This week there were protests against the “stay at home” order issued by the California governor in my hometown of San Clemente, CA. There were several all across the country demanding to open the states and allow people to do what they want with their bodies. Anyone who has spoken to me in the last twenty years knows that, in my opinion, it is the best town ever. The temperature, the beach, the location between two major metropolitan areas but its main draw is its people.
San Clemente underwent a transformation decades ago and that expansion was seen as the end of the “Spanish Village by the Sea” as we knew it. Essentially, a more remote area was opened to development and it was named Talega. These new homes provided a small surf town with an influx of “Talegians.”
These were “not us” because they moved into the new neighborhoods, big houses and made everything more expensive. SC locals reacted to change as many groups do, but over time everyone adapted to the changes and realized that the newcomers wanted the same things we did. Peace restored Talega brought jobs and opened up new opportunities to businesses that hadn’t seen growth in years. Several breweries have made San Clemente their home and industry flourished. Even the San Clemente Casino, originally opened in 1937, has seen new life after being shuttered for decades re-opened in 2009.
Changes to the way things are sting but we grow to accept them. Many cultural groups now considered part of the fabric of America were once seen as undesirable Europeans. The influx of new people is scary until we realize that we too were “new people” at some point. Those Talegians and SC locals raised demand for more retail business and where once empty fields reigned now sit the San Clemente Outlets which cleverly link trails right down to the beach blending the new and the old.
Protesting is intertwined with American Culture since before we were “These United States.” We protested taxes on tea, had a little party in Boston and the rest is history. This is an unprecedented time in our history when we are torn apart by a foe that separates families such that men and women die alone without seeing their loved ones ever again. Throughout our history the American Citizen has been asked to do things against their will. During the world wars the government asked the populous to purchase war bonds to support the effort. When an army needed to be raised post Pearl Harbor there was a military draft.
This is a global pandemic. For the sake of argument let’s assume every official figure is wrong. Let’s assume that the whole thing is blown out of proportion. The fact is Covid-19 is the cause of death of many in the United States, every state has reported cases, and at this point there is no vaccine.
Is my ability to get a haircut or sit in a restaurant worth the risk of spread? Is my imprudent desire more important than my neighbors health? Is the price of social distancing too high to pay? On balance is a short period of difficulty worth the safety of our community? Yes. The right thing to do is to run the risk of believing the experts. At worst the economy struggles but no amount of money is worth the life and health of these United States.