It would be fair to say there’s a war raging in my head these days – and I’m quite sure I’m not alone.
On one side, the civic-minded responsible citizen who trusts that our elected leaders have the best interest of the citizenry in mind. On the other, the patriotic revolutionary who heeds the wise counsel of our nation’s Founders to never trust those in power.
On one side, the Christian statesman who recognizes our duty to pray for authorities and be humble and obedient. On the other, the Christian zealot who happily echoes the testimony of the Apostle Peter who said we obey God rather than men.
On one side, the rational, level-headed civilian who sympathizes with the immense weight of responsibility on our leaders’ shoulders to somehow strike a reasonable balance between risking lives and risking livelihoods. On the other, the student of history who embraces the axiom that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
To be clear, I do not buy into the conspiracy theories that suggest this COVID-19 pandemic was all some kind of political overreaction, coordinated by the world’s elite to harm Donald Trump. That’s nuts. Certainly, the Democrat Media Complex is working overtime to frame the country’s struggle to survive and overcome the virus in a way meant to tarnish the president’s reputation. That isn’t even debatable at this point. But that isn’t evidence that coronavirus isn’t real or serious. It’s further evidence that no matter what the situation, they will seek to damage Trump’s chances of re-election.
That said, the mounting concerns, frustrations, and anger among the American people towards the authoritative overreach that is occurring in numerous states is no conspiracy theory. It’s real, and it has to stop before this all spirals out of control.
In Pennsylvania, though the government announced publicly that they would not enforce a public transit rule requiring passengers to wear face coverings, a viral video showed a government officer board a public transit bus without a face mask himself yelling at passengers that they must have face masks or not ride (though masks would not be provided). A man using a bandana as his mask was forced to leave.
Shortly thereafter, a different viral video showed the consequences of failure to comply:
do riders know that they might be pulled off a SEPTA bus by 10 cops for not having a mask? pic.twitter.com/NnHXJC02E8
— Philly Transit Riders Union (@phillyTRU) April 10, 2020
In Kentucky, on the eve of Easter, the Democrat Governor ordered police officers to spend Resurrection Sunday collecting license plate information on all churchgoers so that the state could force the Christians into a 14-day quarantine. Though justified on the basis of preventing mass gatherings, no similar order was issued for grocery stores, pharmacies, or other highly trafficked locations. In Louisville, the mayor took the decree a step further and attempted to ban all drive-in church services, though a court wisely struck down that potential powder keg hours before enforcement would have begun.
In Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has thrust herself into the national limelight. Not for courageous leadership but for bizarre bans and prohibitions that are as arbitrary as they are abusive. By gubernatorial fiat she has forbade citizens from purchasing garden seeds to plant, to travel to their own vacation homes, to buy a gallon of paint, or to visit the houses of their own family members.
Meanwhile, Boston has mandated one-way sidewalks with a fine to be imposed on citizens caught going the wrong direction. And in Arkansas, the government removed a basketball goal when a 12-year-old girl was caught shooting baskets alone.
Look, I’m certainly not suggesting that anyone has the perfect set of answers for these unique circumstances we find ourselves in. And that’s why a measure of goodwill should be exchanged – on both sides.
Even as I battle inwardly over the necessity of lockdowns and the wisdom of statewide stay-at-home orders, I am willing to continue granting our elected leaders my confidence. I can accept that they are acting on the best information they’ve been given from experts as they request a continued sacrifice from citizens in order to achieve our quickest and most desired outcome. And for now, I think most Americans are like me in that regard.
But if they truly want that trust to persist, they must rigidly guard themselves against their emerging tendency to overreach, over-burden, and arbitrarily mandate the kind of unenforceable, unconstitutional, and indefensible violations of the people’s civil liberties. Otherwise, I fear a virus will quickly become the least of our concerns.