In this time of panic, it seems as if people are okay with foregoing all liberties in the name of health and safety. While the appeal to have an authoritative government protecting the country seems reasonable to some people, the government has shown time and time again during this pandemic that it does not have all of the necessary information and infrastructure to do so.
For instance, at the beginning of the pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci told the American people that wearing masks in public would not prevent coronavirus. Many masks being sold currently have disclaimers that they cannot prevent the user from contracting the disease. However, many people are now being forced to wear masks in public in the name of public health. A few weeks ago, Dr. Fauci warned against reopening the country too quickly in his senate testimony, but just a few days ago on May 22 in an interview with CNBC, he said that not opening quickly enough would cause “irreparable damage.”
There are very important lessons we should learn from this crisis. The first and most important one is that it is dangerous to set the precedent that the government always knows best in regard to ensuring your health and wellbeing. These past few months have proven that the government knows as little about the coronavirus as any average American, yet many continue to feel comfortable with the government taking away their rights under the false notion that they know exactly how to protect us. Scenes of people being arrested for swimming in beaches, churches getting shut down, or circles being drawn in public parks to make sure people don’t get too close to each other look like they were taken straight out of Orwell’s 1984.
There are no constitutional exceptions for a virus. By letting government officials completely disregard our governing document, we are setting a dangerous precedent for any potential future manufactured crisis. It is unsafe, and downright un-American, to allow the government to suspend our rights indefinitely until they deem them safe to return.
Jose Luis Villarreal
External Vice President