In a letter to the editor, New Jersey Republican State Committeeman Joshua Sotomayor Einstein says that while COVID-19 responders deserve praise, “protesters are American heroes as well.”
From the EMTs, nurses, and doctors on the front lines to the companies switching gears to
produce much needed medical supplies; bureaucrats who went from paper pushing that generally benefitted none to medical supply chain logistics that have helped thousands; and farmers, long- hall truckers, and essential food retail employees restocking America’s pantries so that we all may eat, there are no lack of heroes in the current crisis.
Yet while the average Jane and Joe American have responded to these challenging times by helping their neighbors get food, loaning friends money, and generally watching out for one another in the spirit of community, there are some trying to paint others, who should also be celebrated as heroes, as villains.
The COVID-19 crisis is a trying time yet we must celebrate not only those fighting for the lives of our fellow Americans but those fighting for our values. The attacks on our fellow Americans making the choice to protest is inexcusable.
The attempted expansion of extremist cancel culture to criminalize dissent is as fundamentally dangerous to our nation as the COVID-19 virus is to the elderly and others with pre-existing health conditions.
Whereas in a minority of cases the virus, which targets the lungs, fills them with a thick mucus and starves those infected of oxygen, so too does the criminalization of dissent suffocate a democratic republic.
Undoubtedly, as people are aware that lives are on the line and as they are stuck in their homes glued to a mainstream media that is dedicated to an “if it bleeds it leads” (lack of) ethos, many are on edge.
For numerous people, the feeling of disempowered impotency generated by the crisis has morphed into a previously unknown arm chair epidemiological expertise; and for others it has metastasized into impugning the motives and attacking the character of those who dissent.
In New Jersey, we have seen this infantile behavior on daily display by the Murphy administration and it’s apologists.
They would have us silence those questioning the wisdom of shutdown orders that imply social distancing in parks (the same as on the sidewalks) is dangerous and must be banned but allowing convicts with a history of violence out of state prison is safe; that religious services even conducted in cars, drive-in movie style, is prohibited but liquor and weed sales are essential; and in other states that seeds and clothing are unsafe to purchase but food sold in the same stores (and often, same aisles) is allowed.
Those who have vilified dissenters would have us ignore that across the country the vast majority of protestors have been observing social distancing by remaining in their cars and that 99.99% agree that COVID-19 must be dealt with in the most effective manner possible to protect the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
Though temporary, the autocratic rule of Murphy and others governors is a dangerous precedent currently greeted with the glee of state legislators happy to abdicate authority in order to avoid bearing responsibility.
But the fundamental facts remain that America and New Jersey are strong; our doctors, EMTs, and nurses – our front-line heroes, have led us over the curve and are continuing to heal our sick.
The oft-derided blue-collar workers, keeping the nation’s food coming, are being recognized for going to work when the majority has been told to stay home in order to stay safe.
Ordinary, everyday Americans have reached out to friends, neighbors, and community to offer each other what help they can.
Lastly, our dissenters have stood fast, offering demonstrable evidence that if we only have values when it’s easy to, then they aren’t really things we valued in the first place.
Because democracy dies without dissent, the protesters are American heroes as well.
Joshua Sotomayor Einstein
New Jersey Republican State Committeeman