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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Opinion: To rally against safety is to rally against reason

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A faded photo of cartoon protesters holding signs stands behind a bottom border of cartoon knifes and flames.

Social distancing was enforced to protect the nation, not limit American liberty. However, protestors continue to gather across the country, choosing to ignore the number of infections and fatalities being reported and the safety measures required to prevent further catastrophe.
Protestors gathered outside the Capitol building in Austin on April 18, demanding that Gov. Greg Abbott reopen Texas for business, immediately. The day before this protest, Abbott held a press conference and announced plans to have data guide the state-wide reopening. “A more strategic approach is required so that we don’t reopen only to have to close again,” Abbott said.
The frustrated protestors seem to ignore the delicate response required to keep people safe. The U.S. is handling the outbreaks by state levels, rather than on a national scale, so the virus will peak at different times and be more difficult to predict. If Texas, or any other state, rushes the process of reopening, the spread will never end.
Texas is not the only victim of this ignorance, as similar protests are happening throughout the country. In Utah, about 1,000 people gathered with lawn chairs, signs and American flags to protest Salt Lake City’s restrictions and government-imposed business shut down.
Michigan has a strict stay-at-home order because it has the third-highest number of coronavirus cases in the nation. Yet, “Operation Gridlock,” a protest organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition, protested outside the state capitol after the governor extended the order. More than 200 people gathered, breaking social distancing guidelines and ignoring the safety of others and themselves.
These acts of selfishness and disregard for humanity were indirectly led by the President of the United States when he decided to take to Twitter and encourage this behavior. “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!,” he wrote. “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!,” he followed.
The only thing he is liberating is a movement of hate, which will create more danger than that of which is already present.
The protestors that gathered in Austin claim the pandemic is a hoax and mocked the need for safety measures. They refuse to believe very real people are dying from a very real disease.
The reality is that the same day protests gathered in Texas, Ohio, New Hampshire and other states, another 32,491 confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported in the U.S. and 1,891 people infected with the disease died. Stay-at-home orders are being implemented to limit these numbers from growing, not to target the Conservative population.
This is not a moment of political hierarchy or an infringement on personal rights; this is a fight against a pandemic that is killing thousands every day. To see stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders and not understand the reason they are necessary is beyond selfish.
A few hundred people decide to gather and protest their state’s decision to keep people safe, and in their march, they will be the reason why the states enforce what they are protesting. They feel empowered to break the limit on public gatherings, but that feeling will not last when they find themselves taking up hospital beds and begging for a cure.
Additionally, and this should come as no surprise, these protests are predominantly led by White Americans who are privileged enough to walk armed with rifles through city streets and shout profanities at the steps of their Capitol building.
If any other race were to do the same, headlines would read differently and the police would quickly get involved, instead of allowing them to “voice their frustrations and concerns in a peaceful way.” It would not be a protest, but a terrorist attack.
It is a shame that in a time of unpredictable chaos and need for unity, people still will ignore the reality of a problem and act selfishly for a cause that does not exist.
The First Amendment allows freedom of speech and the right to assemble peacefully, but when a worldwide pandemic is threatening the safety of society, common decency and respect should allow Americans to see this is bigger than them.
The stay-at-home orders are saving American lives, not entrapping them.
States will continue to see these protests gather, but enabling this behavior is not an option. Reopening businesses and roaming freely is the desire of every citizen, but when the outcome is more dangerous than satisfactory there is no point in acting out of comfort.
Governors across the nation should remain unbothered by these protests and continue to make decisions that suit each state’s best interests. Protesting against safety and caution is an act driven by selfish desires and ignorance. It does not deserve to be entertained.
-Laura Nunez is an advertising senior

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