A month ago I said it will be the public that makes the decision to reopen America, not the government.
It took too long, but that’s exactly what has happened.
From the beaches of Southern California and Florida to the state capitals of Michigan and Pennsylvania, thousands of regular people have yelled, “End the COVID-19 shutdown. Give us back our country and our freedoms.”
The elite liberal media portrayed the peaceful crowds that crashed the beaches and waved their handmade “Freedom is Essential” signs as irresponsible grandma killers, mindless Trump supporters or Nazis.
But as usual, the liberal media had it backwards.
The ordinary people calling for the reopening of America and defying the sweeping decrees of petty tyrants like California Gov. Gavin Newsom or Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf are not villains.
They’re American heroes.
The Rebels of 2020 have uncommon American common sense.
They’re the ones who know that waging a war against a new and lethal coronavirus does not mean we must shut down the economy, throw 33 million people out of work overnight and cancel the Bill of Rights.
The Rebels are the ones who are not willing to cower in fear in their basements until a vaccine comes to save them.
They’re people like the brave businesswoman from Dallas who was sent to jail (and later released) for refusing to apologize for reopening her spa in defiance of city orders.
And after almost three months of being spooked and confused by the media, medical experts and authoritarian politicians, they’re people who have figured out that the coronavirus – dangerous and mysterious as it is – doesn’t attack people randomly.
They know that unless you are over age 75, living in a nursing home and already have serious medical problems like heart disease or diabetes, your chances of catching COVID-19 are low, your chances of getting seriously sick from it are even lower, and your chances of dying from it are minuscule.
The Rebels of 2020 also realize that our all-out war against the spread of the coronavirus has been a historic economic and social mistake for the country and that it has to end as quickly as possible.
It was their peaceful civil disobedience that put the political pressure on several governors and forced them to begin relaxing their severe policies or end their statewide shutdowns sooner.
It sure wasn’t “elite” liberal journalists and pundits who made that happen. They were universally fearful and pro-shutdown – and still are.
They couldn’t stop praising the most-dictatorial Blue State governors for their “courage” and, despite the mistakes of Gov. Cuomo of New York, they crowned him as our wisest and greatest leader in a time of crisis.
At the same time the media shamed Red State governors like Kristi Noem of South Dakota for not closing down their states and criticized Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia for reopening his state too soon.
Gov. Noem was called foolish and stupid for supposedly risking thousands of lives. But she didn’t panic and refused to shut down the economy of South Dakota, which as of Thursday had 31 COVID-19 deaths out of a population of 900,000.
She was sensible and measured. She advised the vulnerable population to stay home. And she urged social distancing while encouraging the rest of the state to continue the economic activity they needed to survive.
Most important, Noem didn’t fold to the pressure to get tough and become an overnight dictator.
As she said, “The people of South Dakota are the source of the power and legitimacy of our government – not the media, not politicians and not political parties. That’s a healthy perspective for any elected official to keep in mind.”
Noem will never be hailed as one of the heroes of the COVID-19 crisis by the liberal media, but she should be.
Unlike most of governors, she was always in touch with the people.
Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.