As the world began to deal with the rising hysteria, panic and misinformation about Covid-19, Americans paid little attention except to criticize how President Trump was handling it by restricting travel from China where the virus originated (Re, 2020). The Democrats were actively pursuing an impeachment against the President, after 3 years of attempts to discredit and evict him from the White House. Even with these internal distractions, the Trump Administration continued to press China and the WHO for accurate information about the disease apparently marching its’ way across the world. Estimates from a fatally flawed model put out by Neil Ferguson at the Imperial College were presented to the Trump Administration by Dr. Fauci (Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases) and Dr. Birx (the US Global AIDS Coordinator, and US Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy) as the best source of information. This model suggested that over 2 million people would die, and it would happen quickly (Reynolds, 2020).
By March 16, 2020 the White House put out guidelines known as “15 Days to Slow the Spread” and declared Covid-19 a national emergency (White House, 2020). This declaration allowed healthcare providers greater latitude and flexibility in providing care, and set the stage for emergency funding to the states. The initial guidelines encouraged hand-washing and if one was experiencing symptoms, to stay at home. The talking points included “flattening the curve”, which meant slowing down the transmission of the virus, to ensure health systems were able to accommodate the expected millions of patients. The use of masks for non-healthcare individuals was initially discouraged by Dr. Fauci in a 60 minutes interview.
Americans rose to the occasion, and agreed to those measures in the spirit of doing what was best for our country and our countrymen, with the understanding that it would be a 15 day shutdown, so that our healthcare systems could better manage the number of patients.
More and more states, businesses and organizations positively leapt on the bandwagon. Feeding into and off of the panic by closing businesses, healthcare clinics, schools, events and activities (Witte, 2020). There was a nervous excitement as if a long-feared event was finally here. The prevailing atmosphere was that everyone could possibly die if we did not all comply. Panic porn ruled the day and decisions were made and agreed to that are proving difficult to undo.
States Rights and Responsibilities
The 10th Amendment (National Constitution Center) states that powers not specifically given to the federal government in the constitution are reserved to the states or to the people. President Trump rightly encouraged states to handle the crisis in a manner that would best fit and serve the residents of their states, with the federal system providing support if needed.
States began to identify businesses and jobs as either essential or non-essential. The Federal Government provided support by passing massive bail out bills (the first was $2.2 TRILLION) designed to help keep people afloat when laid off. But they were loaded with pork that had nothing to do with Covid-19 relief. Politicians quickly began doing what politicians do best - looking out for themselves and those that donate to them. While a single, $1200 one-time payment per person was authorized to every American, the Kennedy Center was given $25 million dollars, and then subsequently laid off their staff, with plans to use that money to make up for their poor money management issues (Jacobs, 2020). These extras (and many more) were added to the bill by members of both parties in the House of Representatives, leveraging the crisis to get funding for pet projects, to the extreme long-term detriment of we the people who will be paying the bill (Andrzejewski, 2020).
Conditioning from the media and celebrities talking about how everyone needed to comply with random, and often contradictory orders began to make the rounds of TV and social media. Guilt, shame and fear were expertly used to ensure compliance. Signage and graphics appeared nearly instantaneously stressing the need to “social distance”, “flatten the curve” and “wear a mask to show you care”. Only seven states did not lock down with stay at home orders (Ballotpedia, 2020), preferring to encourage their residents to make wise decisions while closing schools and certain businesses. A stay-at-home order declared that no one could leave their homes except to buy groceries, pick up medicine, see a doctor, some places allowed short excursions for exercise or dog walking (Wu, 2020).
As the initial 15 days to slow the spread wound down, the push for the country to remain on crisis footing, including the lock downs, intensified. The goalposts were subsequently moved every two weeks with talking points about not being at the peak yet, and a focus on national hot spots like New York City driving the national conversation and reaction.
Reports started to filter throughout social media of attempts to push back on the hypocrisy and illegality of the stay at home orders.
The hypocrisy was revealed further when it was discovered that leaders at all levels and from both sides of the aisle who were shaming and forcing people to comply were themselves violating their stay at home orders (Reeder, 2020).
Freedom for security is always a bad trade
With the economy in tatters, social isolation and delayed healthcare devastating our health far more than the Covid-19 virus ever could, we watched as the ominous warnings of millions dead dropped to several hundred thousand, and then under 200,000 dead. These terrifying numbers never occurred. The Ferguson model was proven to be so poorly designed and executed it mislead an entire globe about the impacts of Covid-19 (Dayaratna, 2020).
And while we watched, our civil liberties - those rights endowed by our creator, not a government - were attacked. By our compliance with the fear-mongering and our unwillingness to push back when the facts did not match the rhetoric, many of us gratefully traded our freedoms for the promised security of preserved health. Too late, we realized it was an illusion. As we witnessed elected officials extend shut downs in utter defiance of logic and information, we realized the opportunity for them to grab power and keep it was too great a temptation for them to withstand.
Although some states began to lift lockdowns in May, and re-engage economic activity (Florida and Georgia) others seemed to tighten their grip (Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oregon). Those states, such as Georgia, that did re-open quickly were castigated by the press and politicians for choosing money over lives, and killing their constitutents (Levine, 2020). Beach goers in Florida and Memorial Day partiers in the Ozarks were accused of selfishness, with dire warnings of the deaths that would result, but never did.
More blatant hypocrisy about the lockdowns was evidenced by the responses to the massive protests and eventual riots surrounding the tragic murder of George Floyd. While people could still be arrested for going to church, playing in a park, or not wearing a mask, they were actively encouraged by Public Health Officials to join the protests (Diamond, 2020).
With people gathering in the hundreds and in some cases thousands in close quarters - social distancing requirements became unenforceable (Soave, 2020). The push to have everyone masked aided in the destruction. It is much easier to cross the line of decency when you feel anonymous.
Initially, with the lies from China and the WHO (World Health Organization) confusing matters, with the democrats accusing the President of racism for shutting down China travel until we understood more, and trying to understand the true gravity of the situation we were all susceptible to the panic porn being pushed. We have had clear indications that Covid-19, while highly contagious, is not as deadly as first thought. Keeping everyone from getting the disease was NEVER supposed to be the goal. The continuation of these restrictions, especially in left-leaning states, is no longer about protecting the health of the citizens, but of controlling how they live.
We are clearly under attack from the enemy within. Our civil liberties will be eradicated unless we stand up and push back.
Remember these words from our Declaration of Independence,
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
We the people must be involved in our political processes in order to ensure that those whom we entrust to govern, have our best interests at heart.
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