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Saturday, May 16, 2020

1889 Institute: Tyranny and Covid-19(84)


Tyranny and Covid-19(84)
By Spencer Cadavero

Alongside the coronavirus, another pandemic is gripping our country, one that we will feel the consequences of long after we reach herd immunity. This latter pandemic can be dubbed COVID-1984, and it will rot the roots of the Tree of Liberty. The consequence will be a government emboldened by a citizenry far too passive in the face of numerous local government abuses.

Mayors are attempting to wield greater power than they actually possess. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced her intention to continue enforcing a stay at home order, despite being blocked by a court order. New Orleans’ Mayor Latoya Cantrell, is requiring businesses to keep logs of all their customers. The information will be used to track down people who may have come in contact with anyone infected. She calls this the city’s new normal. The mayor of Jackson, Mississippi issued a ban on open carry of firearms in the city, claiming this power comes from the authority vested in him through emergency management statutes invoked to combat the spread of coronavirus.

Local police departments are also responsible for government abuses. Tulsa’s police department announced that while the city is opening up, they will strictly enforce social distancing guidelines. But not with warnings, instead they’ll issue citations and arrest anyone who breaks social distancing protocol. On April 14th, the Raleigh police department broke up a protest against the shutdown. When pressed for a reason for stopping the protesters, they claimed, “Protesting is a non-essential activity” – yes, Raleigh is in the USA. This isn’t the only instance of police cracking down on first amendment rights. In Greenville, Mississippi, cops broke up a drive-in worship service, based on an order from the town’s mayor. They threatened $500 fines to anyone who did not comply, despite churchgoers following CDC guidelines, keeping their windows up, and keeping distance between their cars.

Many states and cities forced closures of barbershops and hair salons because getting a haircut is supposed to be dangerous. However, in multiple cities, police departments have exempted themselves. ‘Do as I say not as I do’ is a classic in the tyrant’s handbook. Two women in Ladario, Texas were arrested in an undercover sting operation for offering illegal beauty services. They are facing fines of $2,000 and/or 180 days in jail for having the gall to offer to paint nails in exchange for money. Shelley Luther, a Dallas salon owner, was arrested at the end of April for opening her business early. She could have avoided jail time if only she admitted how selfish she was for wanting to feed her kids and employees.

There are many more examples like the ones listed above. Once upon a time, Americans would not have tolerated such behavior from their government. We stood up to tyranny. Surely we can do it again. But that requires us to actually stand up and say, “Enough is enough.”

Spencer Cadavero is Research Associate for 1889 Institute.

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