Home American Principles Raleigh Police: “Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

Raleigh Police: “Protesting is a non-essential activity.”


And with those words, government action to contain a public safety risk transformed North Carolina into a police state.

Throughout this pandemic, I have given the benefit of the doubt to government officials of both parties and at all levels of government that the actions they were taking to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, while pretty extreme, were the least restrictive means necessary to deal with this unique crisis.

President Trump, hardly a big-government leftist, has said that but for the “stay home” orders and business closures around the country, upwards of 2 million people likely would have died. I don’t know how much I trust the accuracy of those models, but at a minimum I won’t say that it was unreasonable for governors and mayors, on the advice of the president, to take drastic action to prevent such a massive tragedy.

Throughout these closures and “stay home” orders,” I have rejected the argument by some fellow conservatives that these orders are “police state” tactics. I’ve pointed out that in a police state, they would not be allowed to publicly voice such dissent. I pointed out the irony of protesters in Lansing freely and loudly accusing the governor of transforming Michigan into a police state without any fear of arrest for engaging in the protest.

Well, on Tuesday, protesters in North Carolina were disrupted and arrested for protesting the government. Police in Raleigh broke up the protest and arrested one woman.

As they did so, the police sent out a tweet stating, “The protestors [sic] are in violation of the Governor’s Executive Order and have been asked to leave. #ReopenNC.”

Someone responded, “What part of the governor’s order was violated here?” The police responded with these fateful words: “Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

“Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

With those five simple words, the people of Raleigh, North Carolina learned that the governor of their state had, with a stroke of a pen, revoked their First Amendment human rights.

“Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

In a free state, the freedom to protest is absolutely essential. If the people are not allowed to protest the actions of a government that is supposed to consist of their elected representatives and that exists to do their bidding, then they are no longer being governed. They are being ruled.

Maybe I should feel fortunate that here in Colorado the governor has not attempted to suspend our fundamental human rights. That’s why I am able to write and publish these words.

But I do not feel lucky. I feel entitled. I have an inherent human right to publish these words, to speak my mind, to protest my government. It is the government that is lucky that we the people allow them any power over us at all. But those powers are delegated and limited, and they emphatically do not include the power to repeal our fundamental human right to protest the government that exists to do our bidding.

“Protesting is a non-essential activity.”

The people of North Carolina must not allow this violation of their human rights to stand.

Close businesses during a pandemic? Ok. Ask people to stay at home to curb the spread of the virus? Ok.

But tell Americans to shut up and do what they’re told without protest?


Author: Ken Falkenstein

Ken Falkenstein is the Managing Editor of Committed Conservative and brings a wealth of experience and expertise in public affairs to the job. Ken served in the U.S. Army in the last years of the Cold War as a Russian linguist for military intelligence and the NSA. After leaving the Army, he earned his degree in Secondary Education from Old Dominion University, where he also wrote a popular column in the student newspaper. Upon graduation, Ken worked as a Legislative Aide to two Republican members of the Virginia House of Delegates. Ken also served as Corresponding Secretary of the Young Republican Federation of Virginia, managed several successful political campaigns, and managed governmental affairs operations for a local Realtor association. In 1995, Ken moved to Washington, DC to serve as a Legislative Assistant to Sen. John Warner (R-VA). While working for Sen. Warner, Ken attended law school at night, earning his J.D. with honors from the George Mason University School of Law (n/k/a The Antonin Scalia Law School). Since that time, Ken has practiced as a civil litigation attorney, including serving for three years as an Associate City Attorney for the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Ken previously was a contributor to the highly-regarded political blog Bearing Drift and was a weekly co-host of The Steve Batton Radio Program. In 2016, Ken ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia Beach School Board. Ken is also a former President of the Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads. Ken now lives outside of Denver, Colorado with his wife, Kim, and three sons, Adam, Dylan, and Joshua, who has Down syndrome. Ken’s writing is motivated and informed primarily by his concern for his kids’ future.