Two Takes: A Hard Look at Anti-Quarantine Protestors

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Graphic by: Carolina O.

Alan Mathew and Sophia Cortes

To say that we are living in stressful times is an understatement, and the current Covid-19 crisis sweeping the US has further created an atmosphere of tension and separation. In response to various states extending lockdowns and enforcing stricter social distancing measures, many citizens have taken to the streets to protest the extension of this seemingly never ending quarantine. To rush to the conclusion that all protestors are ignorant people who don’t know how to stay inside would mean glossing over the extremely valid fear of not being able to provide for their families or themselves. With more than 3.8 million US citizens already filed for unemployment since the outbreak started, it’s no wonder people are taking up signs and going to state capitals demanding malls and stores to reopen. People are restless, scared, and unsure about what the future may hold. 

  But the issue here lies with the fact that many of the protestors don’t seem to realize that their actions could very well be more of a reason for lockdowns and quarantines to keep going for more months than expected. According to the CDC more than one million people in the US have confirmed cases of Covid-19, and this is just what they have been able to document. There is still a heavy shortage of testing possible cases of the virus in many states, leaving many to rightfully believe that the true number of cases is still unknown. This puts the responsibility on us for keeping not only ourselves safe, but our families as well. Those protesting must realize that they are putting themselves at a high risk for going out and protesting, but it also isn’t their fault for being reasonably angry for how poorly the US government has handled this crisis. There isn’t a “right” answer for this situation, there’s only what’s best for yourself and those around you. 

 

  It’s extremely easy to elevate the importance or scale of certain things depending on how the media presents them. All the same, raindrops don’t always mean storms. Over the past few weeks in America, anti-quarantine protests have been increasingly covered by media outlets from Fox News to CNN. 

  Yet for all the attention they’ve garnered, anti-quarantine protestors, who in some cases appear to be astroturfed, are not by any means the majority. 

  Even on the conserative end of the spectrum, stay-at-home orders, while still raising concerns, are widely accepted and understood. The problem, as WIRED puts it, is that “you can’t exactly ignore people pulling up in pickups to shut down major thoroughfares in capital cities or staring down health care workers still in their scrubs.” 

  Protestors will face a lot of resistance, but it’s still worthwhile to note that not all protestors protest for the same reasons as the loudest voices in the crowd. To paraphrase junior Emily Danzinger, people obviously have the right to be upset, especially when it comes to something as important as feeding their family. 

  Emily, however, can’t also help but see the larger picture. After all, it’s extremely frustrating to see large groups of people gathering for such a purpose when the gatherings themselves are a part of the very problem. Most protesters, I’d argue, feel the same exact things we do right now. The important thing to remember is that, for the most part, protesters aren’t the enemy— bad tactics and frustration are.