Stay-at-home protests rage on

AP Photo/Jim Mone

Protesors gather outside of Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’s mansion Source:

Dom Nelson, Writer and Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to strike the world with an unprecedented strength, with the United States being hit the hardest in terms of reported cases and deaths. According to the Center of Disease Control, the United States has endured almost 1.2 million cases and almost 70,000 deaths. Due to this raging virus, millions of U.S. workers have filed for unemployment. According to CNN, roughly 30.3 million people have filed for unemployment in the last six weeks – accounting for 18.6 percent of the U.S. labor force. Aside from the economic turmoil, almost every state has put a stay-at-home order in place.

The unprecedented unemployment numbers combined with the majority of American’s having to stay in their homes (barring any essential shopping), are causing many Americans to become impatient. This has led to people protesting the stay-at-home orders and calling out scientists for overhyping the virus. Most protesters, especially in Michigan, where the protests seem to be the largest, find the strictly set stay-at-home orders unnecessary. Many of the protestors think that businesses, towns, or even states, do not need to be under these orders if their numbers are low in comparison to other regions. Political Science teacher Mr. Dean Walters says, “The ultimate goal is to achieve something. Recognition, be on the news, get their point across.”

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A few politicians have attended protests, and President Donald Trump has spoken briefly on the matter, tweeting out in all capital letters to “liberate” Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia. This has only fanned the fire lit by the protesters. Following President Trump’s tweets, a protest made up of 800 Minnesota citizens was held outside of Governor Tim Walz’s mansion. President Trump has received some backlash for his response to the pandemic, which some people thought was far too delayed. He has also received backlash for trying to open the country up again at this stage of the virus. There is a chance that these decisions might impact his voting numbers in the next election. 

Regardless of the numbers supplied by the nation’s leading scientists and nationwide polls that show overbearing support for staying under stay-at-home orders, the protests continue to rage on. What the majority of protesters seem to be looking for is a modified stay-at-home order that only focuses on regional areas hit the hardest, such as metropolitan areas. 

Protesting has been a tool used by millions of Americans in the past. When looking back on past mass protests, Mr. Walters says, “Many protests have proved their point.” He mentions the Women’s Rights Movement that allowed women to vote, the Civil Rights Movement in the sixties that gave minorities many more rights, the Vietnam War Protests that influenced soldiers being pulled out of Vietnam, the Gay Rights Movement that allowed same sex marriage, and the 99 percent March movement that impacted social and economic equality. Mr. Walters says, “It proves that it might take some time but the protests do work in many cases.” The protests have yet to influence any sort of major executive decision regarding opening businesses or modifying the stay-at-home orders.