In 2020, We Have Forgotten How To Leave People Alone
Two recent episodes, both caught on video, highlight just how bonkers the impulse to turn personal choices into political protest fodder has become. In 2020, nothing is worse, it seems, than other people going about their business in a way you happen to dislike.
In Florida, a group of about a dozen young people went to a local Target store to protest people wearing masks. Although Florida doesn’t have one, Broward County (where this Target is located) does, and Target requires masks in stores nationwide regardless of local laws (the store provides for free if someone does not have one).* The unmasked horde aimed their chants at any customers who agreed to follow the rule, moving through the store shouting at shoppers to remove their masks.
Anti-maskers in Florida invade a Target pic.twitter.com/Z8TWbl8ihD
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) September 16, 2020
The Target protesters mirror—albeit in a cheerier way—a recent group of left-wing activists who confronted people dining out near protests against police brutality in Washington, D.C. (Similar incidents also took place in Pittsburgh and in Rochester, New York.) These protesters—ostensibly concerned with racial justice and with reforming or abolishing U.S. policing—surrounded random outdoor diners, demanding at top volume that they express support for the cause. When some people wouldn’t, the crowd surrounded them, berating some diners at close range.
1) In a scene that played out several times Monday, a Black Lives Matter protest that began in Columbia Heights confronted White diners outside D.C. restaurants, chanting “White silence is violence!” and demanding White diners show their solidarity. #DCProtests pic.twitter.com/fJbPM76vb0
— Fredrick Kunkle WaPo (@KunkleFredrick)
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