The Mayor of Savannah, Van Johnson, re-instituted his emergency order mask mandate in late July, and then made it more stringent in mid-August. City buildings are all closed for in-person business again and events involving more than 50 people shall not be held on city-owned properties, except weddings, oddly.
Citizens have responded in varied ways, but many remain stressed because of the major tourism industry dip last year to approximately 40% below 2019. Savannah is largely dependent on this three billion dollar industry, and stake-holders are ready to return to fully embracing the proven event patterns that have built historic Savannah’s prosperity and international acclaim.
However, when local government messages hit the airwaves, some of the tourists stay home. Since Savannah and coastal Tybee Island are mostly drive-in regional destinations, attractiveness can flip on a dime. Some claim to fear for disease safety, but others despise what many consider the tyrannical overreach of the local government and make their statement by vacationing and spending.
Labor Day weekend was hugely profitable and businesses welcomed the surge.
However, when the streets are more quiet, it is local citizens who continue the daily battles. The nearly one-party city and county government has command of most of the local news media messaging, conjoins its narratives with the local chamber of commerce, and has spell-bound much of the urban poor population. They demonstrate that it is easier to re-institute the mask mandate and hang the ‘Mask Up’ Savannah sign than to repair the lettering on the historic City Hall. Correction: CITY HA!
The Mayor also has a primary voice in local police operations related to this mandate. On some days, depending on their feelings toward violators, police attempt to issue $500 mask citations. The Mayor designed a 25-member COVID Response Team last year, removing personnel from the police and fire department, putting them on the street in re-labeled all terrain carts, and re-classifying them in the Human Resources system as ‘Revenue Investigators.’ Tax-payers will pay this ‘team’ one million dollars in salaries this year.
City police demonstrate the priorities of their Chiefs, when they operate on the beat. One local citizen, the speaker in this video, has received three other citations while exercising his first amendment rights. Each of the citations have been dismissed, strangely, because the courthouse refuses to allow him entry without a mask to stand for his hearings. In this video, you can see that the police officer is pushing him to sign an unjust $500 citation, which he refuses. Three officers stand by allowing a couple with no mask to pass by without question.
In a tradition that hearkens back to the American Revolution and their response to King George, push-back pervades Savannah culture. Thousands challenge the local government on a regular basis. Even young students at the mostly liberal Savannah College of Art & Design and other local institutions are finding that their cost of living and freedoms are being immediately impacted. They are starting to speak out.
* Recently, the city government and public health department posted that a vaccine was ‘the best defense’ from the delta variant. Over 150 comments of pure derision resulted.
* As the local media continues to make a mockery of Ivermectin use, those in the surrounding learned communities and knowledgeable rural counties counter the media narrative with piles of international research and pragmatic use considerations.
* When City Council members attempt to promote the local Confederate monuments as no longer ‘welcome,’ an outcry of ‘leave the park alone’ reverberates back to the ‘Friends of Forsyth Park,’ (Garden Mafia) who are running cover for them in the name of park redesign.
From American Revolutionary War history, this is why the Georgia colony rejected King George as written directly in the Declaration of Independence of 1776:
“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”
The citizens of Savannah are quickly growing in skill and number to counter the tyranny of their local government. Savannah invites freedom-minded individuals in every single municipality and county government throughout the state of Georgia to join them in impacting the narratives and too frequently vacuous thinking of elected officials who impact their freedoms and livelihoods. Together, Georgia can be restored.