors believe absolutely in their right to do so, even though these demonstrations force local governments to deploy law enforcement personnel to make sure things don’t get out of hand (and how could they, with this reasonable group of rabid, gun-toting zealots?) and, in at least on case, blocked access to a hospital. Thank god they’re not like that asshole Colin Kaepernick who disrupted traffic and required an armed police presence – at taxpayer expense – every time he took a knee at an NFL GAME.
Selfish fucking bastard.
But it’s about civil rights! Those inalienable rights articulated by our founders in the Bill of Rights. The same rights that guarantee freedom from unlawful search and seizure, and from cruel and unusual punishment. The same rights that guarantee equal protection under the law (okay, that came a little later). But they’re our rights, and NO one can take them away from us!!
Which is why these protesters had nothing but praise for LeBron James when he exercised his right to free speech by wearing a T-shirt at practice that said, “I can’t breathe,” or why they applauded Megan Rapinoe when she took a knee to protest the treatment of the LGBTQ Community in the United States.
And, of course, these protesters would never have supported GOP lawmakers who sought to institute stricter limitations on public demonstrations in the wake of more vocal and frequent protests in the Black Community intended to raise awareness about police brutality. Civil rights are civil rights, no matter what color you are.
But the protestors say, we have to lift all “shut down” orders so the economy can reset, so herd immunity can do its job and kill all the sick old people (because we don’t need them anyway), and so everyone can get a damn haircut.
Okay. You want to lift the quarantine? Let’s do it. As of this minute, all businesses can reopen, people can return to work, and anyone who wants a haircut can get a haircut. Protesters want the right to
Go shopping or out to dinner or bowling or to a strip club? You got it! Orders lifted! All of those businesses can reopen!
Happy now? No? How come?
Because some hair stylists, waitstaff, or other service providers don’t want to be exposed to your nasty germs, and won’t return to work?
Guess what? That’s THEIR civil rights, and you don’t get to decide what they get to do.
Even if you’re a spoiled, indulged, impatient toddler.
Selfish fucking bastards.