The happiest news to emerge in recent coronavirus weeks come courtesy of videos from online news sources showing the good citizens of Michigan, fed up with their tyrannical governor, taking to the streets in mass — and maskless! — to demand an end to the tyranny.
The saddest news? The realization that it took so long for these types of protests to occur.
And for reason for that, we can turn to the Declaration of Independence.
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed,” the opening lines state.
Most Americans, when first informed of the coronavirus, wanted to simply do the right thing and help their neighbors, help their communities and families, help their country. They willingly stayed home; out of love for neighbor — or at least, concern for neighbor — abided by the government’s recommendations and mandates to protect against the spread of the virus. Business owners shelved their dreams of entrepreneurial freedom for the good of the country. School administrators closed their buildings; government service officers shut their doors. Church pastors, even, sent their congregations online.
Then things got stupid. Really stupid.
Then government ran amok.
The Americans saw tyrannical types, up close and personal, up close and in their own communities, seize powers the Constitution doesn’t grant and run roughshod over the rights of individuals and business owners. And Americans saw how these tyrannies were taking place in the face of failed computer modeling that showed wildly inaccurate coronavirus numbers.
“Michigan cracks down on seed purchases and tiny gatherings,” The Post Millennial reported, of Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s ridiculous executive-issued prohibitions against the purchase of plant seeds and grains in the state — and against neighbors from visiting their next-door neighbors.
Police state, anyone?
Seriously: How does buying plant seeds cause — or even correlate to — a spread of the coronavirus?
Then there was this, in the aftermath of an eye-opening Fox News interview between host Tucker Carlson and guest, Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey.
“By what authority did you nullify the Bill of Rights in issuing this order [prohibiting church gatherings and free assembly of the people]?” Carlson asked.
“That’s above my pay grade,” Tucker,” Murphy said, as the National Review noted. “I wasn’t thinking of the Bill of Rights when we did this.”
It’s the job of a governor — of any public servant who takes the oath of office, for that matter — to first and foremost, above all else, uphold the provisions of both state and U.S. constitutions.
To admit to not “thinking” of those documents, as a governor, is to admit a failure of job performance.
It’s a fireable offense. And in these coronavirus times, there are a lot of fireable offenses being perpetrated on the people by government officials, from police to politicians. Are we to stand idly by and watch, sheeplike, doing nothing forever?
This is where the rights of the individual to control and curb the government should blare forth.
President Donald Trump says he’s got a plan to open America’s economy and jumpstart U.S. businesses again, and that states ought to abide by his White House guidelines. Some states say they won’t.
Some states say the heck with reopening the country, the heck with freeing citizens from their house arrest, er, suggested stay-at-home, syndromes — the heck with all that until each and every last case of the coronavirus has been driven from humanity, until it’s safe and secure out there for all.
Well, what right does government have to decide that in the first place?
American citizens are well-equipped to determine how best to protect themselves and their families from looming health threats.
Americans do it every day, as a matter of fact.
Those who feel sick — stay home.
Those who worry about getting sick — stay home.
Those who can’t stay home but worry about getting sick — go ahead and wear a mask, social distance, stay in the car, do whatever seems logical and proper to keep from getting sick.
Just don’t expect all of America to suffer a police state existence for the next, well, forever — as a matter of possible protection for the relatively few citizens in the country who may or may not catch the coronavirus.
It’s time for more civil disobedience. It’s time for the protests of Michigan residents against their power mad governor to spread to the rest of the states — if only to send a message to the government that says: We’re watching. We’re watching, and we’re fed up.
If not now, when?
Americans aren’t going to go quietly into that good despotic night. Nor should they.
After all, it’s in America’s founding to fight for freedom.
“[W]hen a long train of abuses and usurpations [occur] … it is [citizens’] right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security,” the Declaration of Independence reads.
It’s not just a right to Americans to strive for freedom. It’s not just a right enshrined in the Constitution, in the Bill of Rights, in the First and Second amendments in particular.
It’s a duty. An actual duty. It’s a duty and responsibility for Americans to demand government obey. And how do Americans typically go about exercising that duty? With civil disobedience. Peaceful — but purposeful, persistent and powerful civil disobedience.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.