An opinion by author Dave Vance
I haven’t been as ashamed of my country as I am now since Obama was reelected in 2012.
The reaction to COVID-19 from the President on down has been nothing but irrational panic on different levels, often resulting in good old fashioned tyranny of the kind we haven’t seen in our country since its founding. In some cases, the policies may be well-intended, but they are nevertheless tyrannical.
Instead of being the “home of the free and land of the brave”, we have become the land of the naïve and afraid!
No disrespect intended to the elderly and others with compromised immune systems who do have more to fear from COVID 19 than does the average person, my beef is with the rest of the folks – whether they be elected officials or average Joe’s – that not only freaked out for their own health and safety, but wanted everybody else to be just as scared and compliant as they are.
I hold in special contempt those officials that established snitch lines to report any citizen not fully terrified and compliant with whatever stupid policy they had established and those that snitched on their neighbor or others they observed daring to be free.
Yes, I know that fear of the unknown is a great motivator, but fear is also a terrible emotion around which to make policy, especially irrational fear.
I understand that the President couldn’t just ignore it; and, in fact, he rightfully took swift action to stop travel from China early on when he found out about the virus – for which the Left and the so-called experts initially criticized him for doing.
I understand that the original models warned of over 2 million casualties from the virus and President Trump felt pressure to act. While we know now that those projections were wildly inaccurate, it’s hard to believe whatever number with which we finally end up due to numerous accounts of doctors being encouraged to list the cause of death as COVID-19 without testing or even when other factors are involved. Hospitals also now have financial incentives through Medicare to list COVID-19 as the culprit.
So, while it is great news that the projected number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths will be much lower than anticipated, the damage done by all the lockdowns is only getting worse. Our economy is being destroyed, along with the prosperity of many of our citizens. Many small business owners will be ruined permanently. All for an overblown threat!
But the bigger issue that every American should be concerned about is what government at the different levels has done in the name of health/safety, and worse yet what most of the citizens of our country and state have accepted as necessary. Things such as closing down businesses deemed “nonessential”.
How can it be constitutional for the government at any level to tell citizens that the legal business or job that they do to support themselves and their family can’t be done? If that is not tyrannical, what is?
How can it be constitutional to shut down churches, or limit attendees to 10 people and mandate 6 feet of separation between members?
When was the 1st Amendment and corresponding state-recognized rights of citizens repealed? I must have missed that Amendment process all together.
How can it be constitutional to dictate how many people can attend a public meeting, or even a private gathering?
How can it be constitutional to stop elective medical procedures? How many are suffering now because of that decision? How many in the medical profession have been laid off now because of this policy?
We are committing national suicide of our economy and our rights over an overblown “invisible enemy” that we now know is not any deadlier than the seasonal flu!
We have closed our schools and universities. The bright side of that particular closure is less leftwing indoctrination for our kids, but the panic that caused it is still wrong.
Apparently, most Americans have never heard the saying “those that would give up liberty for security deserve neither”. Maybe most Americans are just American-In-Name-Only today ?
We have never shut down our economy before and infringed on the basic rights and freedoms of this many Americans in any past pandemic or the numerous wars in which we have engaged with visible and real enemies. And you can’t defeat any enemy – visible or not – with a decimated economy.
At this rate, many Americans will be hypocrites when they celebrate the 4th of July. And certainly many will be hypocrites when they pretend to honor the sacrifices of our Veterans that died upholding their oath to the Constitution which recognizes our GOD-given rights that so many have readily given up!
While Tennessee hasn’t been as draconian in policy or enforcement as other states, it is still tyrannical and unconstitutional.
What makes Tennessee’s situation so egregious is that the broad emergency powers being exercised by Gov Lee, though statute (TCA Code 58-2-107) are in direct contradiction with the state constitution and the Declaration of Rights found in Article I of the Tennessee Constitution. In some cases, the violations are obvious and direct. In others – such as closing small businesses while allowing other big box stores to remain open – the spirit of the law, if not the letter, have been violated.
Below are just a few of those rights that stand out given the stated intent of the document:
“ARTICLE I. Declaration of Rights.
“Section 1. That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness; for the advancement of those ends they have at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.
“Section 2. That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
“Section 3. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.”
“Section 8. That no man shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.”
“Section 17. That all courts shall be open; and every man, for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial, or delay. Suits may be brought against the state in such manner and in such courts as the Legislature may by law direct.”
“Section 20. That no retrospective law, or law impairing the obligations of contracts, shall be made.”
“Section 22. That perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free state, and shall not be allowed.
“Section 23. That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by address of remonstrance.”
Furthermore, Article XI, Section 16 of the Tennessee Constitution states, “The declaration of rights hereto prefixed is declared to be a part of the Constitution of this State, and shall never be violated on any pretense whatever. And to guard against transgression of the high powers we have delegated, we declare that everything in the bill of rights contained, is excepted out of the General powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate.”
What this means is that the legislature in the past gave the Governor powers that they didn’t even possess and that are clearly unconstitutional at the state level alone. There is no constitutional basis for much of what the Governor has done even in the name of an “emergency”.
That means that the disastrous decisions made by Governor Lee – albeit with political cover provided by the President and others – can and should be remedied by the legislature. It means there is a check on King Lee’s powers.
The bottom line is that we should demand the legislature redo the statute in accordance with the state constitution even if that means calling a special session to do so. Any legislator not willing to address this fundamental constitutional issue doesn’t deserve the support of voters that care about their own livelihood and liberty!