Gathering Is Essential – Unless You’re Republican

Gathering Is Essential – Unless You’re Republican
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Gathering Is Essential – Unless You’re Republican
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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Destroying a business is tolerated, reopening one forbidden. Democrats are bailing out rioters, and sending salon owners to prison. Going to church is worse than trying to burn it down. Protesting is a threat to public health, until experts declare your cause worthy enough. 

These are the new, ever-changing rules of Democrats’ America. We’ll forgive you if you have a hard time keeping up – but they won’t.

After months shaming Americans who had the audacity to want to reopen their businesses safely as COVID-19 cases waned, social distancing is suddenly less important than “social justice,” according to the media’s health “experts.”

It was an “ugly and dangerous scene.” Rioters hijacking protests? Cops murdered? Minority communities devastated? No, this was CNN’s description of Americans packed into Michigan’s Capitol in opposition to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s unconstitutional decree that made abortion clinics essential during the stay-at-home order, but barbershops not. “Protests are supposed to be peaceful,” CNN sneered, as Michiganders – some armed – peacefully gathered  to demand their rights back. Now, when streets are filled with George Floyd marchers and rioters, Chris Cuomo wonders since when protests had to be “peaceful,” anyway? The answer: 1791.

Gov. Whitmer’s tune on the right to assemble has transformed, too. She was appalled to see people without masks and parents “handing things to children, bare-handed” six weeks ago. The horror. “This kind of activity flies in the face of all of the best science,” she scoffed, threatening to punish the protesting plebeians with a shutdown extension. She expected their obedience.

The supposed science took a back seat last week when Whitmer kneeled in the street, shoulder to shoulder with activists, in violation of her own rules. But that’s nothing new. Her husband can non-essentially travel to their second home, and name-drop his wife to try to cut to the front of the line and get their boat launched before Memorial Day weekend. The Democratic mayor of Chicago can get a haircut, but you can’t -- you’re not on TV. The Democratic governor of Virginia can go to the beach without his mask, not even painted on. It’s “dangerous” to protest, Nancy Pelosi says, until she joins in.   

President Trump supports peaceful protests, then and now. Democrats only called one “illegal activity.”  Anti-lockdown groups were banned by Facebook for defying “government’s guidance on social distancing,” while left-wing Black Lives Matter demonstrators were given free rein. People enjoying a stroll on a beach were derided as “morons,” despite studies showing the virus dies quickly in sunlight, and little documented evidence of virus transmission outdoors.

Now, instead of just covering protests, the media is letting reporters join them. After accusing protesters who wanted to work or attend church of having a “twisted conception of liberty,” exactly one month later The New York Times opinion page declared protesting the “only hope for our collective liberation.” Some protesters are more equal than others.

Our constitutional rights are not conditioned on whether your cause, like the radical “defund the police” movement, is “woke” enough. Americans outraged by the unjust killing of George Floyd have every right to peacefully protest, as do those outraged by governments shutting down their livelihoods. Some things are worth the risk, like protesting or mourning lost loved ones. It is essential to our humanity to be able to pay our respects, regardless of arbitrary edicts from politicians. It is important to gather to mourn George Floyd and David Dorn. Sadly, so many families over the past few months were unjustly denied that right because of arbitrary stay-at-home orders. 

These infringements must end. We built up hospital capacity, flattened the curve, and under President Trump’s leadership, delivered millions of medical and testing supplies. The American people must be given the respect they deserve, and be trusted to make the best decisions for themselves and  their families, communities, and customers, like many Republican governors have from the start. 

America is opening for business again. If governors want the best for their states, they will join the great American comeback. Instead, Democrats like North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper hold their states back. While Gov. Cooper celebrates thousands marching in Raleigh – the same place a woman was arrested for violating his stay-at-home order just two months ago – he turns his back on the crowds who want to safely gather and bring millions in economic development to his state in late August. But Cooper only calls for “fewer people” when it’s Republicans gathering in his swing state in an election year.

Our rights are granted by God, not by governors bestowing exemptions for political correctness. We will gather to re-nominate and re-elect our president. It’s essential to upholding our founding principles of equal justice under the law, not obsequiousness to a mob. 

We don’t expect plaudits from Democrats and the media -- we never do. But have they already forgotten their new rules? Social distance shaming is passé. Our rules remain the same: America First.

Liz Harrington is the national spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.

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