a tale of two protests
Remember the good ole days of this meme?
Staying put made sense while we were learning about a mysterious plague that had landed on our shores. It was so controversial that even trying to name it flagged some people down for the censors. It was the coronavirus for a couple of weeks but the name was too similar to the common cold’s nickname. We fumbled a week calling it the Wuhan virus but that gave unfair focus on an innocent city that coincidentally had a level 4 virology lab. Then the President called it the Chinese virus while the Hong Kongers called it the CCP virus to the media’s dismay. The WHO finally stepped in and gave the world it’s official name, Covid-19, and everyone learned it and settled down. Except the president.
Dr. Fauci’s calm voice of reason and research made us proud to stay home and stay safe. And so people baked, learned how to sew cute masks, and did tik tok challenges. Many received stimulus checks and all was good. They were entertained seeing their coworkers homes in video calls and happy to work in their pajamas.
And then people got bored of playing video games, binge watching pandemic movies and television shows about a tiger king. Some struggled with the homework load of their children’s online schooling. People lamented the misery of needing a haircut and a change of scenery. Many went to the beach in defiance. The nation went in a fevered mode to stop the gates of chaos from opening. So, they flooded the feeds with this meme:
Countless lives were saved through guilt trips from well-meaning people’s virtue signaling. I received this meme at least a dozen times that the echo annoyed me. I wanted to post something about Operation Mockingbird but passed. I don’t like upsetting nests of angry birds. I was related to some of them birds.
I secretly admired the anti lockdown protesters. I didn’t just see Americans confronting their governments in defense of their constitutional rights. I saw citizens from various nations making their voices known to their leaders. People weren’t fighting for haircuts and petty things. People were fighting because they saw those getting arrested for wanting to work to provide for their families. Not everyone received unemployment checks. Not everyone felt the stimulus check was enough. People got arrested for wanting to save their livelihoods, going to a playground or surfing alone in the ocean. They were fighting against an Orwellian world that was coming into being. I thought their protests were beautiful. They were fighting for the common man. The lockdown was hurting; starving people in rich and poor nations.
These were the selfish and irresponsible people. I shared the video sparingly for fear of getting a re-education speech.The protesters were risking infection and infecting others during an uncertain covid time. They were fighting against science; albeit ever changing data, losing faith in Dr. Fauci and the WHO organization. Online star-studded concerts were ineffective corralling the anti-lockdown crowd.
In a blink of an eye, everything changed. Governments were no longer the one to confront. A more important scourge took center stage. An international protest of more importance rose above the anti lockdown. The cause emboldened citizens worldwide to disregard the covid virus. These new protests were applauded, inspiring people in droves to abandon sheltering in place directives. They marched despite risk of infection. They marched despite risk of harm.
The world I see is very confusing. It seems more dangerous now despite the virus. I’m not sleeping well. My friends think it would be good for me to go out for a walk.
I’ve not left my home since March. My memory of my world is pre-covid. I don’t want to go outside wearing a mask when it’s 90 degrees and dystopian in the making. I’m bolstering myself mentally for what’s next and I’m afraid we haven’t seen anything yet.