It became clear to many this year that for many blue state and city leaders, there are two classes of Americans: (1) those allowed to destroy property, loot storefronts, and attack innocent bystanders as part of “mostly peaceful protests,” and (2) those who are expected to follow bans on attending worship services, celebrating social events and contributing to the local hospitality industry as a duty to protect “public health and safety.”
For months this summer, Americans — especially those living in Washington — watched in horror as violent mobs, many of whose members were bused in from other states, took over blocks of downtown Seattle, including an abandoned police precinct, and created their own “autonomous zone.”
They couldn’t decide on a name, whether CHAZ or CHOP, but the destruction was the same.
And it was welcomed by city leaders as just another “summer of love”.
Yet, while mayors such as those in Seattle and Portland called for law enforcement to allow the burning, destruction, and stealing from business districts across the country, those same officials erected every roadblock possible in front of the productive members of society who just wanted to go to work and bring home a paycheck to support their families.
Thankfully, government officials set on exercising their newfound “emergency powers” made several missteps that built momentum for We The People to stand up to the would-be overlords.
Reports started coming out about over-reporting of COVID-19 deaths in states around the country. From Washington state to Colorado, from Florida to Kentucky, deaths were attributed to COVID-19 that, once examined, were clearly false.
While our state and national leaders insisted their actions were based on hard science, those responsible for tabulating it were padding the COVID death numbers by including car accident and gunshot victims in the total.
“Trust the data” took a big hit.
Simultaneously, several high-profile COVID-19 nanny-staters were caught breaking the very same rules they imposed on the rest of the country.
Chris Cuomo and George Stephanopoulos were caught galivanting about after having tested positive or been exposed by family members to the virus in April. One of the first gubernatorial tyrants, Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer, had to apologize after her husband tried to invoke his wife’s privilege to be the first to get their boat out of storage for Memorial Day weekend.
As the months wore on, children remained out of school, and businesses remained forced closed, or at a capacity that barely allowed them to break even, the political elite became even more brazen in their COVID-19 hypocrisy.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was spotted dining indoors across state lines in Maryland after banning indoor dining in the city he runs. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi booked herself an indoor, maskless hair appointment in her hometown that banned indoor, maskless hair appointments.
Austin, Tex., Mayor Steve Adler even filmed himself urging his constituents to stay at home – while on a family trip to Mexico. And we all know about California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s famous night out at French Laundry.
Trust in leadership didn’t take a hit. It was blown out of the water.
It was one thing when people whispered about feeling like there were two sets of classes – those the political elite approved of and those who didn’t meet such approval. But they were still just whispers.
But as more desperate business owners had to come up with tax payments to line the pockets of the government officials trying to prevent them from earning a living, the whispers grew to loud complaints and then shouts of defiance.
Entrepreneurs decided to take back control over their own livelihoods and re-opened their stores and restaurants.
And what did they receive in response? Fines, threats of jail time, and barricades to their front doors.
Then, inexplicably, in early December, a new autonomous zone was established in Portland. This time, apparently to protest a foreclosure from two years ago.
But rather than dismantle the illegal takeover of city blocks, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is congratulating himself for capitulating to the violent mob to keep the peace on his streets.
In a cruel contrast, NYC officials sent dozens of officers over the course of weeks to Mac’s Public House to prevent the owners from earning a living and providing a safe place for people to get food and drink.
The two-class America is no longer something people are grumbling about amongst friends. The dichotomy is an in-your-face dare to stand up and say, “Enough is enough.”
Back to that momentum. Business owners have rightly decided they’re sick of edicts from officials their tax dollars have kept comfortable and are reopening. Their customers have decided they want to get back to living life and are ready to support their friends in the private sector.
Mac’s Public House is leading the charge on Staten Island. Then there’s Atilis Gym fighting for freedom in Bellmawr, N.J.
Defiance is taking place on the West Coast, too.
Slidewaters, a popular water park in Chelan, Wash., opened for a month in July to salvage its very short money-making season. The owner of Graham Fitness, also in Washington, has racked up the state’s largest amount in fines but declares, “I have a wife and I have two children who are dependent on me to provide a living for them.”
In Oregon, far away from the latest Portland “autonomous zone”, Josephine County commissioners have issued their own resolution to protect their community both from the virus and the damage of Gov. Kate Brown’s arbitrary shutdowns.
There are still enough American people who can only be pushed so far. These tyrannical government officials have been testing our boundaries for months, and they’re starting to hit a wall.
We can only hope.
Ashley Varner is vice president of communications and federal affairs at the Freedom Foundation, a national nonprofit with the mission to advance individual liberty, free enterprise, and limited, accountable government.