Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines
While many Americans are filled with fear, Melissa Ackison says the coronavirus pandemic has filled her with anger.
The stay-at home orders are government overreach, the conservative Ohio state Senate candidate says, and the labeling of some workers as “essential” arbitrary.
“It enrages something inside of you,” said Ackison, who was among those who protested Republican Gov. Mike DeWine’s orders at the statehouse in Columbus with her 10-year-old son.
She has “no fear whatsoever” of contracting the virus, she said Thursday, dismissing it as hype.
The Ohio protest was among a growing number staged outside governors’ mansions and state Capitols across the country, covering red states, blue states and crucial battleground states.
The largely conservative-driven outrage over infringement on inalienable freedom of assembly, religion, gun-ownership, privacy, due-process and other fundamental, constitutional rights could add a new variable into the already unpredictable election season.
In places like Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia, small-government groups, supporters of President Donald Trump, anti-vaccine advocates, gun rights backers and supporters of right-wing causes have united behind a deep suspicion of efforts to shut down daily life to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
As their frustration with life under lockdown grows, they’ve started to openly defy the social distancing rules in an effort to put pressure on governors to ease them.
Some of the protests have been small events, promoted via Facebook groups that have popped up in recent days and whose organizers are sometimes difficult to identify.
The largest so far, a rally of thousands that jammed the streets of Lansing, Michigan, on Wednesday, looked much like one of the president’s rallies—complete with MAGA hats or Trump flags—or one of the tea party rallies from a decade ago.
That movement, often considered a prelude to the contemporary Trumpism, delivered to then-President Barack Obama the largest mid-term upset in modern history dating back at least a century, resulting in a red wave that remained the majority in Congress for the duration of his term.
It could also signal a ray of light for Trump, whose easy coast to victory was derailed, along with the historically bullish U.S. economy, when the long-anticipated pandemic finally bore down a little more than a month ago.
The signs of frustration come as Trump has pushed for easing stay-at-home orders and tried to look ahead to restarting the economy.
He unveiled a framework for governors to follow on Thursday, but acknowledged the governors—for better or worse—will have the final say on when their state is ready.
Health experts have warned that lifting restrictions too quickly could result in a surge of new cases of the virus.
Democrats, likewise, are in no rush to return to normal after having floated ambitious proposals to ramp up absentee voting in November—a move their GOP opponents have dismissed as a ploy to sow chaos and open the door to rampant voter fraud.
But as initial projections from the hysteric, sensationalized media frenzy continued to trend downward, the growing number of “contrarian” resisters hinted at the likelihood that their plan to put the nation on ice could prove a political liability sooner than expected. That, in turn, would foil the latest in an ongoing stream of historically momentous—yet largely engineered—crises designed to winnow the president’s base of support.
Thousands of people in their cars packed the streets of Lansing to protest Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order and other restrictions. Outside the Capitol, some chanted “Lock her up,” a throwback to Trump’s calls during the 2016 election about his rival Hillary Clinton. One woman held a sign reading “Heil Whitmer.”
An even larger protest appeared to be in the works for April 30, in what has been floated as the final date of the White House’s official social-distancing initiative.
Asked about the protesters, Trump on Thursday expressed sympathy with their frustration—“They’re suffering … they want to get back”—and dismissed concerns about the health risks of ignoring state orders and potentially exposing themselves to the virus.
“I think they’re listening. I think they listen to me,” he said. “They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion, and my opinion’s the same as just about all of the governors. Nobody wants to stay shut.”
Whitmer was among the governors who expressed concern about the gatherings, saying it put people at risk and could have prolonged the shutdown.
Michigan had recorded over 2,000 deaths from COVID-19 as of Thursday, and close to 30,000 confirmed cases of people infected with the virus. Roughly one-quarter of the state’s workforce has filed for unemployment.
While conservatives have rallied around the president, though, some of her own party members on Thursday took to attacking the Democrat rising star’s mishandling of Michigan’s pandemic response—in particular, her inconsistent and vastly overreaching stay-at-home orders.
But it’s not just Democratic governors feeling the heat. A procession of cars swarmed around the Republican-dominated statehouse in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, with messages written on windows or signs that said “stop killing our economy,” “we need our church” and “time 2 work.”
A protest Thursday in the Texas capital of Austin, where protesters chanted “Free Texas” and “Make America Free Again,” was broadcast live by InfoWars TV, part of a company owned by radio host Alex Jones.
The Ohio event earlier this week brought together a collection of anti-vaccine advocates, Second Amendment supporters, tea party activists and other small-government activists.
Ackison said that while she views DeWine’s efforts as constitutional overreach, she would be fine if Trump were to act with similar authority to force governors to bring the states back on line.
“As patriots, we put President Trump in office for a reason,” she said. “If he’s not able to give a convincing enough argument to these governors that they need to open up, then he needs to do something to take action.”
In Virginia, where radical leftist Gov. Ralph Northam recently used the social-distancing mandates to pass a sleight of highly controversial bills into law, the once-red state’s dwindling conservative ranks answered back in full force.
Kelly Mullin, who stood near a “don’t tread on me” flag spread on the grass near the governor’s mansion, said she brought her sons to the event to teach them a lesson about liberty.