by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Earlier this week, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot had big news: The city is opening up its iconic Lakefront Trail after months of being closed off as part of a COVID-19 lockdown.
That Lightfoot kept the trail closed even after Chicago had experienced large-scale Black Lives Matter marches — thousands just last weekend during the “Drag March for Change” — is one small instance of the flagrant social-distancing hypocrisy across the country in recent weeks.
If it’s okay for throngs of people to pack the streets and shout and chant to protest the death of George Floyd, it ought to be permissible for someone to ride a bike along the lakeside while keeping to him- or herself. In fact, one involves sustained interaction with other people, and perhaps fights with the police, while the other is a solitary activity, or one undertaken with a friend or a spouse.
Yet, Mayor Lightfoot welcomed the protestors — “We want people to come and express their passion,” she said — and still kept the trail shuttered.
Many of the same officials who were most zealous in locking down their states and cities instantly made an exception for Black Lives Matter protests. Their rigidity became laxity in a blink of an eye. Their metric for reopening wasn’t the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines or any other public-health measure but the “wokeness” of the activity in question.
Visiting the deathbed of a loved one with COVID-19? Absolutely not. Having a proper funeral? No way. Gathering more than about ten people at a graveside? No one should be allowed to put the public at risk in such a way.
Bringing thousands of strangers to march together for hours in spontaneous, disorderly groups? Thank you for your commitment to positive change.