COVID US: Wild Missouri Party Reveals Everything That’s Wrong With American Politics Right Now

'Clutch' moment.

COVID US: Wild Missouri Party Reveals Everything That’s Wrong With American Politics Right Now

Lazy Gators, happier times (image credit: NYT)

Americans enjoy more civil liberties than you can poke a Budweiser at. From buying guns to spouting conspiracies, it is a vastly different nation to China, where the internet is censored, journalists are regularly sent to prison and individualism, in policy-making, takes a back seat to The Communal Good.

However, much like your internet porn addiction, America sometimes takes these freedoms too far. Case in point: though The Epidemic started in China, because Beijing authorities were more easily able to Shephard their population into action (as well as because their case-load spiked earlier), China’s caseload has flatlined while the US’ has skyrocketed.

There are now more than 1.6 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the US.

So: is America being imprisoned by its freedoms? The following study (“Political beliefs affect compliance with social distancing laws”) and one of today’s biggest news headlines suggest it could be, as hundreds of people have been photographed ignoring social distancing rules and partying at a Missouri tourist hotspot.

The outrage-provoking shots were taken this Saturday at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, otherwise (rudely) known as the Redneck Riviera, showing boats cruising and crowds dancing, swimming and drinking in the warm weather.


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While this is commonplace every year in summer (as the above and below #partycove images, taken during happier times, show), many expected this weekend’s Memorial Day celebrations would be postponed due to the ongoing pandemic.


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That was not the case, however, as photos shared to Twitter by Colin Jeffery from KSDK News show people went ahead and partied anyway this weekend.

According to, “Mr Jeffrey said when he questioned Camden County Sheriff’s Department about the gathering he was informed orders allowing police to enforce social distancing were no longer in place.”

“The health regulations and orders from the commission expired when the state opened back up. Of course, the state has social distancing guidelines but it doesn’t seem everyone is following it very well here,” the department allegedly said.

“This comes after Missouri Governor Mike Parson partially reopened the state and allowed businesses and other restaurants to open their doors,” reports.

Predictably, images of the “wild party” went viral, and by Sunday morning “Lake of the Ozarks” was trending on Twitter (and picked up by news outlets across the pond).

It also sparked an argument on social media, with some users lashing out at the party-goers for their selfish behaviour and others lashing out at the media for hyping up the severity of the situation.

“Looking at the ages reflected in that group, and cross-referencing against CDC data on mortality by age group, it looks like these people will be fine,” one Twitter user wrote.

“This is why we can’t have nice things,” wrote another.

It also had people from overseas scratching their heads.

Domestically, however, the situation is a flashpoint for everything that is wrong with US politics, with experts (see: here and here) suggesting Americans are continuously allowing their judgement to be decided by the political party they support, rather than taking each situation individually.

As reports, “Despite having the highest death toll in the world, President Donald Trump has aggressively pushed for the economy to reopen, defying the advice of health experts.”

“He sent a signal of his intentions by playing golf Saturday – his first round since March 8.”

This goes against conventional conservative sensibilities, with republicans, in other aspects of life and politics, typically being more risk-averse than liberals.

As a recent Vox article puts it: “Conservatives are psychologically tuned to see threat, and so they fear change. Liberals are tuned to prize change, and so they downplay threat.”

“But here we are, in the midst of a pandemic, and it’s conservatives seemingly dismissing the danger, opening states and counties prematurely, refusing to wear masks, waving off the deaths of older people as a small price to pay.”

Meanwhile, “it seems to be liberals who’re locked in their homes, who are warning the worst is yet to come, who are shaming anyone who dares step foot on a beach or forgets to don personal protective equipment,” Vox reports.

“A recent Pew poll showed 61 percent of conservatives fear that state restrictions won’t be lifted quickly enough, while 91 percent of liberals worry they’ll be lifted too quickly.”

So why are people in Republican majority areas like Missouri partying? As political psychologist John Jost, at New York University, told Vox, just because “some conservatives are denying and repressing fear… that doesn’t mean they are cool cucumbers.”

“For all we know, Americans who are explicitly denying the problem are experiencing (even) more stress and anxiety than those who are not.”

Another theory is that The Pandemic tension is real, but is being swamped by partisanship. As Vox puts it: “Perhaps, in laboratory conditions, conservatives would be more afraid of the virus. But politics doesn’t play out in laboratory conditions.”

“Trump is the leader of the Republican Party, and his decision to downplay the threat, his dismissal of masks, and his clear desire to reopen is the stronger signal.”

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