Protestors in Michigan who ardently want to reopen the economy decided to take their argument into the legislative building armed with assault rifles and signs that would make many uncomfortable. Now, civil protest is more than fine in America provided it does not execute or provoke violence.
Even when we disagree with the message, a civil protest is what we are all about. I have participated in several protests regarding Moral Mondays, Women’s Rights and Climate Change. While I feel I am on the side of the Angels, I am also certain people would disagree with my participation.
Yet, walking into a legislative building with assault rifles is a bridge too far. This is even more true when the chants were less than kum-ba-ya like. It was so bad, even Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity spoke out against the protestors. Per the article linked to below, Hannity said on the air:
“Everyone has the right to protest, protect themselves and try to get the country open,” he continued while showing footage of the protests. “This, with the militia, look here, and these long guns … no. A show of force is dangerous. That puts our police at risk. And by the way, your message will never be heard, whoever you people are.”
What concerns me is Hannity may be realizing now there is a strident portion of his party that has been welcomed and supported even by the US president. Trump’s “there are good people on both sides” after Charlottesville was music to the ears of folks like ex-KKK leader David Duke. It normalized their more strident positions. Now, when the strident group takes it to an unhealthy level of protest, it reveals a danger. It is hard to put the monster back under the bed once he has walked around.
I read today the Republican governor of Ohio took on similar protestors in his state who were saying derogatory things to health care officials and reporters, even showing up at the home of the lead health official. His words were straightforward, per the second article link below.
“’I’m the elected official. I’m the one who ran for office. I’m the one who makes the policy decisions. … So when you don’t like the policy, you can demonstrate against me,’ DeWine said. DeWine, who has already begun reopening various sectors of the state’s economy, said he respected the protesters’ right to demonstrate but did not see the point of being ‘obnoxious’ toward reporters or going to the health chief’s family home to try to make a statement they could easily make on public grounds.”
People in Ohio should take pride in the governor’s “the buck stops here” stance. One thing is for certain, we will not hear the US president be accountable like the Ohio governor. The president has helped incite these protests, yet he will most likely wash his hands of any bad things happening. I am also sure he will wash his hands of any accountability as the COVID-19 cases measurably uptick, which appears to already be happening in some places who reopened without sufficient precautions.
Further, there are not many occasions where I agree with Mr. Hannity, but I support what he is saying. Let’s hope the president follows suit, but I would not hold my breath.