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Florida Protests: “Give Me Gains or Give Me Death”



Store closed sign | Florida Protests: “Give Me Gains or Give Me Death” | Featured

Florida is leading the country in its efforts to resume economic activity, with many businesses opening back up in May. However, some residents feel frustrated with the continued deprivation of an essential service: getting swole. Florida protests in Pinellas County are opposing gym closures by working out in front of the Clearwater Courthouse.

The protesters, a group consisting of about 25 gym-lovers, peacefully demonstrated their love of fitness, freedom, and forward lunges. They did push-ups and other exercises in front the courthouse, while waving American flags and holding signs to describe their cause.

The signs included “Freedom from Fear” and “We Are Amped.” However, likely the most powerful message was “Give Me Gains Or Give Me Death”. In a direct call to the state’s leadership, one protester held a sign that read, “DeSantis We Won’t Stand 4 This”. DeSantis is the conservative governor of Florida, and has been an outspoken critic of the lock-down measures for several weeks. He has been a major factor in the push to reopen the economy, and would likely be a sympathetic ear for the protesters’ cause.

Florida has decided to open back up in phases, and is currently in Phase One. During this phase, restaurants are once again serving food and beaches are opening back up. However, many businesses, including gyms, must remain closed.

Other Florida Protests

The fitness fanatics are not the only Floridians to show their frustrations. Miami resident Kimberly Falkenstine was arrested for refusing to leave the beach. Ms. Falkenstine took part in a larger protest on South Beach calling for Florida’s reopening. Officials arrested her once she left the protest area to walk on the sand.

While DeSantis is gradually opening businesses and public areas at the state level, many individual cities, such as Miami, have been slower to lift restrictions.

The Greater Impact

Of course, the impact of the pandemic goes far beyond toned backs and base tans. It is difficult to lose access to the recreational and self-care activities that we value so much. However, the protesters in Florida represent a more fundamental threat to US society. While recreational services are important, the massive stagnation of the US economy is the true cost of shuttering our cities.

The economy, by all measures, is in rough shape. Aside from the stock market, which the federal government has managed to prop up with every stimulus measure in the book, the economy is filling up with red flags.

The unemployment rate is at Great Depression Levels. Americans, hunkered down and uncertain about the future, are saving huge portions of their income. Bankruptcies and mergers have arrived. Small businesses are weighing the few options they have in a zero-revenue environment.

Even more alarming is the specter of deflation, appearing for the first time since the Great Recession. Falling prices can lead to a spiral of economic ills, as businesses cut prices, production, and payrolls to meet lower demand.

There are real, equally frightening consequences that can come with recklessly resuming our daily lives. It is a virtual certainty that more Americans will die of COVID-19 if we open the economy back up. However, the cost of a nation hiding at home indefinitely could be just as grave.

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