Opinion

When the crisis ends

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

"He who gives up his liberty for safety gets none of them." — Thomas Jefferson

Wow, let's reflect on that for a bit because it is very relevant today. To keep our citizens safe as we fight this COVID-19 crisis, it has been at the expense of many of our liberties and freedoms. While I do have concerns, I supportive of the efforts our governor and president have taken to protect our state and country and believe they acted in the best interests of the citizens they are sworn to protect.

This crisis will be averted eventually. Yet we are already hearing from some in leadership positions about the possible need to continue these drastic measures into the summer or fall.

While I want to do everything, I can to protect our citizens against sickness, catastrophe, or an evil, we must also protect the people's rights equally and as fervently. Once this crisis is over, then our citizens should fully expect their suspended rights to return in full.

To understand where I am coming from, first we must define what we have given up, willingly, to the government in response to the COVID 19 crisis and what we must demand is given back after the crisis is over. I will start by just outlining the rights we have lost in the Bill of Rights:

First Amendment — Right to assemble and religion in some areas of the country you can be fined up to $5,000 for being with a group of people or in a church.

Second Amendment — In some areas of the country governors have specifically closed gun stores while, at the same time, similar stores that are not gun stores are open. This is a restriction that specifically limits the 2nd Amendment.

Fourth Amendment — There are several states who are talking about using cellphone locations to track people. Any tracking of people without their consent or a court order is a violation of this amendment.

Fifth Amendment — Some would say that stay at home orders, of themselves are indefinite detention and take away the right to due process. However, if stay at home orders are not lifted after this emergency has passed then this right is violated.

Sixth Amendment — If your 5th Amendment is violated then you have had your 6th Amendment violated because that deals with your right to a jury by trial. Those who have had rights taken away without a trial or proper charge have had their 6th Amendment rights taken as well.

Eighth Amendment — Once again, if your 5th Amendment is violated then you have also had your 8th Amendment violated because it deals with prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment and if you are not charged with a crime then your punishment is cruel and unusual.

Ninth Amendment — As a citizen of this great country you have other rights that aren’t specifically spelled out in the Constitution. The 9th Amendment provides that people have other rights, even if they aren’t specifically spelled out in the constitution. Rights such as a life free from manipulation, free from fraud, the ability to pursue economic freedom, and others. Many of these examples are being trampled right in the name of safety.

Tenth Amendment — Maintains that any power not specifically given to the Federal government are maintained by the states or the individual. So, if the federal government does not cede powers to the states or the individual after this crisis, then our rights are being infringed.

As you can see, there are many rights that have been taken from us during this crisis and must be returned upon the conclusion of this crisis. This was a true public health pandemic where emergency measures had to take place. However, moving forward we must be vigilant in demanding that these rights be returned to us and we must begin to discuss the actions that were taken by our government(s) so that it doesn’t happen again under nefarious circumstances. We must also look at the long-term consequences these actions have had on our economy and our future.

Just today, I heard that the state of California is looking at never returning to normal and placing restrictions on crowd sizes and venue spacings. That is an example of taking rights and liberties away and then once they are removed, keeping them from the people who deserve them. There are other examples but in the interest of time we must be vigilant and ensure our rights are returned after this crisis is over.

With that said, Iowa is in great shape financially and Governor Reynolds has been doing a great job. In Iowa, our reserve funds are full, and we had a budget surplus going into this crisis. I am proud of what Governor Reynolds and President Trump have done to protect our citizens and I fully expect they will be watching and ensuring our rights and liberties are returned when COVID 19 has been defeated.

Another founding father, Benjamin Franklin, stated, "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Both Jefferson and Franklin had no idea that their statements would be used 230 years later but they are no less true today than they were back then. We need to keep this in mind as we move through this crisis and back into life as normal.