The Perfect Crisis

I used to write a lot, now, not so much. I guess I haven’t had much to say. Either that or no one seems to listen. But it is time to dust of the old keyboard and say what’s on my mind. I’m scared of this coronavirus.

My biggest fear isn’t the virus itself, although I have plenty of reason to be scared of that. My wife is a nurse on a COVID floor at an elderly rehab complex. Both of us are high-risk candidates because of pre-existing health issues and age. But still,l that isn’t what scares me the most. What does scare me is the fact we have opened the door to a place I really don’t think we should be going.  Can we say socialism?

Let me start by saying I am not one of these conspiracy nuts who think that somehow the government is behind all this, ours or someone else’s. Could they be? I suppose so but even if they are, worrying about that now is like closing the barn door after the horse is out. I also know this is a real virus and it is killing people. Whether it is killing as many people as we are being told is another matter and is a topic to be discussed on another day.

My biggest concern is the fact we have opened the door to having our civil rights curtailed. We have trampled our Constitution all in the interest of the “common good” and “public welfare”. We have instituted policies that we can safely call marshal law lite.

Let’s start with the First Amendment. 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

“Prohibiting the free exercise” of religion – Here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one of the birthplaces of our country’s independence, we have had at least two cases where the free exercise of religion has been prohibited. For the last few weeks, the Adams Square Baptist Church in Worcester has been holding services despite Gov. Baker’s orders against all public gatherings. This has resulted in fines and the Worcester Police blocking people from entering the building. There was also a story yesterday, which interestingly enough I cannot find online, of a church on the North Shore of Massachusetts, being served with a cease and desist order when it planned to have services last Sunday.

Not only are religious services being banned, so are any public gatherings of more than ten people. Doesn’t this violate our right to “peaceably assemble”?  And again here in Massachusetts Governor Baker wants to keep tabs on who you have had contact with in order to stop the spread of the virus. Of course, this information would never be used for anything other than notifying people who may have been in contact with a carrier and would never, ever, be given to another agency, like, say, the police. Haven’t we heard this before?

As I write this our leaders are getting ready to pass another stimulus package. We have already passed one that gave people $1200 and another which will do the same is on the table. What better way to make people dependent on the government? And of these trillions of dollars do we know how much of this has gone to pork-barrel projects? 50, 60, 75, 90%?

Now that this door has been opened, where we have been allowed to curtail our civil rights and precedence has been set, with barely a whimper, it can, and will happen again. Not only have our First Amendment rights been destroyed, but the government has also taken over the economy. What we can buy, where we can shop, where we can travel, have all been taken over by the government. Will it be given back to the individual businesses? Maybe, maybe not. Again the precedent has been set.

Now I am sure there are many of you out there who are saying “We need to take these measures for the public good”. And it is hard to argue against that. But the problem becomes what is the definition of the public good? This is a public health crisis, okay, we can say that is a legitimate reason, but what will be the next crisis that will need to be controlled for the public good? Too many carbons in the atmosphere? We need to mandate driving bans for the public good.

As the old saying goes “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”


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