Time To Let Us Go, Governor, Cape Rally-Goers Say

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2020/05/10/time-to-let-us-go-governor-cape-rally-goers-say/

Under mostly sunny skies, through a stiff wind at 57 degrees, about 40 people rallied at the Bourne Rotary to re-open Cape Cod on Sunday afternoon.

It’s the fourth weekend in a row that members of United Cape Patriots have come out to call for businesses to be allowed to open again in Barnstable County, which covers the Cape. Three of the standouts have been near the Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot on the Cape side of the Cape Cod Canal, near the side of the rotary vehicles go around to leave the Cape.

The point, said organizer Adam Lange, is to try to get Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to do two things:  Declare that he will follow the reopening guidelines issued by the White House and approved by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and open up the state to commerce county by county instead of waiting for coronavirus to subside in all of the hotspots – all of which are far from Cape Cod.

Instead, Baker has formed his own Reopening Advisory Board with a goal, but no promise, to begin to re-open some facets of public life eight days from now, on Monday, May 18.

“That’s what’s got us concerned. We have no plan going forward,” Lange said in an interview with New Boston Post at the rotary Sunday, May 10. “All we have is a plan to have a plan.”

Some businesses have remained open during the coronavirus emergency because they have been declared essential, including grocery stores, drug stores, big-box stores, and liquor stores. A handful of other types, including golf courses and flower shops, have been allowed to reopen with restrictions in recent days. But most have been ordered to remain closed.

The governor has argued that continuing the restrictions is necessary to keep coronavirus cases from spiking again. He has expressed opposition to opening some regions of the state before others, saying it could attract a disproportionate number of people to the open areas and reignite the coronavirus problem.

Lange predicted that if restrictions are still in place on Memorial Day weekend then large numbers of people will start ignoring them.

“People are just going to violate the order,” Lange said. “This is going to happen in days, not months. And people are smart. They know that average age of Massachusetts is 82 for fatalities. … The weather is going to dictate what happens more than our government.”

Rally participants expressed concern for the economy, particularly on tourism-dependent Cape Cod.

“The major reason I’m here is we have to reopen. We really do,” said Luiz Gonzaga, 65, a Cape native who lives in Hyannis, where he runs a constable company and an auctioneering business.

Gonzaga said that he is happy gun shops were able to open yesterday, thanks to a federal court order that overturned the governor’s executive order that had kept them closed.

“I would like to see the churches next, because churches are not a business. What happened to separation of church and state?” Gonzaga said. “Charlie Baker’s going way over. He shouldn’t even go into the churches.”

Corrine Brandi, who works as a network marketer in wellness, said she is dismayed by what she sees as the fraying of constitutional rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Those rights seemed secure and obvious once upon a time, she said.

“I’m here to stop the erosion of our freedoms. That’s why I’m here,” said Brandi, 65, of Couit. “All of ‘em. The First. The Second. I don’t understand what’s happening. And I’m old enough to remember when freedom was free. I have kids and I’m here to stand for my children on Mother’s Day.”

William Gens, who lives in Quincy and Osterville and has a law office in the Neponset neighborhood of Dorchester, said he doesn’t understand the legal basis or common-sense basis for the restrictions.

“As an attorney, I have two questions,” Gens said. “One is:  Since when do governors pass laws?  I thought legislatures pass laws. And those laws have to be constitutional. Instead, we have rule by decree.

“And the second:  I want to know how it’s possible that any disease can spread more at a non-essential business than an essential business.”

Many of the rally-goers are President Donald Trump supporters. The steady breeze kept the Trump flags and American flags at attention.

Some of them sounded Trump themes besides reopening the economy, including immigration.

“I’m here primarily for Trump, but yeah, we do need to re-open,” said Richard Wickenden, 69, of Plymouth, who’s feeling squeezed because he hasn’t been able to do his job as a first mate and captain on a tugboat since early March.

He said he has a pension from 34 years of service as a mate in the Merchant Marine and Social Security, so he is able to get by, but he isn’t able to save.

Illegal immigration and dependence on foreign countries are among the issues that trouble him, he said, highlighting the recent inability to get certain medications quickly because they are now made only in China.

“We’ve got to start focusing on getting our economy going. All this outsourcing to China, now we can see it’s a horrible mistake,” Wickenden said. “… We’ve got to be making things here.”

Immigration is a sore spot for some on the Cape, where many jobs appear in the summer and draw many people from elsewhere.

“We’re griping now about how many jobs are lost. But seasonally what do they bring to Cape Cod? All J-1s,” Gonzaga said, referring to the federal visa program for temporary foreign workers popular among service-industry businesses on the Cape. “We need Americans first, and then secondly bring in immigration. But illegal immigrants need to leave.”

Trump lost every county in Massachusetts in 2016, but he did about seven points better in Barnstable County than he did statewide. Only Bristol County gave Trump a higher percentage.

Lange, the organizer of the rally, of Brewster, estimated that about 80 percent of the people in cars who express a reaction are positive, which seemed to be borne out during an hour-and-20-minute stretch midway through the afternoon of Sunday, May 10. Honks, cheers, and waves predominated during an hour-and-20-minute stretch on Sunday.

“And the people love it. It gives them a lift,” Brandi said.

For some, though, the sight of reopen signs and Trump flags was too much to take.

Some made their displeasure plain.

Late in the two-hour standout, a man in a white truck coming onto the Cape held up about eight cars behind him as he stopped at the entrance to the rotary and yelled out a series of words, most beginning with “F,” and extended his middle finger. Some of the rally-goers responded with non-profane jeers. The fellow came all the way around the rotary to the Dunkin’ Donuts side so he could continue the barrage – then had to follow the flow of traffic off-Cape, against the direction he had just come.

It’s old hat for Lange.

“We get attacked that we’re a menace to humanity, should get thrown off the bridge,” Lange said.

Still, he and others plan to come back next weekend.

He was buoyed by the addition this weekend of people from north of the bridges who found out about the rally and came. Some of them were especially happy to see the Trump gear, which included clothing.

“There are people from Plymouth. And they say:  ‘This is the first time I’ve been able to go clothes shopping in months’,” Lange said. “I go:  ‘Yeah, I got to get a barber chair next weekend. That’s what we all need.’ It’ll be a regular carnival.”


[Editor’s Note:  A short video and still photos are below.]



Corrine Brandi of Cotuit waves at passing drivers during the Reopen the Cape rally at the Bourne Rotary on Sunday, May 10, 2020. Below, rally organizer Adam Lange, at left wearing the hat, chats with a fellow participant. Photos by M.J. McDonald for New Boston Post.