MORRIS TWP – Steve Rogers got right to the point.
Phil Murphy better watch out, because “American patriots are rising.”
Rogers delivered that fiery invocation outside town hall this Sunday morning in preparation for a mile-long march to neighboring Morristown.
Call it a pre-emptive strike.
Organized by a group calling itself “We the People,” the rally and march of about 100 were in opposition to any additional lockdowns. The governor so far has avoided ordering mass lockdowns, but this group
was skeptical that would continue.
Rogers, a former Nutley commissioner and unsuccessful 2017 candidate for governor, suggested Murphy’s pandemic restrictions aren’t merely about saving lives as the governor insists.
OK. But is there really a political upside to business failings and rising unemployment?
Rogers had an answer – “bring down the president.” And he added that an underlying goal of pandemic restrictions is to make the state seem like God.
All were not so strident.
Mark Taylor, the mayor of Florham Park, was one of the few local elected officials at the march. Another was Morris County Surrogate Heather Darling, who served as spokesperson for the group.
Taylor said he fears for businesses in the borough if there is another lock down.
One of the few recent measures the governor has taken was to close indoor dining at 10 p.m. Murphy said that as the evening wears on, patrons tend to drink more and to ignore rules on social distancing
and capacity limits.
Taylor doesn’t buy it. He said many people just may want to go out for a late dinner, not to get drunk.
This was an anti-lockdown event, but as is often the case, there is an overlap with supporters of Donald Trump.
As the march began along Woodland Avenue, some in the procession waved Trump flags along with American flags and for some reason, the Confederate battle flag. Signs read, “Right to Work” and “End the Fear.”
When the group reached Morristown, they amassed in front of town hall.
A number of speakers said their businesses can’t withstand another shut down. Another lamented the fact her daughter must go to school virtually.
As is often the case, passersby took notice.
There were car horns beeping and in another instance, an obscenity yelled at the crowd from a passing motorist.
One man stood on the edge of the crowd with a sign condemning the president for ignoring a virtual G-20 summit yesterday in favor of going golfing.
Eventually, a rally supporter sought to block the sign with his American flag. It worked – up to a point.