So you think you are resisting
I've seen a lot of reader comments lately in various media on government COVID mandates where the commenters attack the victims in the story. For example, take a January 15 Daily Wire article, "NY Restauranteur [sic] Blasts Dem Senator's 'Arrogance' For Flouting Mask Mandate: 'Thinks She's Above The Law.'" The story is about how U.S. senator Kirsten Gillibrand is a hypocrite with respect to the state's COVID-19 mask mandate because she entered a restaurant without wearing a mask.
I agree with the point of the story. However, one reader commented on being turned away at a local restaurant for not wearing a mask as mandated by government authorities. The diner told the person at the door that he would take his business elsewhere from then on, to which the host suggested that he just "play the game" and wear a mask. Many other commenters were outraged by the "play the game" comment. Most suggested or affirmed the decision never to patronize that establishment again and to "tell all your friends about it, too."
They responded as if the restaurant-owner were some sort of collaborator, and many comparisons were made to the rise of the Nazis in Germany. Nonetheless, there is a significant difference here that matters regarding collaboration, an important point to which I will return shortly.
One writer scolded me for defending the restaurant-owner and for pointing out that the establishment could be shut down, which would create problems for the restaurateur and his employees, who have bills to pay and families to feed. I suggested that these writers' fight is not with this person, but, instead, with the government and that they should pick more appropriate battles. I added that they should vote, write articles, and protest. I added, as I usually do, that it is easy to call for risky action by someone else at no risk to yourself.
Then I was lectured by another commenter about how one toothpick is easy to break and how a bunch of toothpicks together are harder to break...a classic and very easy-to-understand analogy.
My response was basically, "Where are all these toothpicks?"
Image: Sophie Scholl of the White Rose, a peaceful resistance movement in Nazi Germany. Its primary members, including Sophie, were executed. Others were imprisoned.
I explained that randomly placed toothpicks are not hard to break and that properly organized and aligned toothpicks are called for. Why would the restaurateur risk anything for someone who just randomly walks in? Who is going to provide him and his employees with what they need to survive? Who would risk punishment by sneaking into his closed-down place at night to buy a meal? Who would hire his waiters and cooks?
Why should he bear the risk for change when so many others do not?
The essence of political resistance is that it must be organized and focused. It calls for leaders who can identify government weaknesses and find ways to exploit them. It requires funding and discipline. Until you have all that, you do not have a "resistance" — you have dissatisfaction.
Once a genuine resistance is in place, we can discuss collaboration. A collaborator is someone who has something to gain by working with the oppressor. A collaborator is not someone who has everything to lose with no hope of support from the other dissatisfied members of the community. Meaningful resistance takes courage, and all those calling for resistance must be willing to risk something, too, rather than just ask someone else to resist. Furthermore, those in the resistance must be energized and prepared to play the long game, which is something most Americans on the right are not very good at doing
Refusing to wear a mask at the grocery store or in someone else's restaurant is not a risk. Instead, refuse to wear it at your place of employment or at a hospital or some other place that will actually enforce the mandate. See what price you are willing to pay for your freedom all by yourself. Whether it is punishment, financial sacrifice, or even worse, the risks are serious in a genuine resistance movement, and they must be shared.
Last week, my son was admitted to the burn unit of the local hospital for a very rare and dangerous allergic reaction to a prescription drug. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome...check out the images if you want a real scare. Throwing a mask on was the last thing I ever thought about. Get it?
Until we have the level of organized resistance I've described, we should stop pointing the finger at each other. That is a terrible waste of energy and plays directly into the hands of those we intend to resist. After all, dividing us is exactly the strategy used by the government and the left to get what they want.
PS: My son is now home, safe and sound — thanks to the doctors, nurses, medical staff, and all those who prayed, lit candles, and cooked meals.