Where is Rosa Parks when we need her as an example for the country?

Where is Rosa Parks when we need her as an example for the country?
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I was widely attacked last month for suggesting that protesters attending rallies to oppose the loss of their jobs, businesses, and First Amendment freedoms due to government lockdowns should behave like “modern day versions of Rosa Parks.” How dare I compare “right wing protesters” with one of the great civil rights icons of America? This was evidently “racist” and I was demanded to apologize. Even “Saturday Night Live” parodied my reference to her nonviolent protest in the civil rights movement.

But no one bothered to take note that I wrote my college thesis about civil disobedience and our storied tradition of nonviolent protest as the way to redress government injustices. I referenced such heroic leaders as Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, and Rosa Parks.

I was advising the organizers of the lockdown protests to make sure that they were engaged in safe peaceful assembly by wearing masks and not bringing guns or wearing “Make America Great Again” hats if they really wanted to effect change. I attended some of the rallies and, fortunately, that is what most of those protesters around the country have done.


Now the left has taken to the streets with bricks and molotov cocktails to protest racial injustice. It might have been helpful if someone on the left advised them to imitate Rosa Parks instead of burning and looting many businesses owned by immigrants, spray painting obscenities all over the streets and buildings, and endangering police, who are outnumbered by the mobs and have been courageously trying to keep our cities safe.

Many protesters sadly have not been anything like modern day versions of Rosa Parks. A New York Times opinion columnist over the weekend argued that violence can lead to social change. Consider also the hypocrisy of the mainstream media and liberal intelligentsia on public health. They seethed with contempt over the lockdown protesters for ignoring all the stay home orders and endangering themselves and others. The Washington Post also sneered that their philosophy was “give us liberty and give us death.”

Blue cities are under severe lockdowns ordered by Democratic mayors, with thousands of protesters in the streets, and social distancing is the furthest thing from their minds. But have any mainstream media pundits objected that these protesters could be spreading the coronavirus and endangering themselves and their communities? Apparently, those stay home orders and social distancing requirements apply to the protesters on the right only, while those on the left can ignore its own dictates.

Similarly, many in the media decried the lockdown protesters as “heavily armed” gun nuts waving confederate flags around and organized by the extreme right wing groups. I can attest first hand that this is a deliberate falsification. These protesters were mostly middle class people who lost their jobs, business owners who had to close down, minorities who lost their incomes, and folks who lost their right of religious freedom. While some bad apples participated, they were definitely the exception.

The irony, of course, is that those people armed with weapons were the rioters over the weekend. Now if the mainstream media and Democratic leaders want to play a constructive role, perhaps they could remind the enraged protesters that the great Rosa Parks did more to advance racial equality in America with one act of civil disobedience than those tens of thousands of violent protesters destroying many cities combined.

Stephen Moore (@StephenMoore) is an economic consultant for Freedom Works and served as an adviser with the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump.