Government restrictions on the right to assemble during the ongoing pandemic have destroyed the livelihoods of many local musicians and performing artists. And the rationale for lockdowns being used by politicians and public health officials bode ill for their long term future.
The current pandemic was initially termed the Wuhan flu before it was deemed politically incorrect. It is a virulent and deadly form of the flu. It is not the first such strain nor will it be the last. Every year, the flu strikes millions of people. It is particularly deadly to the elderly and those with other serious underlying medical problems. AND it mutates as it goes so that in any given year there can be new strains to address. And this strain is really bad news.
But we know this….if you are over 70 or have a serious medical issue…take EVERY rational precaution. If you are over 50, wear a mask and wash your damn hands when you are out and about. But if you are under 50 and have no serious medical condition, you should have the CHOICE to take the RISK and get on living your life. Restricting the rights of people under 50 to go to a restaurant or a concert hall or a local bar is government sticking its nose where it can….but it shouldn’t!!
We ALL live with risk every moment of every day. And destroying the livelihoods of performing artists to mitigate these risks is not going to do anything but lead to more drug use and suicides among this vulnerable group of people. Public Health officials are already stating that it may be 2022 “before they feel the threat to the public is under control”. And I have news for you ….the NEXT STRAIN of flu after COVID-19…and there will be a next strain… will lead to the same rationale for restricting public assembly in the name of safety……..for whom?
At some point, we must, in the music industry, stand up to the hysterical (and politicized) fear mongering. Previous generations have had to battle evils that far outweigh this pandemic. All we have to do is endure the slights of the social media trolls (who tolerate no opinion but their own) and rationally make the case that freedom is about making choices and taking the associated risk. If the reasoning takes hold that MY freedom should be restricted dramatically to lower YOUR risk then democracy will become just a platitude and public health officials will be screaming an alarm on any number of issues. If they can restrict your right to assemble, they can damn sure restrict your ability to eat, drink, smoke, drive, create music, or make comments like I am…all in the name of public health!! Fight for your freedoms…..and help put a lot of performing artists and musicians back to work NOW!
Ben Vee is an internet DJ and writer from New Orleans that now lives in Connecticut with his wife Annette. He started spinning records back in the 1970’s and has been writing about the roadhouse blues since 2011. He does two roadhouse blues shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and he writes about the blues when the urge strikes on http://www.benveeblues.com.