OPINION: Protest your life away.


Ricky Barker, Columnist

We are living in uncertain times. Many states have now created mandatory stay-at-home orders to prevent more citizens from being infected with COVID-19. It’s been hard for many of us, unable to see family and close friends for long periods. Everything from restaurants to universities are closed; a return of the status quo won’t be coming any time soon. This is undeniably stressful for many people and a massive change in lifestyle, however, it is necessary and does help massively slow down the virus.

For some in this country, it’s a push too far, a massive violation of their rights — and they are furious. Protests across the country are taking place, with signs proclaiming “social distancing is communism” and “America is the land of the free.” While there are no statistics on this, taking a look at pictures from these protests, they seem to lean toward the right. Donald Trump has encouraged these protests. Conveniently, they are against governors who he has been butting heads with. These protests are not huge and seemingly still represent a minority opinion; however, they are still troubling.

There are massive issues to be angry about, such as unemployment and mistreatment of small businesses. There still remain many protestors who are concerned about these issues. However, these current protests stem from selfishness. Participants are not protesting social safety nets or stimulus relief, but are simply complaining about the state of things. 

This is failing to mention the health risks of those involved with these protests, being around so many people does encourage the virus to spread. It’s already happened to some leaders of this movement. ReOpen NC is an advocacy group for lifting virus restrictions in North Carolina, one of their leading members ironically just tested positive for COVID-19. No doubt all the crowded protests will cause many more to unfortunately face the same results.

Many people have had their lives turned upside down because of the coronavirus; however, many Americans understand the need for these restrictions. States would much rather have everything opened if they could; they are not taking away our rights for no reason. We all have to do our part to prevent this virus from becoming worse than it already is. Nearly 40,000 people have died, and it’s likely many more will. Orders to close down businesses and stop people from going out massively slow down that lethal counter. Despite how hard it might be to deal with, American lives are at stake, this is all of our responsibility.