Unlike the slew of authors and self-styled survivalists writing, giving advice, and attempting to stir fear and panic in people, I make no claim to being an expert about disasters manmade or natural. I am simply someone who has seen a lot, been through a lot, read a lot and thought a lot about our possible futures. I’ve tried to plan as best I could and think I’ve done a fair job.
For many years my children teased me and even derided me a bit for stocking up on enough basics to get my family through a short-term crisis. I tried to patiently explain that it was part of my job as a husband and a father. My job is, and always has been, to protect my family in every way as best I can. Interestingly, now most are checking their own stocks for how long they can last without having to try to find things at the store. We still want and are able to get fresh foods, perishables, but we can live without them for a time.
I read this morning about Rhode Island hunting down New Yorkers (not in a literal sense.) They want them to self-quarantine for fourteen days if they are coming into their state. The governor of Rhode Island is going to activate the National Guard to go door-to-door to see if any New Yorkers are in a particular household. I’m pretty sure she can expect to face lawsuits for violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution and she will lose. She might even face jail time regardless of what her lawyers are telling her right now. While her motives might be pure, her actions are still questionable. An emergency request to the Supreme Court could stop her in her tracks and, possibly, have her arrested for her actions. Her emergency powers do not suspend the Constitution. No governor can legally do that. If she is declaring martial law, she will need to show cause. She might even face a worse situation if the President of The United States decides to federalize her state’s National Guard to stop her. He can do that. It’s been done before. What concerns me, even more, is what happens if people in those homes resist?
If the governor of Georgia was to decide that all people over sixty must be one hundred percent confined to their homes (no taking walks, no going into your own backyard, etc.) and enforce it with the National Guard, I’m pretty sure there’d be an uprising. While I know he’d be doing it for ‘our own good,’ I would still join that uprising. He doesn’t have the right to suspend the Constitution, even for my own good. If I am not sick and state health officials have not quarantined me for being sick, there is no just cause for the confinement. Can he call for social distancing and a limit on the size of gatherings? Barely. He isn’t denying people the right of assembly, just limiting the size of that assembly. Can he close restaurants and other businesses? This should really be reserved for local government since in many cases they operate under their permission, but many states also have a state requirement for operation, so yes. The government, under emergency powers, is skating a very thin line Constitutionally. They know it and most are being pretty careful in their actions. In my opinion, the governor of Rhode Island is acting a little rashly and may live to regret her actions, regardless of how noble they are.
The phrase, ‘we are all in this together’ is truer than most people know. The infection rate from this virus is crazy-high. The people who defy the common sense request for social distancing, etc. are putting others at risk. Worse are the ones who purposely do things that are meant to spread or give the appearance of spreading this disease. So, can a person who purposely tries to spread the virus be arrested and tried? The answer is an unequivocal yes. Their actions may constitute anything from reckless endangerment to terrorism. The key is in the word purposely.
I know that there are a lot of people out there that will criticize President Trump no matter what he does. If the man could magically make every person in the country healthy, someone would complain that he should have done it for all countries. I wonder if anyone realizes what his administration has done? How many understand that in less than a month he essentially put this country on a war-footing and started getting much-needed supplies, no matter how few or how many, into the hands of those people needing them? Do you know how long it took to start gearing up for WWII after we were attacked at Peral Harbor? And to be perfectly honest, if you look at history, we had started even before that attack. Months, it took months!
He stopped flights from China and was called a racist. He started forming partnerships with industry to produce more supplies and was called weak for not immediately imposing the Defense Production Act (if I were him, I’d say have said I couldn’t it do that without declaring this a war which has to be approved by Congress.) He brought in real experts to help figure out the proper way to fight this and was chided for not bringing in politicians. A few governors criticized him for not getting them the equipment they want or need when it is their job to have ordered it and had it ready, not the federal government’s. The states cry, ‘save us, save us’ but then they will scream, ‘don’t you dare interfere with the way we do things’ right after that. Let me explain something, the federal government doesn’t have to respond by getting medical equipment to the states or building them hospitals. Read the Constitution. The job of the feds is to promote the general welfare and provide for the national defense. Promoting the general welfare doesn’t mean holding your hand and taking your temperature. So, either look at this as war and quit bellyaching or don’t and quit demanding things from the federal government at all.
The media keeps hammering at the man, “do you take responsibility?” Let me clarify something for those morons. This President has given a personal briefing to the press every single day including the weekends since this crisis. For me, actions speak louder than words. No other President that I can remember in any crisis, has given a daily briefing to the press to help the American people get through, not.a.single.one.ever. The cynics say he is just trying to score political points. If that were true, wouldn’t it be easier just to make televised statements from the Oval Office without all the reporters? I don’t think the man has done a perfect job. I do think he’s done better than any of his critics could have ever possibly done.
This is not the end of our world or our country. We will survive and we will recover. But that will only happen if we have people who love and care about this nation. We will falter and vanish as a people if we let those who secretly and not-so-secretly hate who we are and what we stand for win. I am talking about the ones who say we should be taking care of the whole world and not just our own in this time our country’s need. I mean the ones who want to see the system crash so they can replace it with one they think is more ‘equitable,’ regardless of who has to suffer or even die so that can happen. The ones who want to play games with legislation while people in need reel and stagger from the economic blow this has caused.
This isn’t over unfortunately. There will be more hospitalizations, more deaths, and more economic fallout. I am praying for our country.
Please stand by.