It’s strange days indeed when getting a haircut is a sign of defiance and freedom, but that’s where 2020 has brought us. So we have a man draped in an American flag getting a haircut from a barber being harassed by two police officers on the lawn of the Michigan State Capitol. That’s how we’re rolling nowadays.
The video comes from one of the more unusual protests against the lockdown. In Michigan, hairdressers aren’t going to be back at work anytime soon, which has led to no small amount of unrest.
That’s sometimes hard to notice in a state where pretty much everyone is restive thanks to a lockdown order from Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that goes beyond restrictive to the point of punitive.
I suppose if you need attention, however, putting on an event in front of the state legislature in which hairdressers gave free haircuts to whoever was willing to brave the ruckus is a pretty good way to do it.
And what a ruckus it was:
— Nick King (@nickkingphoto) May 20, 2020
The clip is from the “Operation Haircut” protest Wednesday in front of the Capitol in Lansing.
As two officers got in the face of the hairdresser (by the way, nice social distancing, fellas), our rather bald haircut subject gave a running commentary on how ridiculous this whole thing was.
“The state of Michigan is going to go down because of this,” the flag-draped man mused.
He told the officers they “need to get your priorities in line. Not with the governor. I know you work for her.”
If they want to be of service, they should “go to your chief and say, ‘Hey, just put me on traffic duty today,'” the man advised.
“Operation Haircut” was a PR success, not in the least because of videos like this.
I have absolute respect for police officers and the work they do, but it’s a waste of resources and amazingly poor messaging to have two law enforcement officers with their faces literally inches from a hairdresser. I don’t know what they were saying, but my assumption is that they weren’t offering advice. “You know, you really should take a little more off there — those sideburns are very 2003.”
The act of haircutting has become a symbol of public defiance in Michigan in part because of Karl Manke, a 77-year-old barber in Owosso, 30 miles northeast of Lansing. He’s managed to keep his shop open in spite of the fact that Michigan authorities have stripped him of his license. Just in case you needed another reason to detest the state-sponsored scam that is occupational licensing, well, there you go.
His barbershop has become a cause célèbre for conservatives and the site of plenty of rallies. That energy eventually morphed into “Operation Haircut,” an event organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition. That’s the same group behind the in-car protest last month against Whitmer’s lockdown order.
Neither haircuts nor motorcades seem to have moved Whitmer in the direction of softening her dictum. Polling, however, might eventually start convincing governors it’s time to seriously work on reopening.
A poll published Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showed that Americans were still afraid of the disease spreading once the country reopens.
The survey found that “that 83% of Americans are at least somewhat concerned that lifting restrictions in their area will lead to additional infections, with 54% saying they are very or extremely concerned that such steps will result in a spike of COVID-19 cases.”
However, there was an interesting divide in terms of who believed the country needed to reopen.
“Just 45% of Republicans now say they favor stay-at-home orders, while about as many are opposed. A month ago, 70% of Republicans backed them. Among Democrats, 78% favor stay-at-home orders, down from 91% in April,” the AP reported.
The poll, sadly, didn’t include any opinion about this clip — a clip in which a hairdresser engaged in civil disobedience by giving an “illegal” haircut, two police officers who should have been doing something productive and a patriotic American giving a running commentary on how silly the whole thing was.
I suppose if this man gets COVID-19, we’re all going to look like cavalier idiots. However, that’s quite unlikely, and that’s the point. We can help control the spread of the novel coronavirus without Wuhan-esque restrictions.
Michigan is quickly turning into a powder-keg, and the official sitting on top of it — Gretchen “Let Them Eat Gardening Supplies” Whitmer — doesn’t seem to realize she’s perched atop a mound of explosives.
She’s made a few positive moves, mind you — reopening parts of the state with low infection rates and quickly reversing that silly gardening restriction — but Michigan still remains one of the most restrictive states when it comes to lockdowns.
Perhaps with a few more well-played acts of civil disobedience like this, that could start to change.
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