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Patience is a Virtue, Especially in the Midst of a Pandemic

Updated: May 24, 2020

According to the Washington Post’s article on Saturday, April 25, there were nearly 2,000 protestors in Madison, Wisconsin, who descended on the state’s Capital pleading to Governor Evers to open up the state’s economy. Many of these protestors feel the economy is being destroyed by the self-quarantine restrictions put in place by Governor Evers and now extended until May 26.

Some of the comments by the attendees, protestors, and protest signs are noteworthy. One protestor asked why her rights and freedoms should be taken away by the governor. Several other signs want to ‘recall Governor Evers’ for destroying Wisconsin’s economy. Another protestor said this was the fault of government bureaucrats who want to scare people about something no worse than the seasonal flu and in the process, take away our freedoms.

Let's first discuss the idea that at least one protestor claims that this self-quarantine has taken away her rights. One needs to realize that no permit was given to protest at the State Capital but these protestors went ahead anyway and the Capital police handled it with grace and calm even without a permit. I’m struggling with the idea that your rights are being taken away but you're able to protest on the Capitol square, albeit without a permit.

In terms of taking away our freedoms, even during self-quarantine, essential businesses were open for business, including grocery stores, gas stations, hardware stores, etc. Another things to note, under Governor Evers' safer at home orders, residents are permitted to engage in outdoor activity, which incudes visiting public and state parks as long as they comply with Social Distancing Requirements. Also, over the last days of April, Wisconsin started to begin loosening some of the restrictions. For example, golf courses are open, libraries are again lending books again, and nonessential businesses are permitted to sell products curbside. That doesn't necessarily jibe with taking away someone's freedom but rather, a public policy that has the public's benefit in mind during a pandemic. Wisconsin's Governor also pledged to reduce restrictions further if key COVID-19 measures improve.

How many protestors who want to 'Recall Evers' realize that all 50 states have laws which empower governors or other officials to implement quarantine orders in times of emergency. If this pandemic isn't an emergency, I'm not sure what else would qualify?

I know people want to get back to work and many are suffering financially but we are sailing in unchartered waters for a minimum of the next 6-12 months. Evers may want to flatten the Coronavirus curve as much as possible to help give medical workers time and space to effectively treat COVID-19 patients. Evers may also want to wait as long as possible so his state has a more adequate supply of testing kits. As time goes on, we’re learning more vital information about COVID-19 so Evers may be thinking a more cautious approach during this pandemic may put his administration in a better position to combat this once the self-quarantine is lifted.

My gut thinking is the Governor of Wisconsin is not interested in taking anyone’s freedom away, not in Madison, not in Mosinee, not in Manitowish, nor Manitowoc.

As mentioned earlier, a 57-year-old man was quoted as saying, "This is just some attempt by government bureaucrats to scare people about something just like the flu so that they can take away our freedoms.”

The man didn’t provide his name because he doesn’t trust the media. Perhaps he was sheepish about providing his name as many readers could see his level of ignorance when he equates COVID-19 with the regular flu. (Perhaps he’s not familiar with Dr. Fauci’s analysis of COVID-19 versus the season flu.) I’m hopeful this protestor who complained about government bureaucrats was just blowing off steam by being self-quarantined for the last 4-6 weeks.

Many attendees held up Trump signs and donned MAGA hats. If you’re still a fan of DJT after hearing him last week saying people should start injecting cleaning fluid into their veins, in my opinion, there are only a few reasons for doing so. Either you're ignorant, don't care, heavily influenced by certain propaganda news or you lack the ability to parse what's reported in all media with a sense of skepticism. The only other reason someone would support this man who typically spews lies and misinformation during these press conferences is that ‘R’ associated with his name.

One more thing about DJT, the Governor of Georgia, Brian Kemp, has decided to reopen restaurants, barbershops, and other business on April 24. And, according to the NY Times, Trump is not happy with this decision as he thinks it's too soon to do so. In other words, Trump is exercising some caution on reopening of nonessential business and at the same time, one could argue that Governor Evers is also exercising caution. In other words, both the president and governor are trying to lead here but the protestors' wrath is only targeted at the Wisconsin governor. How come?

I read and saw pictures of several protestors were carrying AR-15 guns near the capital. Called “America’s Rifle” by the NRA, are these semi-automatic weapons even legal in a public square in Wisconsin? What are the optics of carrying such a weapon? Is it too intimate and bully people? How would such a weapon garner honest discussion on when to open up Wisconsin's economy?

Imagine being an explorer around the Great Lakes 400 years ago as you canoe on virgin streams and waterways. Plenty of adventure and unknown challenges await. As you travel and gain more knowledge about a potential danger, that knowledge may dictate what adjustments are necessary and help prepare an explorer for future dangers. Prudent explorers would proceed slowly if potential dangers lie ahead and move forward when it was deemed safe. Same principle applies here, health officials are still acquiring critical knowledge and information about the Coronavirus so in the meantime, some public officials proceed with prudence and safety.

Look, let’s have an honest debate on walking that fine line between getting more people back to work and public safety without MAGA hats and AR-15’s. We have to balance between public and medical safety versus getting nonessential employees back to work as soon as possible. To that end, more testing is needed; wearing masks in public and social distancing are some of the behaviors each of us can incorporate while in the public space. It’s critically important for people to realize it’s the data and not the date that will help us determine when we can get back to a certain degree of normalcy.

Written by Kevin Schwarm

Libertyville, Illinois


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