Sylvie Damargi/Courier An illustration of Elon Musk saying “FREE AMERICA NOW” on Twitter on April 28, 2020 and people are mad. Photo courtesy from caranddriver.com, slack.com, and inc.com/Getty Images.
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Like Musk, most people are sick and tired of being stuck at home and enduring all manner of disruption to their daily lives.The United States however, is not ready to reopen for business.

Give people back their Goddamn Freedom! This was his latest rant against shelter in place rules currently in effect in the United States. Musk called the existing conditions a “forcible imprisonment in their homes, against all their constitutional rights”. As the majority of his wealth is tied up in his Tesla stock, it would appear that Musk’s primary concern is related more to the forced shuttering of his California based Tesla plant and its potential damage to his bottom line than any concern he may have for his fellow citizens. 

Protests against stay at home orders are on the rise throughout the nation. For the most part they have been peaceful, but last week in Michigan gun toting protesters entered the state Capitol demanding a reopening of that state’s economy. Combining armed protestors with incendiary comments by someone with Musk’s platform is a recipe for trouble.

Fortunately for the rest of us, a majority understand that it is premature to go back to business as usual. Despite many hardships, people are doing their best to set aside concerns for their financial well being, separation from family and friends and the loss of many leisurely pursuits, out of concern for the health and well being of their neighbors.

Recent polls indicate that a large percentage of people in California and the rest of the U.S. feel that it is premature to relax the shelter in place and social distancing edicts that have helped to fight the spread of the Covid-19. Experts on the White House coronavirus task force agree that these steps have had a significant positive impact on slowing the spread of the disease.

The same polls indicate that many fear that a relaxing of the current guidelines could result in a second wave of the virus. Logic would seem to dictate that without a vaccine or a reliable cure, it is not in anyone’s best interest to go back to gathering in restaurants, movie theatres, sports arenas’ etc. The end result of that could very well be a second wave of infections that would further cripple our economy and our health care system. Collectively, we have all invested and sacrificed too much to risk another round of mass infections.

Elon Musk is a brilliant, forward thinking man. His relentless pursuit of new technology and innovation have produced remarkable innovation. Whether it’s paving the way for the explosion of e-commerce, redefining the electric car industry or re-thinking space travel, he has helped create innovations that benefit us all.  

That is what makes his recent comments so puzzling.His deeds are beneficial to many, but his words are self serving and potentially harmful. Many of his statements concerning the coronavirus are flat out wrong. For example, he has stated that the federal government is exaggerating the number of coronavirus deaths and is mis-leading the public. Meanwhile, New York City emergency responders and funeral directors told Business Insider Magazine that, if anything, New York has undercounted Covid-19 deaths.

Likewise, Musk has been very critical of the “stay at home” orders. He says that it is “fascist” for the government to tell people that they will be arrested if they leave their homes, but there is no such law on the books. On March 6th, he said that panic about the coronavirus “is dumb.” As of this writing, most people realize the absurdity of that statement. 

People are worried now because no one can say with any certainty what tomorrow is going to look like. We need our leaders to project hopefulness in their words and actions. Like our President, Elon Musk needs to consider the effects of his words on those who read them. Also, like our President, his power, wealth and arrogance seem to have him believing he is above that. For the benefit of us all, hopefully the next time Musk is tempted to vent his frustration in public, he will stop and think for a minute, then hit the delete button. 

Steven Wheeler

This is my First year with the Courier. My interests are in sports and entertainment. My hobbies are in sports and music. I'm currently teaching myself how to play the quitar.

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