by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Our drive across the country began in California, a state where most residents seemed to relish in Dr. Anthony Fauci’s arbitrary prognostications. But in the secretly open highway bars of Nevada’s desolate gold country, rebellion reigned. In Pierre, South Dakota, 1,800 miles from our thoroughly shut-down starting point, Gov. Kristi Noem welcomed me with a hug, and a nearby family of ranchers invited us in for lunch after a morning of branding their calves. The American heartland, we saw, was well beyond D.C.’s hidden dinner parties.
By the time we returned to our paranoid capital with tales of freedom from across the country, we were ready to move our bi-weekly Bible study from Zoom to my kitchen table. A guest who picked up our dinner at a local Italian restaurant that had survived the first few months of closures gleefully reported he’d been invited to sit at the bar for a glass of wine, where a number of patrons were enjoying illicit dinners. That restaurant, like most in our city, had boarded their windows to deter the summer rioters; now their boarded windows deterred the mayor’s prying eyes.
On the Hill, our little rebellion slowly grew. By the time the rescheduled Kentucky Derby took place in an empty Churchill Downs, more than 20 sun-dressed and seer-sucker-clad guests gathered in my home raised fresh mint juleps to the winner. Word of open bars just across the Maryland border brought travelers, while just across the river in our own D.C., neighborhood business after business succumbed under the awful weight of our mayor’s stubborn stupidity.
This week, as we exited a full year of toppled statues, rising crime, and continuing restrictions, we held the first St. Patrick’s Day Party any of our friends had been to since March 2019. With Celtic music playing just a block from our razor-wired Capitol, we shared corned beef, shepherd’s pie, and Irish stout as friends and families who hadn’t seen each other in a year hugged and enjoyed the warm outdoor sun.