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News Analysis Nov 22, 2020 3:46 PM EST

Anti-lockdown rally in New York demands that we question authority and take back our lives

The idea is simple and direct: to bring New Yorkers together to figure out how to get their city back.

Anti-lockdown rally in New York demands that we question authority and take back our lives
Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

Alexis Montoya was waiting for someone to organize in protest against the Covid-inspired restrictions in New York. When they began in March, she figured someone would speak up against the shuttering of social life. They didn't.

As bars, restaurants, gyms, shops and parks all closed, and so much of life was moved to the online realm, she thought someone would speak up. Now that the restrictions are returning and citizens are again told to not interact with one another, to literally not breathe the same air, she realized that she would have to do something.

Montoya has teamed up with friends, calling themselves Liberate New York, and they've planned a rally for Sunday in New York's protest center, Union Square. It's scheduled for 12 pm, and by 2 pm they will be marching down to Washington Square Park, where they intend to continue the rally until 4 pm.

The idea is simple and direct: to bring New Yorkers together to figure out how to get their city back.

"I know there have been other protests out there," Montoya said, "but they were politically one-sided, and that deters from the real message of these crazy, extreme measures that are being imposed on us."

For Montoya, there's a hypocrisy in the restrictions, because average citizens are bearing the brunt of the life-changing measures. "The fact that, we all have to make these sacrifices, and we're burdened with the costs, and the collateral damage. We're carrying this burden, and ultimately we're making all the sacrifices in our lives."

She cited California Governor Gavin Newsom, his kids in private school, his party at French Laundry, or New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, safe and sound in his mansion. "Since this started in March, I look to all these people that I used to look up to on social media, these actors or politicians, and they are the ones telling us what to do, but they're not doing it themselves."

Montoya talked about the people in her life, who at first talked about how things will "get back to normal," and keep pushing back that timeline, first it was "two-weeks to flatten the curve," then it was "after the election." But "it's never going to end," she said.

"I'm a young woman," Montoya told The Post Millennial, and at 29 years old, she's not ready to have her life put on hold any longer simply to satisfy the whims of politicians who are concerned about people not getting coronavirus, and don't seem to care about any other difficulty that people may face.

"I want to live my life," she said, "I want to meet someone, I want to have a family, I want to travel. These nine months of my life—I'm never going to get them back. Our lives are being robbed."

"What's the point of life if you're not taking risks? Everything is a risk. We're not meant to live in perpetual fear. This is not living."

She worries that people are forgetting what life is really like. This anti-lockdown rally is about celebrating life, that's why they've named it the Freedom, Anti-Lockdown, Enlightenment Rally and March.

As far as what she thinks the end goal of our elected leaders is for the ongoing, seemingly endless restrictions on social and private life, Montoya said that in many ways it feels like we're being "primed" for something, and cited the World Economic Forum's Great Reset initiative. "It's reengineering society as we know it. This is priming us for living in a digital realm where everything, including people, are just data points."

"We're turning away from ourselves, we're turning away from nature, socializing is now on a screen. It's not more safe to be on a screen than it is to be out in a social environment that you can actually participate in and have an impact on."

Montoya laments the "reconditioning" of humanity, and how our leaders are telling us that coming together is morally reprehensible. "There's nothing wrong with humanity," she said. "I want to return to humanity, and to remember who we are, and what our values are."

Montoya is a lifelong liberal and a Democrat, but at this point "none of those values resonate" with her at all. She said that the there's been a "turning away from rudimentary logic," and cited the hypocrisy of the elected leaders with regard to the George Floyd protests—which she supported.

But, "if you are sacrificing people's livelihoods, and businesses are being destroyed because you're telling us that there's a disease that is really deadly. If this disease was as deadly as we were told it was, people would not be outside period."

"They're literally contradicting themselves and they don't even know it," she said. When asked why she thought the elected leaders and do as they please while enforcing restrictions on the populace, and moralizing when they don't follow those restrictions, Montoya said that "there's a a status of people, and if you're not in it, you're not in it."

"This is a class thing," she said. Newsom's kids are in private school. Kids in Los Angeles are not being educated.

Montoya hopes that people can come together, because "people who have doubts aren't even able to share that, or to dive deeper into what they're suspicions are." By separating us, Montoya states, our leaders are better able to control us. And by moralizing, and telling us that questioning the severity of the illness or the necessity of the lockdowns makes us bad or morally despicable, Americans are effectively being silenced.

"We need to be able to have an open discussion or dialogue without being demonized," she said, and that is her hope for the Sunday rally, that people can feel, once again, that they are part of a community where their individuality is valued and doing what we are told can be openly questioned.

The left used to wear shirts and buttons emblazoned with the phrase "Question Authority." It was a liberal-minded thing to do to question the status quo, to not take instructions from elected officials at face value, to not simply follow orders because we were told to.

Montoya's refusal to just sit back and take the dictates from on high is liberal, is conservative, is necessary to buck the trending authoritarianism that seeks to dismantle society and deprive us of our essential, natural, inalienable rights.

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