To Riot, or Not To Riot: That Is The Question

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My engineering school required a sociology elective to broaden and diversify our perspective. One lecture I vividly remember, concerned the impact of Puritanism on American society. The Puritans were not only industrious and hard working, they defined the American way of life as we know it today. Americans work harder than any other society, logging more hours, taking fewer vacations, and enjoying fewer holidays. This is the Puritan’s lasting legacy, a causal factor to why America is the most successful nation in history.

The Puritans fled England in the early 1600s to establish a church free from corruption. They settled in New England and got busy building the “city upon the hill,” as they called America. Puritans believed idle hands and minds were a playground for the devil so strived to keep both the mind and body busy with pure thoughts and honest deeds. This drive toward utopia contributed to the growing schism between the industrial north and the agrarian south in the mid1800’s; a divide causing a bitter crisis of conscience.

If you assume I’m building commentary on the riots currently ravaging the nation, you’re wrong. While I believe in the constitutional right to protest, my commentary is about the media and “medical experts” illogically doing-in the boogeyman called COVID in order to promote civil unrest.

As the present protests grow, their popularity with the press is predictable. After months of scaring us, the big ugly monster called COVID has apparently been vanquished. This previously persistent villain was so heinous that economies needed to crumble, life savings were sacrificed, and livelihoods destroyed. Ironically, none of that was tied to social justice even though minority communities were the most impacted.

The perplexing problem the media had to overcome is how to go about promoting nationwide unrest when it requires forgoing everything they’ve propped their advertising revenue on. In reality, no one believes you can really riot while maintaining safe social distance. You can’t really loot with a facemask because it’s too hard coordinating with Antifa on how to get that socially justified brassier out of Macy’s. Clearly a new narrative is needed.

Logically COVID can’t discern law abiding citizens from rioters, police from looters, that’s just basic epidemiology. That means this new narrative needs a way to keep the majority of Americans terrorized over the dangers of COVID while excusing rioters from viral concerns. What the narrative needs is a corruptible co-conspirator to lend credibility. Luckily the media didn’t have to travel any farther than the previously prestigious halls of academia, you know, the fine folks so consistently wrong about everything COVID. The University of Washington, along with the medical profession, now assert that the right to riot supersedes the right to COVID safe policies.

To demonstrate just how absurd academia has become, Harvard University asserts that racism causes COVID, “If you point your fingers at a symptom, which is a protest, you’re missing the root cause, which is systemic racism,” says Abraar Karan, a physician at Harvard Medical School working on the COVID-19 response. I suppose Karan could be right, I mean it’s possible racism in China caused the Chinese government to engineer a deadly virus killing 395,233 people around the world from every social-economic demographic. Although, I do struggle to connect that to the burning of Saint John’s Church. It’s because of people like Karan that intellectuals dismiss Harvard as a serious academic institution.

Ironically, in same breath academicians admonish those who would protest excessive lockdowns. Apparently the academic community believes the coronavirus actually does distinguish between types of agitators. I apologize to university professors for having missed that lecture, I was probably busy that day studying science.

At least my alma mater weighed in with some reasonableness regarding the riots; “It’s really the worst thing they can do from the pandemic standpoint, because people are coming from disparate areas, crowding together, screaming, and then they’re going back to their own communities,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, a clinical professor emeritus in infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health. While feeling the political pressure to support rioters, Swartzberg had to acknowledge, “they’re going to bring it back to parents and grandparents. People are protesting the taking of somebody’s life, but the irony is that they’re doing things that could cause someone else’s death.

Perhaps in these ironically conflicted times it’s best to lean on true experts of social commentary. So, to paraphrase Shakespeare,

To riot, or not to riot: that is the question:
Whether tis nobler to suffer for social justice,
and take to the streets to protest persistent troubles,
and by opposing change them?
To risk COVID and die or to catch COVID and pass it on to others,
thus causing the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks.
The oppressor’s wrong who locks us down, the proud man’s contumely,
The law’s delay, the need to live free from overreach,
Does thus our conscience make cowards of us all?