As we, the whole nation, celebrate our Independence, but looking back on the past few months of challenges our nation has faced, I felt compelled to comment on something I’ve often disagreed with folks about.
Many people get upset with me because I’ve been critical of my governor’s emergency orders mandating masks, stay at home, etc. Many thought I was objecting to those orders out of some sense of inconvenience. Not so, and perhaps I’ve done a poor job of expressing my outlook.
I posted an article link this morning that reviewed Japan’s response to the Novel Coronavirus and how the Prime Minister of Japan ASKED his people to stay at home if possible and wear masks in a variety of situations. He couched it as a request to the overall benefit of the country – and his people responded.
My objection has never been to wearing a mask. My objection to staying at home (which really isn’t a great change in most of my days) wasn’t with staying home. My objection was NO CHOICE in the matter under threat of jail and or fine; my objection was a governor’s order that made it a criminal act to go anywhere unnecessarily or to not wear a mask.
Had my governor couched his emergency “orders” differently, I would likely have agreed with him, admired his leadership and worked to encourage others to do what was best for our community, our county, our state and our nation. Instead, my governor, by executive order, removed a segment of my liberty under penalty of prison and/or fine. With the stroke of a pen, he reduced my freedom.
Today – on our nation’s Independence Day – I hope people can understand the difference. Looking forward, I will exercise due caution and consideration for my fellow citizens. If I feel ill and am going out in public, I’ll wear a mask – where it’s not prohibited by law – or I’ll limit how much I go out to ONLY as necessary.
I have faith in the people of our nation. I happen to believe Americans are largely hard-working, prefer self-reliance and will willingly, usually eagerly, help each other when asked. On the other hand, when we’re ordered to do something under penalty of punishment, we tend to get a bit… obstinate. Our nation was, after all, founded by a group of men and women who weren’t fond of being told what to do under threat of violence or punishment.
Today is our Independence Day. Let’s celebrate it with a deep appreciation for what our Constitution and Bill of Rights mean. Let’s take a moment to be thankful for the liberties we ALL have. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the opportunities we ALL have. Let’s celebrate with appropriate regard and concern for our fellow citizens by practicing proper social distancing and wearing a mask within public spaces. If you feel ill or are running a fever, please forgo the celebrations and stay home. Yes, it sucks. Yes, it’s a sacrifice. But we Americans tend to welcome that if it means a better nation for our people.
So… Happy Independence Day. I feel myself lucky to have been born, and still live, in the greatest nation this earth has ever seen. We may not be perfect (what human involved endeavor is?). We may not be 100% fair and equitable (but I do truly believe we do our best). But we DO have a system of government and justice that offers, I believe, every citizen the best opportunity to grow and succeed beyond what’s available anyplace else on earth. Maybe that makes me arrogant – or maybe it makes me patriotic.
Call me what you will, but I love my country and I took an oath to serve ALL her citizens. That oath has no expiration date and I will do my best to fulfill it until the day I die. ASK me and I’ll do all I can to help; to serve. ORDER me and you’ll likely get that belligerent American, “Who the heck do you think you’re talking to?” response. To me, that’s part of what makes us different. All the good we do is done out of proud motivation and a mutual / national desire to continue to be the greatest nation on earth.
Let’s do that together, focusing on who we are as a national people rather than divided by any demographic label. Let’s be better and bigger than any pandemic or political BS. Let’s embrace being AMERICAN, reaching a hand out to each other and helping each other. Let’s you and me and everyone who celebrates today be better than the petty bickering of politicians and anyone who wants to tear our great nation apart. Let’s NOT be divided. Let’s stand together as Americans.
Happy Independence Day! Enjoy your Fourth of July weekend!