A taste of freedom in the coronavirus panic
My wife entered stage right (the hallway) and said in a frustrated voice, "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!" This got my attention because my wife is an even-tempered woman who normally takes moderation to excess. Typically, I'm the one who breaks first, and she is the morale officer.
I was the one who would be morale officer this time. Step up to the plate, buddy, and give it a shot. I did, and I hit it out of the park.
We were on "lockdown," or under house arrest, or something like that, but those terms sounded worse than the confinement was. The governor's "stay-at-home order" extension allowed some movement outside the home. Imagine that. We (the people) had received permission from our governor to do things that just a few days ago we didn't need permission from anybody to do. That concerned me.
I said to Karen, "Let's go for a drive tomorrow." That got me a smile. By morning, she was singing a tune as she dried her hair. It was a modified version of "See the USA in your Chevrolet," made popular by Dinah Shore. We don't have a Chevrolet, so it was See the USA in a Subaru. Didn't matter. She was singing.
We brought sandwiches and made it to the border just a little after lunch. I stopped by the welcome sign.
"Free America is just over there," I said. "Over here, it is $1,000 fine and or up to 90 days in jail if we violate the governor's first stay-at-home order and a $3,000 fine and a year in prison if we violate parts of his most recent extension. Over there, none of that is a crime."
South Dakota governor Kristi Noem said, "The people have established national and state constitutions that place specific limits on the role of government in our lives. Those limits prevent us from taking draconian measures much like the Chinese government has done and what we have seen. There are also some limits that keep us from taking actions some European governments [have taken] that limit citizens' rights. Our constitution ensures the citizens' right is protected. I agree with the role of government as set forth in our state and in our national constitution. I took an oath to uphold these constitutions[.]"
So her executive orders use words like "should" that guide but do not threaten enforcement by fines and prison.
Karen said, "Cross the line." We headed into Watertown, South Dakota. It didn't take us long to see that the citizens of Watertown were not locked down, but everything else was pretty much the same as it is in Minnesota. Many businesses were closed. Food was drive-up only. We went to Walmart and got some bread and toilet paper, neither of which we could find in our Minnesota stores; bought two cups of hot tea at a gas station; and went home. Mission accomplished. We felt the freedom we had missed.
When this panic and the associated epidemic are over, we are going to have to decide as a nation if the Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution are fair-weather documents that we set aside when we panic or if these are the founding documents we turn to when things get tough. The American left has been trying to kill the constitution for a long time. Leftists want a "living document," which means they can make it up as they go along. "What about the deaths?" they scream. "If we save just one life, it will be worth it."
You guys want to talk about life and death? Some of the men who crossed the Delaware River with General Washington to attack Trenton fought barefoot in the snow. Some died there. At Concord and Lexington, they were fighting for a constitution yet unborn. From Belleau Wood to the Battle of the Bulge, right up to Iraq and Afghanistan, we have filled cemeteries with people who took an oath to defend the Constitution.
At the moment, I think we are giving all that back pretty cheap.
Jerry Powlas has been a naval officer, engineer, and publisher and is the author of Red State Rebellion (available through Amazon). "Everybody should read this book and tell their friends." He lives in the burbs of Minneapolis with his wife Karen. When not there, they can be found sailing their boat somewhere on Lake Superior.