Reflections on the Revolution, Lockdowns, and Riots

The almost five-month domestic virus lockdowns and the more recent two-month urban riots have produced a profound variety of political consequences for our country, many of them premeditated and intentional. What began as a brief, two-week quarantine to “flatten the curve” to avoid overwhelming hospitals, has devolved into an unrealistic (in the short run) mandate to “find the cure.”

Even before the arrival of COVID-19, everything had become political in the ruling class’s effort to defeat Donald Trump. First, we had the political spying, then the Russia hoax, and then impeachment. 

Trump’s true crime? He had the gall four years ago first to insult, and then to attempt to clean up the Augean Stables of the establishment after foregoing the customary genuflecting to which this same ruling class had become accustomed.

 Today’s Jacobins—now a smug, bipartisan, technocratic, and administrative elite—are still clinging to control, but President Trump in the White House is an existential threat to their ongoing narrative and diminishing power. If nothing else, he has exposed them.

While Trump’s job approval numbers have remained remarkably consistent over the course of his presidency (within a narrow range of 38-48 percent in the RealClearPolitics’ averages since his inauguration), the RCP betting odds favoring his reelection have taken a dramatic nosedive following the onset of the urban protests and subsequent riots over the last nine weeks. Eight weeks ago, Trump was up 10 points; now, he’s down 24 points, a 34-point swing. 

With the election now less than 100 days away, former Vice President Joe Biden’s basement strategy appears to be working, as his lead in all the swing state polls has only widened since the violence started. The looting, general mayhem, and breakdown of law and order in largely Democratic states and cities have helped the progressive Left consolidate power and control as they dictate stay-at-home orders (except for those protesting, looting, burning, defacing/tearing down statues, or attacking police). Their narrative is couched in seemingly-scientific platitudes of “saving lives,” while in reality they continue to do more harm than good. 

As the top-third of society can manage stay-at-home arrangements—teleworking and teleconferencing allows them to keep their jobs and emerge just fine—the bottom-third consists of many who’ve lost jobs and have had their lives and finances upended. These Americans are confronting pathologies to which the ruling class are either oblivious or largely indifferent. There are also many in this same bottom-third who are considered “essential,” and thus are under enormous pressure to perform for their overlords in the ruling class. These are the frontline healthcare workers and nurses, the truck drivers, the Amazon warehouse shelf stockers, grocery store workers, and so on. 

The result is that the growing number of COVID-19 infections are now classified as “cases,” while the concomitant rise in largely unintended pathologies are mostly ignored, often deliberately. Thus we hear about the uptick in often asymptomatic virus cases, but rarely learn of the increases in suicides, rising rates of depression and anxiety, the spousal and child abuse, drug overdoses, and general economic and physical ruin that has come as a result of the extended lockdown—all of which have had a greater impact on the working-class Americans heretofore classified by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as “deplorables” and “clingers.” 

The accelerated absence of black fathers in inner-city neighborhoods is not only heartbreaking, it is a leading cause of the social chaos in inner-city neighborhoods. This combined with the virus-induced joblessness and warm weather (almost all large-scale urban riots historically take place only between April and October) have only increased the violence and destruction. 

Adding insult to injury, the government mandates against churchgoing and in favor of mask-wearing while officials simultaneously condone the rioting, looting, anarchy, and violence in many of our urban areas. These largely Democratic governors and mayors with their talk of a “Summer of Love” and “peaceful protests” demonstrate the insulting and profound hypocrisy and cynicism of our elites.

As the police have come under attack by leftist mayors, governors, and the media, urban crime has soared exponentially, all in a very short period of time. The staggering urban shooting and murder rate increases are not widely discussed because progressives in the media practice but cannot admit the most insidious kind of racism, the racism of exceedingly low expectations for the urban poor. These progressives have abrogated their responsibility to their fellow citizens, and rely on fear, feelings, and a narrative of victimhood everywhere instead of facts, self-empowerment, and uplifting rhetoric. 

These same urban pathologies are slowly spreading to rural areas, decimating communities in their wake. All the while, the Left is performing backflips to divide us by race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual preference, all as part of a cynical political strategy to defeat Trump on November 3. The Left is largely angry and confrontational, with a barely-concealed hatred for America and its early heroes. Many on the Right cowardly acquiesce, hoping that with a little kneeling appeasement, the mob will disperse. But cowardice only emboldens the mob, as history has shown us repeatedly.

The lockdown narrative is enabled by a compliant media, aimed not at reporting the truth, but instead at spoon-feeding a tailored, Pravda-esque narrative. With the exception of a few conservative outlets, every media story is designed to kneecap Trump,not only with selective and biased reporting, but often with outright fabrications. One example is the biased and misleading reporting on the effectiveness of the inexpensive triple-drug trifecta of Hydroxychloroquine-zinc sulfate-Azithromycin to treat the virus in its early stages, while at the same time promoting the obscenely expensive and less-effective Gilead Sciences drug Remdesevir. 

Whether or not CDC, NIH, or National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID, which Anthony Fauci has run for 36 years) doctors and administrators are on the boards of various companies whose drugs they are promoting is not widely acknowledged or discussed. The recent YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook censoring of a now-viral video of a group of doctors in white lab coats discussing both their personal stories of successful COVID-19 treatments as well as the need to return kids to school this fall is chilling, portentous, and revealing of the punishment our media overlords and hall monitors have in store for you if you stray from the established anti-Trump narrative (if Trump says hydroxychloroquine is good, then, of course, it has to be bad).

In the end, the Wuhan coronavirus is not the plague, but it is a very bad respiratory disease, akin to the 1957-58 Asian Flu or the 1968-69 Hong Kong Flu, with per-capita deaths in the United States in a roughly similar range. We did not shut down our economy or put citizens on mask-wearing home confinement lockdowns during either of those pandemics. We now know that COVID-19 disproportionately affects mainly the elderly and those with compromised immune systems or other comorbidities, and is thus extremely selective whom it affects (very much unlike the Spanish Flu of 1918). 

Kids under 21 have a much greater chance of dying from the regular flu than from COVID-19, and it is madness that entire school districts will be shut down this fall. I haven’t even discussed the financial incentive for hospitals to classify deaths from ambiguous causes as COVID-19 deaths, not to mention the bizarre classification of certain fatalities such as traffic deaths as COVID-19 deaths, if an autopsy reveals a prior trace of the virus.

The science writer Alex Berezow (not to be confused with the brilliant ex-New York Times reporter and extended-lockdown-overreaction Twitter analyst, Alex Berenson) wrote insightfully in USA Today:

Car accidents claim another 40,000 American lives each year. Though the comparison is imperfect because car crashes aren’t infectious, the point is that we accept these risks as a matter of routine. Why? Because the alternative—banning cars and shutting down everyday life—is unacceptable. As it turns out, dying is one of the risks of living.

Dying is indeed one of the risks of living. As a society, we have completely overreacted. Yes, isolate the elderly and the vulnerable, wash your hands, and be more conscious of sneezing and coughing. 

But let’s get back to normal and ease up on the lockdowns. And while we’re at it, let’s prosecute some of the looting and other violent rioting crimes, to deter future bad behavior, and give our citizens the rightful impression that government leaders at all levels—local, state, and national—are competent and interested in keeping communities safe, not surrendering them to the mob to advance a selfish political agenda.

About Robert P. Gabriel

Robert Gabriel is a private investor living in Washington, D.C. He worked on Capitol Hill for a United States Senator, as a financial consultant with a national investment management firm, and as a senior executive with a data-mining firm. He is a graduate of Vassar College and received an MBA from Georgetown University.

Photo: Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

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