I am angry – in fact I am enraged. No, let me be honest – I am mad as hell. So I am going to vent a bit.

Like many people I have had been doing what I can to contribute to flattening the curve and helping us as a community overcome this COVID-19 pandemic. For that reason I have been greatly disturbed by reports of organized protests in state capitals around the country, including my own Pennsylvania, calling for an end to the “sheltering in place,” wearing masks, social distancing, and closure of all but life-essential businesses.  And the folks were not just protesting, they were doing all the things one should NOT do, if we are to overcome and survive in this pandemic.

This was no random set of protests but an organized effort in states where Pres. Trump is hoping to win so-called “battleground states” in the November election. So while he said he was supporting the governors to make the decisions when to let people to go back to work, he then tweeted his support of the protests.  The irresponsibility of the protests and #45’s support of them is unconscionable.

Supposedly, these protestors were exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and free assembly. Under other conditions, I might agree. But their actions are akin to shouting “fire” in  a crowded theater when there is no fire. It is abusing freedom to such a degree that others may suffer – perhaps in their own families – by their irresponsible actions. Freedom isn’t free – it takes maturity and responsibility.

Sure, we want life to go back to “normal.” Sure, we want to work and earn our livelihoods.  But we are not in a time when one can make a decision or take an action on what that one person wants  to do. We are in a time when more than ever we must not only concern ourselves for individual rights but for the safety and well-being of every single person with whom we come in contact: on the street, in the grocery store, at our jobs and in our homes. The fact that these protestors would take such irresponsible actions and not even wear a mask or stand 6 feet apart, something any five year old child understands, is beyond irresponsible; its criminal.

Fortunately, the vast majority of people I know and have encountered have followed the CDC’s guidelines and have generally ignored the ill-informed mixed messages from #45. Fortunately, the vast majority people I have encountered understand – sometimes begrudgingly – that their wants and desires come second to the well-being of their neighbors. Fortunately, there are far more people seeking to do acts of kindness and share concern and love with their circles of friends and family, than the idiots marching on these capitals.

Such coverage is irresponsible of the media.  All of them should do what Facebook has proposed doing – shutting them down.

In this way we can get through this together and eventually enjoy our freedoms in a way that is responsible and healthy. Wear those masks, keep that distance, stay at home and let’s do the right thing for all of us.

Freedom isn’t free. It requires we exercise that freedom with all those others around us in mind.