When Civil Rights, government, and politics collide
Recent actions by several governors across the country are raising concerns about the legitimacy of such actions. There is growing concern that those may exceed the authority of said governors and is causing growing unease and unrest from citizens. Interestingly but not surprisingly, the most dissention seems to be coming from states with Democrat governors. Most Americans are willing to do their part in crisis situations, but there seems to be a tipping point at which enough is enough. We may be at that point is some areas of the country.
Several questions arise from the recent governor decrees. Can a governor unilaterally ban large gatherings contrary to the First Amendment? Can a governor ban religious gatherings? Can gun sales be suspended or is that contrary to the Second Amendment? Can a governor mandate that people not leave their houses? And if so, can they arrest or fine violators? Can masks be deemed mandatory to be in public? Does a governor have the right to determine which businesses are essential or non-essential? These seem to be questions asked by many.
There is no doubt that governors of all states have the authority to declare an emergency by executive order. Most authorities are limited by state constitutions to certain situations. However, these have been rarely used and primarily for natural disasters of limited duration and their actions should only pertain directly to that emergency. The fly in the ointment is the question of exactly how long an emergency can last. In the case of many governors, primarily Democrat, this is a case of giving an inch and them taking a mile. For example, how does limiting or banning firearm sales pertain to COVID-19? Or eliminating elective surgeries to free up hospital space, which makes sense, but deeming an abortion as essential.
There seems to be no rhyme and little reason regarding the decisions of these governors. It gives the appearance of them taking the opportunity to ignore the Constitution and laws while implementing their agendas. That is the political aspect. For example, in Mississippi church members were ticketed for $500 fines for sitting in a church parking lot listening to a low power sermon broadcast. Yet one block away, there were lines of cars at fast food drive throughs with numbers exceeding those in the church lot. There are numerous other examples of Christian religions being targeted, to the point that Attorney General Barr chastised the enforcers.
In New York, firearm sales are banned while the state is releasing hundreds of prisoners in fear of a COVID 19 outbreak in the prison system. Logical, in the minds of liberals. Residents of several eastern states with stay at home orders are encouraged to turn people in that they see violating the order. That is reminiscent of a socialist regime, not a democratic republic. Besides, historically quarantines were not designed to confine the healthy, but the ill.
There is a lot of false reporting about this pandemic, perhaps in the hope of extending it. For example, deaths are now required by the CDC to state COVID 19 as the cause of death for infected patients, regardless of underlying issues that they might actually have died from. That skews the statistics, which are already skewed by the reporting. Media seems inclined to report the statistics in the worst possible way, such as percentage of those dying compared to those confirmed infected, rather than as a percentage of total population or other benchmark. I was sent a link to a blog by a Utah doctor that gives a sensible view of the issue. It is found at moabfamilyhealth.com and is an April 10 post. Check it out.
The Bill of Rights limits what government can do. The aforementioned governors are dangerously close to infringing on those rights if they haven’t already. There are protests in several states and new federal lawsuits daily regarding states infringing on individual rights. Those rights include the right to assemble, freedom of religion, right to freely travel, and the right to self-defense. Sadly, by the time these make it through the court system, the pandemic will hopefully be over.
That doesn’t mean it should be forgotten. We allowed this to happen and it will happen again if Democrats have their way. We should be vigilant about infringements on our rights. We should use this in the future to revise the laws to once again rein in rogue liberals whose power seems to go their heads.