Anti-Lockdown Protests Deserve Your Attention

If you haven't been watching the news recently, I can't say I blame you. It can be exhausting to hear the seemingly endless string of rising death counts and dire warnings, and there's no shame in just turning it off. But there's something very important happening in states like Colorado and Michigan, and it deserves your attention. Across the country, there have been protests--you heard me, protests--against the country's lockdown. You know, the lockdown that's literally saving lives by flattening the coronavirus curve? Yeah, that one.

The protests, called "Operation Gridlock," began in Lansing, Michigan last week. They were sparked after Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued one of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders in the country. The order permits Michigan residents from traveling to in-state vacation residencies, using motorboats, and tightens restrictions on businesses. While that may sound scary, let's not forget that Michigan is one of the hardest-hit states, and they're understandably scrambling to get the virus under control. "Operation Gridlock" was planned not long after Governor Whitmer's order. Originally, protestors were encouraged to block traffic and display signs from their vehicles. Of course, that's not what happened. Protestors walked in the streets, blatantly ignoring the CDC's social distancing advice that has been encouraged since March. Some even congregated on the steps of Michigan's capital, carrying rifles for some reason. The rallying cry of this protest was the all-too-familiar "lock her up," calling for the arrest of Governor Whitmer. Some protestors claimed that Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, wasn't a real scientist. The protest caused a massive traffic backup, and at one point, an ambulance was blocked from reaching a hospital. And yes, you guessed it, the protests were encouraged by Donald Trump.

Women wearing a mask for health purpose

It wasn't just Michigan that was struck by "Operation Gridlock." Denver, Colorado also had its own uprising. Once again, protestors flooded the streets, claiming that the stay-at-home orders were a form of communism. And, once again, protestors ignored social distancing to congregate at the state capital. However, something beautiful happened in Denver that wasn't seen in Lansing. Healthcare workers held their own counter-protest, standing in front of the cars attempting to cause gridlock. Healthcare workers have been on the frontlines of this pandemic as they literally put their lives in danger in order to care for us. One nurse reported to the Denver 9 News that the protests felt like "a slap in the face." For weeks now, healthcare workers have been forced to work incredibly long hours at overwhelmed hospitals, sometimes even being forced to quarantine away from their own families. Although protestors are disappointed that their children's proms and graduations have been canceled, those things seem infinitesimal when compared to the emotional and physical turmoil that doctors and nurses are currently facing. And instead of rallying in support of these heroes, these protestors have chosen to make the problem worse by ignoring every warning and putting themselves at a huge risk to get sick. Nevertheless, it'll be those healthcare workers at their bedside, putting their own lives at risk, if that happens. It's a ridiculous form of irony: by protesting for these stay-at-home orders to end, protestors are likely extending them.

But what can you do? When we would normally take to the streets ourselves to hold a counterprotest in a time like this, that's probably the worst idea one could come up with. The solution to this problem isn't any different than what the solution has been for months now. Stay home. It's hard, but find some things to be thankful for in your life right now. Pick up a new hobby and work hard in online classes. The best way to counterprotest this is to do nothing at all, figuratively at least. Maybe raise a little hell on social media and spread some facts that people seem to be unaware of. And then go back to baking that bread or learning that new language.

I know I'm just adding to the influx of depressing news, but it's really important that people are aware of how unjust and frankly ridiculous these protests are. But, by way of apology, please enjoy this video of a Samoyed with ponytails. Stay home and stay healthy!