If there’s one thing we’ve learned through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the assumed influence of certain federal, state and local authorities has been pushed to the limit.
With resistance mounting to many of these various decrees from high-ranking government officials — some as petty as warning parents not to let their children play outside, walking on the beach or arresting small business owners for returning to work — an increasing percentage of the public is beginning to wonder how elected or appointed government executives suddenly have the authority to tell them how to live their lives during the coronavirus outbreak.
Specifically, where in the codes of law is it written that a contagion that does not effect everyone can become the reason to enforce regulations that affect everyone? Equally bewildering, if the virus is as infectious has we’re continually reminded, then why are some people considered “essential” enough to continue working while others are deemed “nonessential” and must stay home? What makes a Walmart stock clerk more essential than a small business owner or dentist?
Does the virus know how to distinguish between them?
Our nation has been around for about 250 years and endured good times and bad. We’ve survived wars, economic ups and downs, plagues, natural calamities and social unrest. Certain events have required temporary government intrusion to assist or calm a situation that is/was beyond the capability of local authorities. However, after the danger passed, the hand of government, for the most part, was withdrawn and life returned to normal.
To my knowledge, the entire country has never been placed on “selective lock-down,” regardless of the reasons given. Schools, churches, restaurants and many businesses are closed for fear of being an incubator of the virus, while at the same time millions of shoppers can freely roam the aisles, handling and exchanging the merchandise of “essential” commercial enterprises.
Presently, the concept of being “united” in the United States seems to be determined by who you are, where you live or the proclivities of a particular politician or appointed expert. It’s beyond rational thought.
Unfortunately, in their zeal to enforce their assumed authority certain officials, particularly state governors, have enacted emergency regulations that lack the force of law. By a simple written command or “executive order”, they have imposed upon the public their opinion of how things should be managed and decided the penalty for failing to comply. In essence, becoming the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government rolled into one.
A brief reference to the 14th Amendment of the Constitution might help clear up the confusion: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.” In other words, if a state law is enacted affecting everyone it must be equally applied and not in violation of existing individual rights. There is no such thing as “essential” or “nonessential” citizens. And the right to “peaceably assemble” in our churches, schools and just about anywhere is one of our very first freedoms.
For obvious reasons, the confusion we have now is not the way our government was established. I suspect it is just a matter of time before multiple lawsuits are filed challenging this reckless behavior. If our entire governing system can be altered by 50 different fiat “Let it be done” proclamations, then the law becomes meaningless and we’ll return to being managed by pre-1776-like overlords with their “rule-of-the-day” decrees.