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Our rights are being trampled

Rod Pelton, R-District 65
Colorado State Representative

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

At the time of this writing, my home county still has no coronavirus cases. In fact, there are two counties in HD65 and eight counties in Colorado without any reported cases, so why have we been forced to give up so many essential liberties?

I don’t deny that COVID-19 is a real virus, and it is making real people sick. But the extent of mandated precautions simply does not match up with the extent of the risk. As of today, there have been 374 deaths from COVID-19 in Colorado. I actually think the number of deaths is overstated, but I will deal with that at another time. If you go with this figure, it means that about one-half of 1 percent of our population have succumbed to the disease. I understand that if you or a loved one is one of those who have contracted it, there can be serious consequences, and I sincerely sympathize with you. But let me assure you that there are serious consequences to continuing the governor-mandated stay at home orders too. When did we the people give the government the right to be the savior of all instead of people taking personal responsibility for their own safety and well-being? Are these actions constitutional or at the very least fair? No. Under a medical emergency the governor has certain powers, but those powers do not include shutting down privately owned businesses, forbidding or limiting peaceful gatherings, choosing which businesses can stay open and which cannot, etc., etc., etc. Nowhere in the U.S. or state constitution is there a clause that says “unless there’s a pandemic.” The Declaration of Independence, the U.S. and state constitution, and our Bill of Rights are clear. As Americans we have certain unalienable rights given to us by God that supersede the government’s special orders, no matter the reason. Our rights are being trampled upon for the perception of safety.

The governor has said on many occasions that the CARES stimulus checks that citizens are receiving are a payment to stay home. Wrong! This payment is because the government has shut down your business, caused you to not be able to go to work, or caused you to lose your job because the governor has deemed your business or job as non-essential. But it won’t come anywhere close to replacing the paychecks that citizens are missing out on. And it certainly won’t help with the psychological and emotional trauma that goes along with being unemployed or losing your business. Every business is essential to somebody. It might not be a business that provides goods or services that we can’t live without, but if it’s providing the livelihood for its owners and employees, IT IS ESSENTIAL! Do you think the governor will make the people or the businesses whole financially? No! What about the small “Mom and Pop” businesses that can’t reopen because they’ve gone broke because the governor classified them as non-essential while letting the big box stores stay open and sell everything in the store? Where is the logic or the fairness in this situation? The governor talks about how we must adjust to the “new normal.” I don’t know about you, but I have no intention of adjusting to a “normal” that means that we as citizens must ask permission from the governor to go to work or meet with friends or anything of the kind. Some in our society seem to have forgotten that the government doesn’t give rights to the citizens; rather, the citizens give the government the rights that it needs to do its business.

The damage that has been done to our economy by this man-made crisis has been dramatic and could have been avoided. It’ll be the ingenuity of the American people and private industry, not the government, that will get us out of this crisis. It’s time to get the country back open and let the American people get this huge economic engine going again. We can do that while still protecting the most vulnerable and not punishing the healthy people. ❖


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