Ordinary Men and Women
An essay by James A Graves, Jr.
Like many other Americans during this China Virus lockdown, Iíve been categorized as non-essential and ordered to stay at home and be an obedient and responsible citizen. But it occurred to me early on in this disaster/fiasco that hiding from a world-wide contagious virus is problematic at best and, for all practical purposes, impossible.
Besides, I needed to go to the grocery store. Iíve become very fond of eating. I also needed to go to the hardware store. If I have to be stuck at home, then I have stuff to do. I have a to-do list. I canít call it a honey-do list. That sounds weird. Iíve never called myself Ďhoneyí.
Plus, I had to go the pharmacy because old farts take meds. Everyone knows that.
Then there was the auto parts store. Because I drive a truck named The Money Pit. Seriously. I even found a peel-n-stick sign that says, ďI drive a money pitĒ and stuck it on my back window. I figured, since my truck decided to try to drain my bank account, Iíd tattle. It just didnít seem right to let that happen in secret.
So, Iíve shopped at all of those places. Multiple times. And I didnít wear a mask. Yes, itís true. I know, Iím trying to kill grandma and I should be dragged out in the street and shot, but Iím not sick. I donít have symptoms of the China Virus or any other symptoms for that matter except seasonal allergies. If I sneezed while wearing a mask Iíd probably blow it off my face anyway (Iím a very emotional sneezer) or Iíd certainly have to remove it to blow my nose, wash my face and clean up the mess. Then throw the soiled mask away and get another. Mask wearing is complicated.
I donít believe a mask will protect me from getting infected by a glob of virus floating around in the air Iím walking through, or sitting on some surface waiting to attack me when I touch it. I cannot sanitize my hands every time I touch something. Iíd end up drowning in hand sanitizer. Yes, I wash my hands.
I was guilted into washing my hands by a Beatles copy band on the radio singing ďYou gotta wash your handsĒ to the tune of I Wanna Hold Your Hand. My body is in 2020, but Iím still in the 60ís.
And I miss the 60ís. People were different then. We worried about the Russians firing nuclear missiles at us, and practiced for the event by playing ďduck and coverĒ under our desks at school. But we didnít wear masks and hide at home during the 1968/69 H2N2 flu pandemic that, according to the CDC, killed 1 million worldwide and 100,000 in the US. In 1969 I graduated high school and went to college. There was a Rock concert at Woodstock NY. The Mets won the World Series. And life went on.
So much has changed since then. I wish I could say it was for the better. Computers and smart phones have made life easier. Supposedly. We live in an information age, they say. Back in 1969, when Walter Cronkite ended the CBS Nightly News with, ďAnd thatís the way it is.Ē we could be reasonably certain that it was, because he had told us the truth. Today we canít believe much of anything told to us on the nightly alphabet network news. We have instantaneous access to more information than one could have collected in a year in 1969. Yet, so few people take advantage of this wealth of data. Itís easier to believe the propaganda than to ask questions and do the research to find the truth.
And so weíre manipulated by the Liberal Left media, amoral pundits, bureaucrats and politicians, and we allow them to control us with fear. Itís okay to go to Walmart, but you canít get a haircut. Itís okay to go to the liquor store, but you canít go to church. Itís okay to go to the hardware store, but you canít go to work. Itís okay to get an abortion, but you canít get your teeth cleaned. We hide at home, acting like frightened sheep, and allow governors, mayors and police to ignore the law of the land and arbitrarily take away our Constitutional rights.
But itís not the first time that has happened. America did the same thing after the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attacks. We gave up our rights permanently in exchange for temporary safety, and the government happily obliged in the form of The Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security.† As Benjamin Franklin said, ďThose who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.Ē
President Barak Obama stated that his goal as president was to ďfundamentally change AmericaĒ, and in eight short years great strides were made toward that goal. In a speech to a large, multinational audience, he said, ďÖAnd for the international order that we have worked for generations to build. Ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs. Order and progress can only continue when they surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.Ē
It was a slap in the face to liberty and freedom-loving Americans. Our Constitutional Republic, upon which the United States of America was founded, is based on the premise that ordinary men and women will choose other ordinary men and women from among their fellow citizens as political representatives, and then elect and appoint these individuals to serve them as senators and representatives in the US congress.
A member of congress is supposed to be an ordinary person, not royalty nor a privileged member of the upper class, but simply a citizen that chooses to be that exceptional person with a burning desire to go the US Capitol, swear to protect and defend the US Constitution, and fight for the rights of the citizens of the state and district from which they were elected. They are paid by, and obligated to serve, the ordinary men and women who elected them to office.
To suggest that these ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs is outrageously absurd. These same ordinary men and women, fought, died and won the Revolutionary War that created the United States of America.† They fought and died in the American Civil War, the most horrific conflict the US has ever known. They fought, died and won two world wars, saving the world from the horrors of Fascism and Imperialism. They survived the Spanish Flu pandemic and the Great Depression. They fought and died in the Korean War and the Vietnam War, in Grenada, Iraq and Afghanistan, and many other conflicts and skirmishes as well.
President Ronald Reagan said it best, ďNo arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is as formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.Ē
However, the spirit of independence and freedom so valiantly shown by ordinary men and women throughout Americaís history is rapidly fading. If we do not stop allowing fear to rule us, and expecting our government to protect and control every aspect of our lives, we will lose the gift of independence and freedom that we have been provided as citizens of the United States. We must always stand and fight for our Constitutional rights and the premise of limited government.
The great statesman and freedom fighter, Patrick Henry, is reported to have said, "The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government." And whether he said it or not is a moot point, because the meaning rings true for all time regardless of who said it.
Allowing government officials to seize power they are not granted by the Constitution for the sake of providing safety and security is a grave mistake, because just like taxes, once power is given to the government, it is highly unlikely it will ever be returned to the people.
As Thomas Jefferson said, ďA government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.Ē
©2020 James A Graves, Jr.