There’s nothing wrong with the right to assemble, either to ask for a redress of grievances or in support of a cause or a candidate we approve of — even during the pandemic.
The First Amendment to the Constitution enshrines and guarantees that God-given right for every American.
At the point at which we’re having mass demonstrations every weekend, however, it’s pretty much taken for granted that America is indeed open for business again. We can’t pretend that we’re keeping the shutters down due to the novel coronavirus.
Someone please tell Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that, please.
This weekend, there was a massive protest in New York City — as there were across the nation — drawing attention to what activists say is the high rate of murder and violence against black transgender individuals.
According to The New York Times, the organizers of the “Brooklyn Liberation” protest said that 15,000 people participated in the march on Sunday.
Judging by video footage, that’s not a bad estimate:
Happening now in Brooklyn.. Silent march for Black Trans lives.. shot by my friend who has this amazing view from her living room… pic.twitter.com/Caa8hj62DX
— natiba (@natiba) June 14, 2020
This was just one of a number of Black Trans Lives Matter protests across the United States on Sunday, although it was the most prominent, both in terms of the attendance and the juxtaposition with what Gov. Cuomo had tweeted the same day.
Cuomo — who cannot help but to give us our daily scold about how his state’s residents need to behave in the face of COVID-19 — tweeted this out on Sunday just hours before the crowd you saw above:
We have received 25,000 complaints of reopening violations.
Bars or restaurants that violate the law can lose their liquor license.
People with open containers in the street can be fined.
Police & protesters not wearing masks can be fined.
Local gov’t must enforce the law.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 14, 2020
“We have received 25,000 complaints of reopening violations,” Cuomo tweeted.
“Bars or restaurants that violate the law can lose their liquor license. People with open containers in the street can be fined. Police & protesters not wearing masks can be fined. Local gov’t must enforce the law.
The violation complaints are predominantly from Manhattan & the Hamptons. Lots of violations of social distancing, parties in the street, restaurants and bars ignoring laws.
Enforce the law or there will be state action.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 14, 2020
“The violation complaints are predominantly from Manhattan & the Hamptons. Lots of violations of social distancing, parties in the street, restaurants and bars ignoring laws,” he continued.
“Enforce the law or there will be state action.”
There was one mention of protests in that whole thing and it consisted, essentially, of saying protesters need to wear masks. And, one presumes, this wasn’t done in reaction to the Black Trans Lives Matter protest, nor was he threatening that the long arm of the law ought to come down upon this protest — or upon protests in general.
There’s a very good reason for this, which is that mentioning the coronavirus is conjunction with these sorts of protests is considered problematic on the left.
As Sunday’s demonstration proved, this isn’t just limited to the protests — or, at their worst, riots — against police brutality that sprang up in the wake of George Floyd’s killing.
There’s only the most tenuous of threads between the two of them and that’s if you try and link them via oppression. Most people couldn’t deliver that argument with a straight face.
New York state still hasn’t technically fully reopened; according to CNN, Cuomo also said Sunday that date could be rolled back if there was a spike in cases.
“If we have a high number of violations of the policy which is tantamount to a high likelihood of the spread of the virus, and the local governments are not monitoring policing, doing the compliance, yes there is a very real possibility that we would roll back the reopening in those areas. The only alternative would be to pause the entire reopening,” Cuomo said.
The problem is that, once you have 15,000 people on the streets of Brooklyn for an event, you’ve essentially reopened. And while Cuomo mentioned protesters briefly in his tweets, it wasn’t the focus.
It was almost as if what happened Sunday didn’t exist — which is funny, because it’s almost as if the coronavirus didn’t exist to those covering the protests, either.
The aforementioned New York Times’ article spent a grand total of one paragraph talking about the protests’ potential effect on the spread of the coronavirus. A CNN piece on the protests didn’t mention the disease at all. This is curious, given that the pandemic has been the defining event of the post-9/11 era and is the reason why we’ve been told mass gatherings are dangerous.
Meanwhile, try to find a single piece on President Donald Trump restarting campaign rallies that doesn’t talk about it in the first paragraph.
As long as the cause is near and dear enough to their hearts, the novel coronavirus isn’t an issue for the media or the left. They’re willing to overlook whatever spike in infections these protests may cause.
Anything else, it’s the same thing — don’t even think of fully reopening anytime soon, particularly in hard-hit places like New York state.
The only problem?
Try keeping it in place.
If Andrew Cuomo wants to enforce the lockdown for longer, he’s certainly welcome to try. There’s no good legal way of enforcing it, however — and the last few weeks have proved that.
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