Last Friday, the pro-pandemic patriot protesters made a stop in their world tour in Madison, Wisconsin. The purported purpose of the protest was to rebel against the Safer at Home order by Governor Tony Evers and their constitutional right to get infected and to infect others with a potentially life-threatening virus.
But one just knew that the protest has a high potential to be a real Mad Hatter's Tea Party when event organizers and a top Republican Party official felt it necessary to admonish people not to act, well, like Republicans:
The organizers of the Madison rally and the two others held last weekend have gone to great lengths to describe themselves and their events as nonpolitical, despite ample evidence that the state’s Republican leadership is intricately involved. They are also trying to prevent the gatherings from becoming a platform for other conservative causes, or from appearing like de facto Trump campaign rallies.
Brian Westrate, the treasurer of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, posted to a private Facebook group for organizers and some attendees of the Madison rally, asking people not to bring emblems of causes other than resisting the stay-at-home order.
“Ok folks, I implore you, please leave Confederate flags and/or AR15s, AK47s, or any other long guns at home,” Mr. Westrate wrote. “I well understand that the Confederacy was more about states rights than slavery. But that does not change the truth of how we should try to control the optics during the event.”
In an interview, Mr. Westrate acknowledged writing the post and said it may be futile to ask the rally participants to limit the variety of their political motivations.
Indeed, it was futile. All the wingnuts were there from the anti-abortionists to the gun nuts with a really crappy guillotine to this Nazi idealist:
Mequon resident Alex Leykin, 52, says he's here because of government overreach.
"I think the initial response was excellent. I think the shutdown was warranted.
We now know what we're facing. It's time to let the citizens decide for themselves how and who to protect." pic.twitter.com/X2HLpyxx23
— Shawn Johnson (@SJohnsonWPR) April 24, 2020
And the obligatory 5G conspiracy nut:
About the only kooks not in attendance were the actual Republicans.
Now, we are still a few days away from seeing what kind of bump in new COVID-19 cases might occur from this exercise in stupidity and madness, but there have already been signs of some other unintended consequences, such as accountability for one's poor decision making.
Case in point, meet Jerry Smith:
Apparently Smith has since apparently deleted his Facebook page but when I had looked earlier, Smith's bio included working for ATI Ladish Forged Products, which had been deemed an essential company and was exempt from having to close under the Safer at Home order. Kudos are due to the company for being responsible enough to hold Smith accountable for his actions and to safeguard the health and safety of its other employees by sending Smith home for two weeks.