Blue State Blues: They Can’t Really Close the Beach

Surfer in bioluminscent waves (Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press

The beaches of Los Angeles are closed. At least in theory. At night, and in the early morning, you will find people there, quietly enjoying the forbidden, ordinary pleasures of the sand and sea.

For the past week, there has been a red tide in Southern California, which has brought the rare spectacle of bioluminescent waves. Tiny plankton glow a serene blue as the waves crash, creating ripples of fluorescent lightning in the foam.

This week’s supermoon — a full moon that occurs near the closest point in the moon’s orbit around the earth — has brought dramatic tides. At low tide, the beaches extend spread outward into the ocean, the damp brown sand reflecting the sky as clearly as calm water on a pond.

Rocky stretches of coastline that are normally hidden beneath the water are revealed, strange new worlds that disappear again beneath the waves in a few hours’ time.

The dolphins are back. They had been scarce since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, as if they, too, were socially distant. But now they can be seen cruising the far break, their dorsal fins breaking the surface, their glistening bodies cutting through the water.

Sometimes there are seals, too, darting back and forth, creating little whirlpools as they circle one another. Crabs scuttle across the sand — perhaps pushed out by the red tide.

The surfers — well, they never really left. Some are rebels by nature. Some are law-abiding citizens in their normal, daylight lives. But all respect a higher law than mere municipal ordinances.

And surfers do not have to be told to be “socially distant” from one another. They are already territorial and resist crowding in the best of circumstances. Woe to the newcomer who paddles presumptuously into an empty space between the regulars.

The police have to enforce the law, and they will do so during normal working hours. But they seem to be content to look the other way, for now, as long as no one makes themselves too conspicuous.

Besides, the beaches of Los Angeles are so wide that they seem empty even when they are open, even on weekends. And scientists have already concluded that the chances of casually transmitting coronavirus outdoors are slim.

The State of California, in its wisdom, decided to close the beaches of Orange County because news photos appeared to show lots of people turned up on a hot weekend in April. Aerial photographs seemed to tell a different story than the telephoto lenses of news photographers, which suggested a crowded scene.

Governor Gavin Newsom condemned those irresponsible beachgoers for their reckless, selfish, antisocial behavior.

So, too, did Representative Harley Rouda, a first-term Democrat from the 48th district. He criticized local communities for keeping their beaches open — then frolicked with his family at an exclusive private beach.

When caught on camera, Rouda claimed he had observed proper social distancing. It’s tough to believe the voters cast aside the pot-legalizing Dana Rohrabacher for this hypocrite. (“Ballot harvesting” helped, no doubt.)

Newsom has closed the beaches of Orange County. But it won’t last, and it can’t, because even in California, people will only put up with so much bullshit.

They won’t vote for a Republican government, at least not statewide, but they will defy the Democratic one.

As Orwell wrote: “[T]he earth is still going round the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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