Freedom really is fragile

After about two months of national crisis, the Chinese virus pandemic seems to be giving way to paranoia and power lust.  Make no mistake, COVID-19 is a very real threat; it is certainly contagious, viciously attacks the respiratory system, and is definitely deadly especially to vulnerable folks with other health issues.  We are learning more everyday about the virus, how to contain it, and how to treat it. But we are also learning other valuable lessons. Once again the media is proving completely unreliable. Politicians of all stripes are showing power is very dangerous and balancing government power with liberty is difficult and delicate, but worse we are learning too many leaders don’t trust their citizens.

    As usual, the media sensationalizes everything and they shamelessly misreport news or contradict themselves if they think it will damage President Trump.  They and Democrats howled the president was racist and xenophobic when he banned travel from China back in January before hardly anyone had heard of corona virus, but now they are screaming he didn’t stop travel soon enough.  Trump mentioned hydroxychloroquine was showing promise as a treatment and many doctors around the world attest to that, but the media incessantly reported this 70+ year old drug was dangerous and untested. They even went so far as to try and blame Trump for a hapless Arizona man who ingested fish tank cleaner and died.  So has the media reported the police are now investigating his wife for homicide?

    The media is fixated on daily counters trumpeting them with doom and gloom.  Despite the curve demonstrably flattening, hospitalizations declining, and the healthcare system showing they can handle this pandemic, the media breathlessly reports the cumulative totals implying we are stacking up all these sick people.  America has well over one million confirmed COVID-19 cases, but the vast majority of these people are already recovered or had mild or no symptoms. But if you listen to the press, you would think it’s getting worse when it’s actually improving.  Not to mention some states have had minimal breakouts, but they were all cowed into locking down.

    The necessity of the lock down will be forever debated and arguably less affected rural states perhaps could have not locked down, but as we pivot to reopening our states we are disturbed to see many of our leaders do not understand the differences between governing and ruling.  We elect executives and representatives to govern with our consent, but they have latitude in emergencies to decree certain measures to protect the public. However, decrees are dictatorial, so the elected leaders must make the case to the people to justify their edicts and gain our cooperation.

    Initially, the American people heard the devastating projections and generally dutifully complied, but as we look to reopen the people are questioning some draconian measures.  However, too many leaders refuse to remake their cases, but rather tell the people we must forfeit our rights because they say so. These chilling responses are evidenced by governments now persecuting their citizens for normal activities.  Wisconsin deputies threatened to arrest a mother for letting her daughter play at a friend’s house. California closed beaches because they didn’t think the people were social distancing enough. The state of Maine threatened to revoke liquor licenses and health permits of restaurants trying to reopen.  And the most egregious example was in Kentucky where state troopers fined church goers in their vehicles for attending a drive in service – this was a brazen denial of our First Amendment rights!

    The most shocking aspect is how casually governments deprived Americans of their Constitutional rights, but we should also be very concerned how governments are blithely making otherwise mundane activities illegal.  They are making Americans into criminals just for living their lives. These are weighty issues that should be fiercely debated, but anyone that protests is simply dismissed and worse maligned by the media.

    Why is dissent not just not discussed, but not allowed?  Facebook has vowed to remove any post contrary to the lock down and YOUTUBE removed a video by two California doctors showing we can handle the virus and should reopen.  But every American should be frightened at how comfortably our leaders wield tyrannical powers and when questioned reject redress in favor of punishing their citizens.

    We are seeing firsthand our freedom is fragile and our rights are in jeopardy.  Americans have inherent God given rights that cannot be infringed, but we must seriously note how easily governments we elected can abuse power to trample those rights.  The bottom line is our governments do not trust their citizens to make the right choices. They don’t believe we can protect ourselves or take the prudent measures to safely reopen.  They are wrong.

    Americans built this country, not the government.  They can and will determine how to best and safely reopen our economies.  Businesses are already working to protect their employees and reassure their customers.  Americans will safeguard their families; they will figure this out. Our economic resurrection will happen because Americans are resilient and resourceful not because they waited for government directives.  Americans made America great, so governments should get out of the way and let them do it again!

    “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.”  1 Corinthians 6:12

Pete Riehm is the host of Common Sense Radio heard 8pm every Thursday on FMTalk106.5 or streaming at  Email him at [email protected] or on Twitter @PeteRiehm or visit

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