Most of us have seen the Columbus, Ohio protesters, shoulder to shoulder, piercing, crazed eyes, mouths wide open shouting, their shouts gratefully unheard in the still photo.
They appear to be pressed up against the glass of the state house’s atrium, as they demand that Governor Mike de Wine end his stay at home order to keep them safe from the virus.
Noise and screaming chants filled the streets around the capital, they said, to free Ohio.
Melissa Ackison, an Ohio state senate candidate, said the stay-at-home orders are government overreach.
“It enrages something inside of you,” said Ackison. She was there with her 10-year-old son. She insisted she had “no fear whatsoever” of contracting the virus, dismissing it as hype.
So she believes, as late as a week ago, that this pandemic is all hype.
That’s why she risks herself and her ten-year-old son – because the Governor is making this all up – in her mind.
Why would the Governor do that?
What nutsy theory could account for such an order if there was no pandemic.
Part of this does feel like children in the backseat of the car on a long trip in the country, saying, “Are we there yet,” then screaming, and repeating it, again and again, “Are we there yet?”
Meanwhile, the stats continue to soar.
As I’m writing this, there have been 819,175 cases of infection, and 45,343 deaths, so every 20th person doesn’t make it.
As the Ohio protest was underway, there were 36,000 deaths. There have been 9,000 more deaths since the Ohio protest.
But those there in Ohio didn’t believe these deaths occurred; one protester told a reporter to check his facts.
One woman said that God would protect her; faith alone was enough, a sentiment oft-repeated.
Father Joseph M. McShane, S.J., the president of Fordham University, wrote, “the Easter that we celebrated …was an Easter for the moment in which we find ourselves. To celebrate the feast, in any other way, would have been reckless and irresponsible.”
This religious and spiritual man had no difficulty reconciling his religious beliefs with a healthy respect for the science of infectious diseases.
If they were only putting themselves at risk, but they were not, they risked their children and transmitting an infection to others that they may have gotten while demonstrating, and ignoring any notion of social distancing.
Mr. Trump first told the Governors to reopen business by May 1.
The Governors thought May 1 too soon to be safe.
So did the infectious disease experts.
Trump supported the experts at his daily press conference, but then twit tweeted his supporters to do the opposite, to “liberate” the states, get them to reopen for business.
Indiana Republican Congressman Trey Hollingsworth said he favored a “way of life” over “life itself.”
The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said there could be no trade-off between life and work, and these decisions must be based on facts and science.
Trump tweeted in ALL CAPS – LIBERATE MICHIGAN, LIBERATE MINNESOTA, LIBERATE VIRGINIA.
In the case of Virginia, Mr. Trump objected that Virginia had new gun laws, thus involving the 2nd amendment.
Whatever one thinks about gun rights, the reference was a clear signal that Mr. Trump’s tweets were not about the pandemic; instead, they were about politics and his presidential election.
Michigan, in the latest poll, has Biden 3 points ahead of Trump; in 2016, Trump won Michigan by a fraction of a percentage point over Hillary (.23),
Minnesota has Biden 12 points ahead; in 2016, Hillary won by a margin of 1.2%.
Virginia has Biden up by 10 points; Hillary won in 2016 by 5.32%. I would think that’s an electoral bridge too far for Trump. Thus, perhaps, the reason for the gun rights reference.
We must return to first principles.
Laws are a positive force, no less than when they are about our public safety.
They are the norms by which freedom may be attained and maintained.
They are and should be impersonal, theoretical, and independent of the arbitrariness of individuals. They should have a rational basis – and medical science is just such a basis.
At their best, they are the conscious mirror images of our lives.
This is no less true for the laws of science.
Delusion may not replace rational thought.
Bronislaw Malinowski wrote a book, titled “Magic, Science, and Religion,” concluding that science arose out of man’s capacity to organize knowledge.
Science does that.
So when will we arrive at – “there” – as in – “Are we there yet?”
As for the virus, it is individual and collective patience, the resolve to press on, finding the medical facts that dictate our path back to a new and different way to conduct our private and public lives.
As for abuses of government, law, and truth, for that, we have only to wait until November.