Our rights can’t be thrown out due to COVID-19

By Brian Whitmore/Publisher

The Declaration of Independence recognizes three unalienable rights given to humans by their creator, which are to be protected by government — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Obviously, you can’t have liberty and pursuit of happiness without life. But also note that life without liberty and the pursuit of happiness is really no life at all.

One could argue that in the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis the government is doing its best to protect life, but might be falling short in protecting liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In Greenville, Miss., churchgoers were fined $500 for violating a mayor’s curfew order. Congregants stayed in their cars with the windows rolled up and still were fined.

Police dragged a man without a mask off a public bus in Philadelphia, Pa.

A paddle boarder was arrested near the Malibu Pier, Calif. He was on a paddleboard with nobody near him.

The longer quarantine continues, the more you’ll hear about basic rights being violated.

I agree with the shutdown. I agree with flattening the curve. I agree with reducing the strain on our nation’s healthcare system. I agree with trying to save lives.

But I’m also a big defender of our Constitution. And I know this shutdown can’t go on indefinitely – the toll will be too great on our basic rights.

Now many Democrats are quick to throw the Constitution out the window when it allows them to take control of more of our lives. In the middle of this crisis, Nancy Pelosi is more concerned with a personal vendetta against the president than the people of this country. That is apparent by a continued call for impeachment and delaying the first stimulus package with liberal pork.

President Donald J. Trump has done as well as anyone could have in the face of this crisis. He was right not to shut the country down in January, as many Democrats argue he should have, in hindsight.

The president was right to let state governors decide. Each state is different. I’m a big proponent for state’s rights. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster was right to delay a shelter-in-place order – hoping that his citizens would take warnings to heart without being forced against their will.

Now the president and the governors are going to have to figure out how to reopen the United States for business. No small task. But it has to happen. There has to be an exit strategy. We can’t go on like this forever.

Capitalism must survive. The jobs that allow us to provide for our families must survive.

A few weeks or a few months of shelter-in-place – we can do that. When weeks and months become no end in sight – that’s not going to work. We’ve started revolutions for less.

Again, I’m all for saving lives. But our rights are not something that can be thrown away in a crisis.

As the Gadsden flag says, “Don’t Tread on Me.”

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Brian Whitmore is the publisher of The Chronicle. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The Chronicle. Whitmore can be reached at publisher@clintonchronicle.net

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