Rallying for the ‘freedom and liberty to work’


A group of protestors gathered at Five Corners on a cold and windy afternoon Wednesday for the “freedom and liberty to work” rally holding American flags and signs saying “I want to buy local” and “Thank you hospital.”

The number of protestors hovered around 10 as people came and stood peacefully in support of the rally to reopen businesses.

Kenny MacDonald, who helped organize the rally with Jamie and Robbie Douglas before they pulled out of the event and decided not to attend, ended up joining the protest, holding a sign that said, “All jobs are essential.” The Douglas brothers are part of the family that owns the Black Dog restaurant, cafe, and retail shops, which faced a backlash from the event.

The rally comes on the heels of similar events across the country in Michigan, Ohio, and a smaller event at the Bourne Rotary Sunday, urging the government to end stay-at-home orders and business closures.

Chris DeMello, a landscaper, said it was important for people to be safe but equally as important for them to keep working.

“We have to try and find that sweet spot of keeping people safe,” DeMello said. “The economy can’t stay down forever.”

Jason Cray, an Oak Bluffs carpenter who was wearing a Trump hat, held a large American flag and a sign saying “liberty, freedom, work, socialism sucks!”

Cray, who is also an Iraq war veteran, said he didn’t want anyone to be sick, but the economy could be hurt.

“We’ve got to fight for people’s right to feed their families,” he said. “You shut down an economy — it’s economic suicide.” 


  1. This isn’t how to thank the hospital. The most sincere thanks you can give them is the respect they deserve, which is best demonstrated by staying home unless necessary. They’ve made this clear on more than one occasion, in my opinion.

  2. can anyone tell me what waving the flag around has to do with this?
    The first of the Unalienable rights in the constitution is “life” followed by liberty and lastly the pursuit of happiness. If you want to desecrate the flag by waving it around and advocating for the deaths of large numbers of people ( just because they are old) you can do that-this is America, and you are entitled to your opinion. But it has nothing to do with the flag. I served in the military, and am deeply offended by you flag wavers advocating for the deaths of elderly and vulnerable American citizens because you want to buy cute trinkets and feel the need to leave your stinking diesel trucks running while you are in the supermarket or the lumber yard.
    Put the flag down, and deal with the real issues.
    At least these nut cases did not brandish their guns– for that, I am thankful
    And that in itself is a cdeeply disturbing thought.

    • Very well said Don! 👍🏼 How dare this group use our American flag to advocate for the death of people both healthy and vulnerable for the sake of being able to sell overpriced propaganda. Life above all!! Where’s the liberty in that??

    • They’re not advocating for anyone’s death. If you are concerned about your health stay home but stop imposing your views on those tying to make a living.

    • I am deeply offended by flag wavers.
      There is nothing patriotic about waving a flag.
      What is patriotic is properly displaying one flag, of the correct size on the correct size flag pole, prominently located.
      There is no patriotism in waving a 6″ x 9″ cheap azz Made in China printed flag.

  3. Why did the Times reporter point out one was wearing a trump hat and not any other of the hats ?

    • Because the people who think that gathering to protest against all the expert advice of how to slowly open businesses are all Trumpers. Duh. Even Trump now admits that the Georgia governor is wrong to allow opening this week. People will die because of it. In fact, every protester is irresponsible and ignorant of reality, but they have the right to protest as long as they are wearing masks, fewer than 10, and standing 6 feet apart. People are not supposed to be outside except for essential reasons or to be getting exercise. Standing around waving a flag, wearing a red hat, and protesting what is in everyone’s best interest is, in my opinion, the height of idiocy.

  4. All I can say is if these people feel they need to go put themselves and their families at risk, then they should have to sign a waiver refusing hospital treatment for Covid-19. They should be required to self quarantine until not contagious or end up dying in their home. They should not be entitled to a respirator if they contribute to the spread intentionally and deny someone else who needs it. And, if it’s found out that someone else died because they infected them, then charge them with murder. Your choices should not be someone else’s death sentence.

  5. So waving the American flag by these 10 folks is implying the rest of us are less patriotic? Is it their flag or does it belong to all of us? What a bizarre waste of time.

  6. Is the group advocating its desire to go back to work wearing (gas?) masks? This confuses me, but then a lot of things confuse me, so nothing new.

  7. ‘The right of the people to peaceably assemble shall not be infringed” – BTW, Don, what was your job in the military?

    • Hanley–I served on the USS Little Rock. (clg 4 ) It is currently a tourist attraction in Buffalo NY.
      I was an FT — Fire control technician –That does not mean putting out fires, ( although I went to fire fighting school while in the navy) that is directing the ship’s “fire power” and hitting the intended target.
      It was basically electrical in nature. I was honorably discharged in 1973 .

      • Your military training qualifies you to be a leader in the methodology of opening up the Island economy.

        • Well, if Don had any experience in breeding labradoodles, he could head Trump’s US Pandemic Task Force. I wish I just made that up, but sadly, it’s true.

  8. Finally some common sense! Let’s stop killing people’s livelihoods and pretending for the better good. Hospitals have had enough time to get their acts together and get more beds, masks, etc.

    • Cloud, let’s not kill people at all. Unfortunately, most people on ventilators will succumb. Otherwise healthy people in their 30’s and 40’s are having fatal strokes and blood clots. Hospitals aren’t there to care for people who intentionally harm themselves and others, though they frequently do. (Primo non nocere – First do no harm!) For those with advanced presentations of COVID-19, the only thing a bed may do is afford patients a place to die. Stark? Yes, but stop pretending its anything else.

      • From the MVH Mission Statemnet, “The mission of Martha’s Vineyard Hospital is to safeguard the health of island residents and visitors by providing and arranging high-quality, accessible medical care.” Prevention is one of the most effective teatments. A hospital is there to safeguard health, not to be part of the platform of those who would a priori enable disease in themselves or others.

  9. Deeply offended by this group? Wake up people. They were exercising their God/American given rights.
    My brother almost died from Covid, my wife and sister are nurses on the floor 5 days a week for 60 hours a week in major metro areas and several family members are cops. All are saying ok time to get back to work for everyone.
    The stay at home hurts us more and guarantees a comeback of the virus as few develop antibodies. Are any of you aware that H Influenza thru April thus far infected close to 50 million folks with 300k hospitalizations and 48k deaths? A little perspective.
    This is a bad bug but shutting the global economy?
    And with the power the govt, mainly the governors currently hold over their citizens what makes you thing they want to give that power up? Look at MI, CA, and NY as examples of states trying to enforce more draconian measures to control their citizens.
    Wake the hell up!!!!

    • “The stay at home hurts us more and guarantees a comeback of the virus as few develop antibodies. ” How do you know this? (I have to ask. Not a gotcha question.) Does the SARS COVID-19 lead to the development of memory T, memory B, and plasma cells? Acquired immunity is contingent on these cells. Not every viral exposure will lead to their production, as in influenze A and B. Are you willing to risk lives if you are not sure?

      • “Hospitals have had enough time to get their acts together and get more beds, masks, etc.”
        The objective here is to not have to use the beds, masks etc.
        Most of the people who will need a bed will die, at least if they are over 50.
        Smart people will behave in a manner that will reduce or eliminate the need for beds.
        What is being discussed is just how smart Islanders are.
        What a free, White, 20 something, straight male thinks is smart is different from what a 50 something Black trans-women with her parents in Island nursing homes thinks is smart.

  10. If we’re going to excuse these protests based on the Constitution, we should examine the intent of its language. Why was “peaceably” included? It indicates an effort to stop gatherings from harming others. They could’ve just said to go out and assemble, no qualifier. They didn’t.

    Across the country, there are health violations galore at these things. Is stubborn, knowing exposure to disease a peaceful act? During a pandemic? When we’re short on medical supplies and staff? When protesters could bring the virus home to their families? Take it with them to the store or, if they get their way, the workplace? For some, COVID-19 ends in death. Or gasping for air. Pain. Trauma. Long-term complications. Ask patients who are on ventilators if they feel free. 😔

    I don’t see these consequences as any better than acts of violence. Suffering is suffering. Dead is dead. If someone brings a gun to a rally and shoots another, that’s not covered under the right to assemble. Violence is instant, visible, and so we take it more seriously. Disease involves some lag time. Should protesters be off the hook, or even encouraged, just because we won’t immediately see the results of their recklessness?

    The Constitution was written in a time when the public had few options if they wanted to consolidate their power and be heard. They kinda *had* to gather in the town square. We don’t. We can email letters in a nanosecond, make phone calls, reach out to newspapers and tv stations. We have ways of getting in touch with our representatives and can virtually congregate with people across the globe. We’ve been using technology to do everything else during lockdown. Why not to protest?

    The most important thing is that no one is silenced. I support the right to be heard on this issue. Just don’t do it in a way that endangers the health and livelihoods of the very people you’re advocating for. Friendly fire is still fire. We are nearing the first stages of recovery. That will only be pushed back, causing more poverty, if we throw safety protocol out the window now.

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