Well, at least I have one like-minded justice on the Supreme Court. Maybe a few more.
United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito believes the COVID-19 pandemic has brought “previously unimaginable restrictions on individual liberty.”
In remarks before the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention, reported by National Public Radio, Nov. 13, Alito remarked the virus has “highlighted constitutional fault lines” threatening basic rights enumerated in the constitution.
I wholeheartedly concur, which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with my ramblings. After I figured out the coronavirus was intentionally being allowed to morph into a control mechanism, allowing governors and certain local authorities to randomly impose questionable restrictions, lockdowns, stay-at-home mandates and closures of schools and churches, sealed the deal for me.
I wasn’t permitted to attend church or a school activity for fearing of spreading COVID, but big box and other chain stores could remain open all day, allowing hundreds of customers to come and go as they please.
Now, we’re being scolded to expect a second round of this foolishness because not everyone didn’t obediently comply with the government’s warning to wash our hands every few minutes, wear face masks, and stay several apart. Apparently, failure to do so could also endanger more than 10 funeral mourners. Not sure if the funeral home directors and deceased were included in the total.
If you’re being thoughtless enough to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s with a houseful of family and friends, think again. There damn well better not be any jovial activities, singing or hugging going on, lest your nosy neighbors report you to the COVID police.
And Santa should reconsider before slipping down the chimney. Because he’s been delivering toys and munching cookies and milk for hundreds of years, is undeniable evidence he’s a potential “super spreader,” infecting everyone from Nome, Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Obviously, Prancer, Dancer, Donner and Blitzen need to be immediately quarantined.
Recognizing the recklessness of the situation, Justice Alito cautioned “All that I’m saying is this, and I think it is an indisputable statement of fact, that we have never before seen restrictions as severe, extensive and prolonged as those experienced for most of 2020.”
Continuing with his warning “Think of all the live events that would otherwise be protected by the right to freedom of speech. The COVID crisis has served as a sort of constitutional stress test, and in doing so, it has highlighted disturbing trends that were already present before the virus struck.”
In essence, tossing First Amendment guarantees to the curb under the guise of protecting us from a disease believed to have originated in China. If all it takes to squander our constitutional guarantees is some kind of foreign manufactured crisis, then we will have helped promote our own misery without anyone else’s assistance.
Entrepreneur and visionary — and maybe a little eccentric — Elon Musk, recently attempted to prove COVID-19 testing was a hit and miss situation. CNBC News reported on Nov. 13 that Musk had four coronavirus tests performed on the same day with the results being 50/50. Two of the tests indicated positive and two negative.
We continue to rely upon these tests as an indicator of COVID’s spread throughout the country. The more testing performed; the more positive cases reported; the more restrictions imposed. It’s a circular firing squad.
Yet, reported deaths are down, in spite of the fact a large percentage of the reported fatalities are not from the actual virus, but resulting from pre-existing health issues. In other words, if a person has suffered from diabetes for many years and expires from a recent virus infection, the death is most often recorded as a COVID fatality.
Obviously skewed numbers but serving a purpose. Officials can then point to the fact the virus continues to inflict harm upon the nation, therefore more stringent controls must be put into place. In turn, government representatives and health expert’s influence increases exponentially as the virus radiates across the land.
However, little mention of the fact just because a person may record positive for COVID is no guarantee he/she will actually become sick. Another flaw in relying too heavily upon testing.
Justice Alito cautioned against the growing trend to accept “the dominance of lawmaking by executive fiat rather than legislation.”
This is perhaps the greatest danger — to tolerate the growing trend of unrestricted regulatory authority as law, when it is often the mere expression of opinion and arrogance cloaked in pomposity.
Finally, Mr. Alito reminds us to “Take a quick look at the Constitution. You will see the free exercise clause of the First Amendment, which protects religious liberty. You will not find a craps clause or a blackjack clause of a slot machine clause.”
Nor, I might add, a Walmart clause, a Target clause, a Home Depot Clause, a Safeway clause, an Auto Zone clause, et cetera. Either we equally suffer the pandemic together, unfettered by dissimilar application of rules and regulations, or our civil rights and economy will eventually be subdued by overly aggressive government managers whose climb up the authoritarian ladder is dependent upon their willingness to impose “reforms” in the name of safety and security — and citations, fines and possible jail time.
We’ve already seen this craziness in certain areas.
Mike Bibb lives in Safford.