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Commentary

CA County Now Using COVID To Dictate How & Where People Can Drive

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There’s a strange trend in United States history that nearly every decade or era is, in summary, labeled the “height” of one characteristic or another.

The “roaring” 1920s? The height of decadence. The post-war 1950s? The height of patriotism and prosperity. The tumultuous 1960s? The height of racial and social unrest.

I could go on but, instead, I will wager to guess that, if the coming decade looks anything like the last eight or so weeks, it will unquestionably be known as the height of hypocrisy, government regulation and eroded freedoms.

At the least, a new height of stupidity has certainly been reached in staunchly Democratic Santa Clara County, California, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-1, the latest in a long list of coronavirus-related government regulations is a ban on certain vehiclular behaviors.

As TheBlaze reported, county officials announced Monday that “car parades, caravans, and drive-thru graduations” have been added to a list of activities banned until further notice under local social distancing guidelines.

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There had been car parades for special occasions, like one put on by the community of Sakamoto Elementary School in San Jose, the county seat of Santa Clara County.

The human spirit may have won out in recent weeks — allowing everyday folks to continue celebrating momentous occasions like birthdays and graduations amid the ongoing pandemic by adapting the ways they commune with, love and show their support for one another — but, as with any good thing, government was standing ready to ruin the fun.

Santa Clary County apparently had no interest in the good PR that comes with a viral video of the kind of heart-warming drive-by displays of joy the internet is growing accustomed to.

Do you think car parades are good for community spirit in times like these?

An official “Frequently Asked Questions” advisory regarding Santa Clara County’s recently renewed shelter-in-place order made that abundantly clear.

“Can I organize or participate in a car caravan or car parade so long as people stay in their cars?” Santa Clara County Public Health asked in the document.

The answer? A resounding, “No.”

“The order prohibits all public and private gatherings with people who do not live in the same household or living unit, except for the limited purposes allowed in the Order,” the website explained. “Parades, ceremonies, and similar gatherings with people outside your household are not allowed, even if everyone stays in their cars.”

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The announcement reportedly comes just days before East Side Union School District parents held rolling 2020 high school graduations for their children in a local flea market parking lot.

Bah humbug, apparently.

In all seriousness, however, what exactly an order like this accomplishes is beyond me.

Is coronavirus more likely to spread between family members in their own car than it is in their home? Is the virus more likely to spread between unrelated folks practicing social distancing at a supermarket or retail locations than it is between enclosed vehicles?

I’m no virologist — but I would say probably not.

And where such fear comes from in a county reporting as of Sunday just 2,339 confirmed and 128 deaths among 1.9 million residents, I can scarcely imagine.

Local law enforcement, however, has not taken the ever-broadening regulations lying down, with San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia announcing he will not enforce the parade ban — which he suggested is yet another example of shifting goalposts on the issue of social distancing and community lockdown.

“I need someone to explain to us how driving, in a vehicle, with your family, to wish someone a happy birthday, increases the chances of the COVID-19,” he said at a Monday news conference (video below).

“Since day one, these orders have been ridiculously difficult to enforce,” Garcia told reporters at the news conference (video above).

“I don’t know how any police chief in this county, could look at their community in the face and say, ‘While people are being released out of jails on zero bail, serious criminals, that now we’re going to stop people from holding signs, driving around, and wishing individuals happy birthdays or happy graduations.'”

“I certainly can’t look at my community credibly and tell them that,” Garcia said.

Only time will tell whether Garcia’s unwillingness to enforce the policy will keep rolling graduation ceremonies and birthdays on the calendar in Santa Clara County — but one can only hope.

With a green light like this, the people of Santa Clara County would only have themselves to blame if they allowed their liberties to be eroded any further.

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Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia is the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He has since covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal, and now focuses his reporting on Congress and the national campaign trail. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.




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