October 26, 2020
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Let me take my dog to the park

By Kalli Colacino
Opinions Editor

My dog sits not-so-patiently next to me in the passenger seat as I drive the 15 minutes it takes to get to his favorite park. Since I’m always stuck in the house with my dog — who is a bundle of energy — going to the park is practically a daily routine. Well, until the day we were met with a sign that read “Park Closed.” 

I sighed in annoyance as I looked at my dog, who was practically climbing out of the car by now.

Parks across New Jersey close due to Executive Order 118. (Kalli Colacino / Opinions Editor)

“Sorry Bingo, but we can’t go to the park. We’ll just have to go home and walk around the block about 100 times to make up for it,” I said to my dog, who looked at me with his sad puppy dog eyes.

When I finally turned around and headed back home, the anger set in. Why can’t I take my dog to the park? It’s not like I’m asking to go to a club with hundreds of people. The last thing I need is to get in trouble with law enforcement — but man, I sure did want to walk past that barricaded entrance.

Some might say that it’s not a big deal that the parks are closed, as you can just walk around the neighborhood. Well, I live on a small cul de sac, and if I walk down it one more time, I think I’ll lose my mind. I guess I could walk down Route 68, where cars are zooming past at 65 mph a few feet from me. At least I won’t be exposed to a person in a park that could unlikely have the virus.

Now, I understand that the coronavirus is a big deal and all that, but I mean come on. My job is closed. My gym is closed. Now the park? Give me a break.

It’s becoming a bit ridiculous. From the beginning, I thought the action taken was an overreaction. And I know I’m not alone. Argue with me all you want, but nobody can change my mind. Governors are saying it isn’t safe to go to a park? Me walking my dog in a park isn’t safe? Now, I’m not a math major, but it just doesn’t add up to me.

The U.S. is a place for freedom and equality. But here I am, being told what I can and cannot do. Heck, I couldn’t even go to church on Easter. Sorry, but the last time I checked, the First Amendment allows me to freely practice my religion. A video meeting of Mass just isn’t cutting it. Especially for my grandma. How is she supposed to practice her religious beliefs if she can’t attend Sunday Mass, and doesn’t even have a computer to watch the video stream?

Maybe we’re being protected by our governors and legislators. But it sure feels like prison.

Thanks to Gov. Phil Murphy and his Executive Order 118, state and county parks are closed. Well, if you want to close my school, fine. Close my job, okay. But I draw the line at closing the parks. Murphy, you’ll have to lock me up if you think that I won’t take my dog to the park.

Oh wait — you already have. In my own home.

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