Do you want another Patriot Act? Because this is how you get another Patriot Act.

Any government mandate must have an expiration date. Instead of justifying why the new policy should go away, we should have to justify why it ought to stick around. “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program,” after all. Just look at the Iraq and Afghanistan expeditions we (poorly) justified nearly two decades ago, yet we’re still mired in.

The only objective indicator one can use to rescind the mandate is if COVID cases go down. Only then can returning to normal be justified. Who actually trusts the numbers? How accurate, really, are these new tests? How are people supposed to believe official numbers when so little testing has been done? What about concerns that states over-report COVID deaths in order to acquire additional federal funding?

There’s way too much room for doubt. I predicted months ago that reported cases in Greenlee County would trickle in at just the right frequency to keep everyone panicked. First we had one case. Then our second case. Then a couple more. Now we’ve got a sudden jump. Little too convenient for me to trust. Guarantee you in a couple weeks we’ll have another spike, because the panic will have waned and it’s time to reset the clock, of course.

My point is it’s too easy to fudge these numbers to keep the mandate going indefinitely. “Sorry guys, cases are still going up. We’ll just have to keep the policy in place.” With all due respect to the people working hard to combat this very real illness, this is how populations are manipulated. This is how tyranny starts: with little emergency powers that never go away. These little fish turn into Leviathan.

We should categorically reject all mandates without expiration dates.

Alek Miller, Morenci

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