Protesters appeared on capitol building premises in several states this past week. It encapsulated both the beauty and ugliness of America in one fell swoop.
The ironic expression of freedom is, on one hand, refreshing because people are still allowed to exercise their right to protest without the threat of violence or imprisonment. But, more than that, the collective move was disrespectful and dumb.
Gov. Andy Beshear looked more like Tom Brady on Wednesday as chants outside a nearby window grew in volume as he gave his daily COVID-19 update. Like a quarterback amid intensifying conditions, he stayed calm and poised in the pocket. The saddest coincidence (we hope it was just a coincidence) is the crowd seemed to be at its loudest as Beshear updated the Commonwealth on the number of Kentuckians who had died coronavirus-related deaths that day.
Although some did actually practice social-distancing recommendations (standing at least 6 feet apart) and some donned masks, rules weren’t followed across the board.
Kentucky had been doing so well, too, it seemed, in its response to these unprecedented circumstances.
Impatience, financial desperation and politics-fueled fury are getting the best of some, though.
Kentucky isn’t alone. Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, North Carolina and Utah were among other states to have seen protesters pop up in state capitals.
Many states have stay-at-home orders through April 30, at least. Why couldn’t these folks who felt compelled to protest wait until then to make a decision on whether to show up in crowds outside of capitol buildings? If, by then, the outlook appeared brighter and governors still stalled the step-by-step process of “reopening” the economy, maybe then it would have been more appropriate. But it’s just mid-April, and people jumped the gun.
Now, as a result, a lot of these Kentucky citizens put themselves and others at risk of contracting the virus. Hopefully that’s not the case, of course, but it wouldn’t be a shock to see a flurry of cases among those protesters soon.
Beshear was frank and firm in his stance as protesters chanted.
“We do have some folks up here in Kentucky today saying we should reopen Kentucky immediately, right now,” said the governor. “Folks, that would kill people. It would absolutely kill people.”
Kentuckians, let’s keep our cool for a couple more weeks. Do it for others. Do it for yourself. Trying times will only get tougher if citizens continue making rash, poor decisions. We firmly believe there is a light at the end of this tunnel, but we must stop obstructing the view.