Jon Caldara

Jon Caldara

Forget burning flags, lynching world leaders in effigy and lying down in the street to stop traffic. The new act of civil disobedience is going to your job.

The world has gone completely up-side-down.

You know those electric traffic signs that hang over highways to warn you about upcoming traffic conditions and road closures? For the last few weeks the ones I’ve been driving by say, “Stay at home, save a life.”

Well, if staying at home means you are saving a life, then the government, via the Colorado Department of Transportation, is telling you that if you don’t stay home you are killing someone. That’s a pretty heavy, steaming load of guilt for someone just trying to make ends meet and simply driving to work.

It might be worth noting here that by going to work one earns money which is then taxed. That tax money is needed to pay for the unemployment benefits for those staying home and according to CDOT propaganda, saving a life (unlike the murderous bastard with a job).

So, with that conundrum in mind, is Jennifer Hulan a villain or hero?

The American Dream is created via an elusive mixture of insanely hard work, intelligence and colossal personal risk. Jennifer and her husband took on that challenge to start their dream. They mortgaged their home, emptied their savings and pulled money from their retirement funds to create Water’s Edge Winery and Bistro located at 2102 E Arapahoe Road in Centennial.

After five grueling years their business was a success, employing many people, allowing those folks to pay their own rents and the taxes to support others without work.

When her restaurant was shut down Jennifer re-organized to provide pick-up food service. She found that while people were waiting for their meal orders to be cooked, they wanted to have a glass of wine. The place is a winery after all.

Who would have guessed this would become the beginning of a law-breaking demonstration of resistance? Forget the Tea Party of 1773. This is the Wine Party of 2020.

Hulan decided to re-open her restaurant on May 1 with table-side service. She has rearranged the place for social distancing, moving the tables further than six feet apart. She has tables and chairs sanitized between every use. Hand sanitizer is freely available all over the place making it a much safer experience than shopping at the grocery store.

Her workers are under no obligation to come in. Neither are her customers. All parties are fully informed. All the same, this very safe example of free people peaceably assembling is in open defiance of the law. And Hulan is risking all she and her husband have plus a year behind bars for it.

The un-elected Tri-County Health Department has ordered her repeatedly to close. Liquor enforcement is investigating which could lead to a suspended liquor license. And Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office is looking to prosecute.

The crime is making a living by safely selling people food.

The economist and Trump advisor Steve Moore is a friend of mine. He recently came on my TV show and praised the protesters rallying around various state capitols to re-open the economy.

“This is a great time for civil disobedience. We need to be the Rosa Parks here and protest against these government injustices,” he said. This comparison created a small national firestorm. How dare he compare the beloved civil right icon to these ignorant rubes urging people to spread contagion and kill others under the guise of rights to travel, freely associate and worship.

Asked to clarify he told the Washington Post, “I call these people the modern-day Rosa Parks — they are protesting against injustice and a loss of liberties.”

But Rosa Parks wasn’t arrested for carrying a sign at a protest. She broke the law by sitting in the wrong seat. Martin Luther King was arrested for breaking Alabama’s law against mass public demonstrations. These illegal acts helped wake a nation to its intolerance.

Henry David Thoreau publicly stopped paying his taxes to protest slavery, but it wasn’t until he denounced the Mexican-American War was he arrested.

By contrast, how odd will it be if Jennifer Hulan is put in jail for the crime of trying to pay her taxes.

She indeed is a modern-day Rosa Parks.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute in Denver and hosts "The Devil's Advocate with Jon Caldara" on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. His column appears Sundays in Colorado Politics.

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