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Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Stimulus | Charles Stouff

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Stimulus | Charles Stouff

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By Charles Stouff

Mask-covered faces stand six feet apart as all eye contact and interaction is avoided. No one can be trusted. Everyone and everything is a possible contaminate. An invisible monster somehow lurks everywhere and nowhere at the exact same time.

There is no escape. Resistance is futile.

Feel like you just stumbled onto the set of the Twilight Zone? Like you could be starring in your own personal Truman Show? You are not alone. Seemingly transported into a parallel universe, this surreal and chaotic atmosphere can cause one to question their own sanity.

Abandoning reason and suspending sensibilities, panicked shoppers fill their disinfected carts to the brim with food and supplies. If you listen closely, the faint galloping hooves of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse can almost be heard drawing nigh.

Turn on any news channel, listen to any radio station, or browse your choice of social media platforms and you will find that there is no avoiding the barrage of information about the Coronavirus(COVID-19).

The infected and death tolls are updated by the minute on flashing graphic boards. Newscasters spew phrases of fear that ooze from television sets into living rooms across the fruited plains.

As the weeks pass, Americans whose open signs have been turned off by the state, are more than willing to roll the dice and reopen their businesses. Still others continue to hide indoors, bathing in hand sanitizer and holding their breath as they take the perilous journey to retrieve unpaid bills from a potentially compromised mailbox.

Emergency powers have given governors and local officials unprecedented control over the behavior of their citizens. Should the suspension of our rights by elected and unelected governing powers, even temporarily, cause one to wonder if those rights actually exist at all?

Shouldn’t our personal liberties afforded to us by the constitution take precedence over our fears and perceptions of security?

Helen Keller said it quite eloquently, “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.”

Much to the chagrin of those glued to cable news, none of us are getting out of here alive. The price that we all must pay for the privilege of experiencing life is experiencing death.

What exactly is liberty and why is it so important?

The dictionary defines “liberty” this way:

  1. the state of being free within a society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.

Here’s the thing, the liberties that you and I are given, although documented by man, were endowed to us by our Creator.

Men have not given them to us, so therefore men do not have the moral authority to take them away. Moreover, you do not have the authority to give them away because of fear or sell them because of greed. You are but a temporary footprint on the timeline of this nation.

Those liberties have been fought for and preserved for generations by blood, sweat and tears. They are not yours for trade. You are only borrowing them with the responsibility of passing them on to the next generation. Those farmers who put everything on the line to stand up to the mighty British Empire to build us a nation of our own deserve our vigilance. Those young men who stormed the beaches of Normandy, sacrificing their lives to preserve our liberties by defeating the Nazis deserve our diligence.

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

Since its inception, our nation has faced a constant barrage of tragedies, hardships and challenges. We pray, we persevere and we overcome. It’s just what we do. Fear has always played a part in any tragic threat.

Today’s challenge is no different. We can’t allow our fears to tempt us into exchanging our liberties for the hope of security.

If we hand the key of freedom, given by God, over to men, history has shown us that both freedom and security will be controlled by authoritarians, who above all, cherish power over people.

Charles Stouff is a regular contributor to Lancaster-blog and lives in Pequea, Martic Township

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