Culture

Somebody Should Tell the Governor That California Is Re-Opening With or Without Him

Screenshot/Instagram

It started with this guy earlier this month.

Screenshot/Twitter

The unknown Malibu stand up paddle boarder became the symbol of draconian government diktats. What harm was he doing? He was in the ocean and far away from others.

Screenshot/Instagram

Two life guard boats, two sheriff’s deputies and a trip to a crowded jail later, the Malibu paddle boarder had been charged with failing to follow the rules against social distancing in LA County. According to the sheriff, he has been the only individual arrested for breaking the rules.

But one was enough to start an quiet revolution.

Surfers are sneaking in waves while the cops aren’t looking.

Shutting down busy restaurants, busy shopping centers, basketball courts and sweaty gyms makes social distancing sense but, people rightly reasoned, beaches? Surfers? Really?

Yes, really. Laguna Beach. Closed to walkers, swimmers and skim boarders.

Torrey Pines. Closed.

San Clemente. Closed.

Name every beach in the Beach Boys song, “Surfin’ USA” and they’re closed.

As I took a walk in Pacific Beach in San Diego Sunday afternoon I realized that the revolution was really underway. California governor Gavin Newsom can’t keep these people locked up and locked out for much longer.

A group of people in their 20’s had gathered across the street from my friend’s house. Boisterous laughter erupted every now and again as the large group of partygoers enjoyed each others’ company.

Strains of “Happy Birthday” could be heard next door from another group of people.

Down the street another smaller group placed their portable speaker on the wall surrounding the courtyard of an apartment complex beckoning other would-be quarantine breakers to come to happy hour.

The sidewalk in front of the local taproom was more populated than the last time I’d seen it.

Speakeasies are next if they’re not everywhere already.

There were more cars on the streets and freeways. LA traffic reports are filled with accidents and backups again.

The beaches are closed but that doesn’t mean people aren’t socially gathering at a not-so-socially-distant span. The closures have just moved the gatherings elsewhere.

On Sunday, dozens of people gathered at Swami’s beach in Encinitas to demand the beaches and more be re-opened.

The day before, scores turned out in Huntington Beach to demand reopening of some areas.

Last week, Jacksonville, Florida’s mayor announced limited hours for the beaches starting Friday evening.

Many people came to enjoy them. The media told some big whoppers about how close people were while walking on the beach.

California could once again let people on the beaches and surfers in the water.

The very real issue is, people have begun to flout the governor’s diktats. From the surfer to the paddle boarder to families walking on the trails in Encinitas by Swamis beach. These are the law-abiding people demanding that some of the constraints be loosened.

Let them go to the beach with a mask on for God’s sake.

Governor Newsom, you can help them and yourself out by relaxing the rules before generations of people learn to disregard and disdain the rule of law as much as you disdain their freedom.

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