After my husband’s businesses were shut down through no fault of his own on March 13, 2020, we were sent in to a spiral of worry and concern as to what our next step would be. We have been small business owners for as long as I can remember, actually for half of my life now. When you are an entrepreneur you willingly take on the risk of instability along with the assurance that if you work hard you will succeed and if you do not, you will fail. The fact that so many small business owners have been forced to fail because of a government mandate is beyond devastating. Failing because of something you did or didn’t do is totally acceptable, failing because the government says it will be so, is absolutely unacceptable.
Most of our family and friends, when met with the reality of what our family was now enduring, could only offer hope that we would get a government loan that they had been hearing about. The thought that the government would provide restitution for what was certainly an egregious act on their part was something that helps people whose entire life isn’t on the line sleep at night. It was not surprising that after all of the applications were in, that the SBA PPP money ran out before many small businesses even grasped a cent. It was also not surprising that large corporations and even heavily endowed universities were the first ones on the take. Real small businesses were left in the dust. Not just with the first round of stimulus, but with the second, and probably the third too.
The arbitrary re-opening was basically a death sentence to businesses that the government officials deemed “non-essential”. Non-essential to whom? The trail of breadcrumbs of re-opening was supposed to make everyone feel as though it was going to be ok. The truth is that no matter how much money a business gets from the government (Some if not all of which they will have to pay back!) it doesn’t matter if the business cannot open at full capacity for BUSINESS.
When we had the opportunity to join a Freedom Rally in our town, we took advantage of it immediately. Art class began with the painting of signs. We found our best patriotic gear and soldiered out to meet a few sweet friends and lots of strangers who we don’t know at all, but who are family to us in our hearts because they love this country as much as we do. No masks, no gloves, no social distancing and it was beautiful! The children played like regular kids, the adults stood strong despite a polite police presence, media cameras in our faces and the faces of our kids, and people driving in their cars, donning masks and flipping us and our children the bird. It was all worth it for the multitude of people who drove by and honked and waved and cheered enthusiastically in support of our cause to “OPEN ALL BUSINESSES NOW!”.
I’m really not the type of person who puts myself out there, certainly not with my kids in tow. My motivation for this was twofold. One, my husband’s employees. My heart breaks for them and has been for quite some time. They are the most loyal and hardworking people in the world. Some of them have families but all of them are like family. Unemployment options are a disaster here in Florida. Getting a “new” job is impossible for them and now they are shouldered with the responsibility of homeschooling where they never have had to before and even if they could work, what would they do with their children? Second, our country. As Memorial Day approaches, I can’t help but be reminded of all of the people who have fought and died for this country, for our freedoms. I would gladly put myself on the line for one afternoon to try and get the word out that this shutdown and this entire Coronavirus Chaos is absolutely against every freedom those brave soldiers fought for.
Sometimes the “rules” are wrong. Government makes bad decisions every single day. It is our duty as Americans to call them out when they do, to protest, to rise up, to disobey and to be civilly disobedient. That was our homeschool lesson that day—one our children will never forget. All we can do is hope and pray that our elected officials figure out how to be strong and courageous leaders like the brave people who gave their lives for our FREEDOMS.