In Europe, the people are taking to the streets and protesting against Covid lockdowns. Europe may be across the globe, but Americans should be paying close attention.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: So there’s a lot going on around the world right now, and I know that it can be a lot to keep up with, but I wanted us to talk today about what’s happening in Europe because Europe has pretty famously some of these strictest COVID rules in the world right now. And at first, I think these rules, people were kind of okay with them, it seemed like, all right, well, we’ll just do what we have to do and beat COVID and go back to normal. Right? Well, boy, were we wrong on that? I’m proud to be one of the ones who, from the very beginning was saying, this isn’t gonna be for just a little while. But I think in Europe, a lot of people were pretty accepting of the lockdowns at first because the government said, oh, it’s just going to be temporary. But here’s something that gives me a lot of hope is Europe has really cracked down lately, and it’s like every new quote-unquote wave of cases, and every new variant, they keep locking down. They keep forcing mask mandates, and a lot of European countries have really horrible vaccine mandates that are like super strict. Greece, I think just announced that it’s gonna start finding people who are over 60, a hundred dollars a month, or the equivalent of a hundred dollars a month if they’re not vaccinated, which is just crazy to me. They’re literally, I hadn’t heard that yet. People, yeah, that was a fairly new announcement. But again, something that gives me some hope is that tens of thousands of people all across Europe in these really major cities have been protesting really strongly against their government’s response to COVID and against these lockdowns. And I’m just gonna kind of go through a couple of different countries here. There hasn’t been a ton of news coverage, but there is one BBC article that kind of outlines what’s going on all over the place, and it’s a couple of weeks old, but, I still think it kind of outlines this really well. So first off, tens of thousands of people have been marching in the Belgian capital, which is Brussels. Demonstrators are really pushing back against COVID passes, which are these basically little like barcode things on your phone that stop unvaccinated people from going into restaurants or bars or concerts or stuff like that. which is, you know, we’ve talked about vaccine passports on here. That’s essentially what this is. And there’s really strict rules on face masks in Belgi including restaurants where COVID passes are already required, which it seems really strange. It’s like this double COVID lockdown thing. so there’s been tens of thousands of people in Brussels, and then in the Netherlands, there were multiple nights of riots break breaking out on the same kind of stuff on this COVID passes on vaccines, on masks. And that was in Rotterdam. Am I saying that correctly?

Brittany: I think it’s Rotterdam. Yeah.

Emma: Yeah. But it’s gotten really violent there actually, because the police have started really punishing people and cracking down and being very brutal with them, just for showing up to protest. And there, it’s happened in Croatia, it’s happened in Italy. The streets of Rome were just filled. And I’ll try to find the video that I saw and link to it here in the show notes so you guys can see it. But it’s crazy to see how many people are showing up. And it’s happening in France. It’s happening in the UK even, and especially in Germany. There are some really scary videos going around right now of German police, like tackling elderly ladies who didn’t have their passes or who, you know, said something sassy about not having their papers out or identifying themselves, which is just terrifying. So, there’s been this big crackdown and these riots all over Europe, and I think it’s really interesting because a lot of the American media points to Europe as well, why can’t we be like them? Why can’t we have these sorts of, you know, vaccine passports and these sorts of mandates? They’re totally fine with it over there and they’re getting it under control. But in reality, people over there are really angry and they are really starting to push back. And Brittany, I’d be curious to hear, have you seen any serious media coverage of this other than a couple of stories here or there? Because I have really not seen any and it’s kind of making me wonder.

Brittany: No, in fact, I did not know about any of this until you brought it up. So I think this is a really good topic. When I think of like really strict COVID laws, Australia comes to mind. So I haven’t. Oh, yes. heard anything about the EU, excuse me, beyond the Eu, doing anything like this. So that’s really scary to me. I mean, you and I, and Connor and I have talked about the fear of, you know, media doesn’t tell the truth anymore. And I think, unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even take the media’s word for anything. I think there are certain sec people who are old school and they believe what they wanna, you know, they believe it still, or people who believe what they wanna hear. But no, I really haven’t heard anything, about this. And that’s a little, that’s pretty scary to me.

Emma: It Is. I think it’s really telling too. you know, I think the media, like I said, they wanna be able to point to Europe and say, oh, look, they’re doing everything right. Yeah. Everyone over there is following the rules. Why can’t we do this in America? Because there’s this perception that America is like this embarrassing country that does everything wrong, and all of our personal freedoms and all of that. It’s interesting, I think a lot of people around the world look at us as kind of this like redneck crazy country. Yeah. But also a lot of people love America for that reason. And because we have personal freedoms, they leave other countries and come here for a better way of life or for freedom. And, you know, I’m not, gonna try to say that we get it all right. We have plenty of problems with the American government, but I do think it’s interesting and it kind of brings to mind seeing these protests. A lot of these countries do not have the same sort of First Amendment rights that we do in America. And if anything seeing these protests has made me actually really thankful to live in America, even though it’s not perfect. And even though I do criticize my government, I’m very thankful that I have the right to do that. And that it’s one of the first things that our founders really focused on when they were building, yeah, the Bill of Rights. the first Amendment, it talks about freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to protest your government and petition your government. That is such a radical idea. And I know that we’ve done some episodes talking about the First Amendment, so we won’t go into it too much here, but I think when you see what happens in other countries where those rights are not recognized by the government and they’re not made the law, it makes me a lot more thankful that we have that here. And it makes me a lot more sad that there are so many people who don’t understand the importance of constitutional rights. And it’s interesting, you know, I hear all the time, well, hate speech isn’t recognized and your second amendment right isn’t more important than people’s safety. And then you see what’s happening in these European countries and you kind of realize, well, it might be easy to give those rights away or to let the government, you know, take them away from you, but it can get really bad really quickly if you let go of those, important rights and those important freedoms. So it’s an interesting kind of cautionary tale on what could happen here if we stop caring about what’s in the Constitution. Cuz that’s really what sets America apart from other countries.

Brittany: Yeah. And it was really interesting to me, Prince Harry, who, you know, left England Great Britain, I guess it was a year and a half maybe or ago, I don’t remember what is time after COVID? Yeah. but he came here and was started like insulting our first amendment rights. Like, he thinks it is bonkers. I believe he said that we can say whatever we want here. And that was shocking to me and it reminded me like, hey, we fought a war against your country for a reason. Right. Because I can’t imagine living in a place where you aren’t free to assemble or you aren’t free to say what you want. You know, it is such a beautiful thing that people can say terrible things. You know why? Because we have the right not to listen too. Yeah. We have the right to say we disagree with you. So I think you’re absolutely right. I think this is a really scary thing. I think this is what separates us from other countries, and I feel like I say this a lot, but we are a more perfect union, right? Yes. We’re not the most perfect, as the founders say, we’re not the most perfect country, but when you look at other countries and other countries, constitutions or countries failed constitutions, America’s doing so much better than all these other people. So. Yeah. What’s really scary to me is we have this first amendment right and then the media’s not using it, right? Yeah, totally. So, they’re not, they could be telling about these massive protests with tens and thousands of people, but they’re not doing it. Yeah. And you know, it’s funny to me, I think people want to stay scared. I think people want to stay in lockdown. Yeah, I know that sounds crazy. Yeah. But it’s almost like people are really happy that the world has changed like this and they don’t wanna do anything about it.

Emma: Yeah. I think we’ve talked about this before, but I think it’s like a split between people who want to stay scared and stay locked down forever, and then people who are starting to get super fed up and go to protests like this. It’s interesting. And I think also this is a really good reminder as to why, you know, reducing the police state and reducing the government’s powers, physical powers against us is so important. Because when you look at, you know, maybe you know, police officers who are good at their job or maybe, you know, you want to support people who are on the front lines and keeping us safe. And I completely understand that point of view. I think there are a lot of good police officers out there that do keep communities safe. But when you give the government so much power to, you know, physically accost you and arrest you and throw you on the ground because you don’t have your proper papers, you have to give them that power, at least in America, in a country like America. And that’s why it’s so important that we stand against a super-strong police state where the government can do whatever it wants to do. To us, it might sound like a good idea because, you know, obviously we all want to live in safe communities and we want to feel safe when we’re walking around in our neighborhood and all of that. And I totally understand that point of view, but I will say, the more power that you give the government to crack down like this, the higher the chances are that once you are the quote-unquote bad guy, right? You don’t have your vaccine passed or you’re not wearing your mask in public. We are starting to see this in America. We saw it, especially over the last couple of years, people getting arrested at outdoor church services and getting thrown in jail for stupid stuff related to COVID. And I think it’s a good reminder that when you give the government so much power like that, all that it takes for you to be on the other end of that power and of that enforcement is just for the laws to change on who’s the quote-unquote bad guy. So that would be my caution to us is to be careful about the police state. We’re gonna wrap it up here today, guys. I will link to that article that went through all the different protests in Europe and you can read in more detail and I’ll try to find that video of the Roman protests. But it was an awesome, very inspiring thing and I’m glad that people there are standing up for their rights. But I’m even more glad that we have a First Amendment in America. So Brittany, thanks for hanging out with me and we will talk to you all again soon.

Brittany: Talk to you soon.