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Give Me Freedom

The America I grew up loving is under attack. 

Okay, that sounds like an extremely right wing comment to make, and maybe it is. However, there is too much truth in that statement to be written off as a “right wing” talking point. Coronavirus has given American leaders the chance to either protect their citizens or to take away the freedom we are fundamentally guaranteed. 

In today’s America, you get arrested for wanting to make a living. In today’s America, you are judged for not wearing a mask in public. In today’s America, if you talk about wanting to go get a drink, sit in a restaurant, or get a haircut, you “don’t care about life.” In today’s America, if you think that Coronavirus lockdowns shouldn’t continue, you “don’t care about life”. 

Let me make one thing clear regarding the Coronavirus shutdowns:

I believe that the answer is somewhere in the middle. I personally believe that if you allow people who want to go to work, go back out and work, and you allow those who don’t to stay home, you will find the best of both worlds. 

America has always been the country where we try to get the best of both worlds. Want a gun? Okay cool, go buy one. Don’t want a gun? Perfect! Don’t buy one! Do you want to get a job? Awesome, go get one! Do you want to be unemployed? Okay, that’s too bad, but go ahead and stay home. Do you want to drive? Great, get your driver’s license. You don’t want to drive? Okay, here is a public transportation system and a private transportation system! 

We can do the same with the Coronavirus. 

We need to give people their freedom back or they need to take it back. 

Over the last 3 weeks, we have seen surges in a population that want to be released from draconian lockdowns. These lockdowns have had a massive toll on American’s bank accounts and mental health. In fact, the mental health of adults have taken such a toll that according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 45% of American’s have felt a hit on their mental health. 

“Social distancing” can make one feel extremely lonely. According to Medpage today, 

“Measures taken to reduce the spread of the virus, like “social distancing,” can exacerbate preexisting mental and physical health problems, they cautioned. Suicidal thoughts have been associated with social isolation and loneliness.”

You might be thinking to yourself, “Ruben, what does mental health have to do with freedom?.” Let me tell you this… American Freedom is defined as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

In fact, the “pursuit of happiness” can sum up American Freedom to a tee. The simple fact that mental health has taken a massive hit and suicide hotlines are seeing 8,000% increase in calls can tell you that our freedom is under attack. 

The Orange County register reports “In February, Levitan and her colleagues — 70 full-time staff members and 215 volunteers — took 22 calls on the suicide and disaster helplines related to coronavirus. In March, that number soared to 1,800 calls — more than an 8,000% increase.” .

The pursuit of happiness is the right to choose. 

“I demand my haircut… I demand to be able to golf… I want my tattoo..” these are a few of the minor chants being shouted by some of the so called “lockdown protestors”. The left has taken these chants to mean that “These protestors think a haircut is more important than life”. 

That’s not it at all. 

In fact, that can’t be more wrong. Protesters don’t want to have a haircut so that a random grandma will die. In fact, there is no real evidence that getting a haircut will lead to a spike in Coronavirus cases. If the salon or barbershop is going to take the steps necessary to lower the risk of spreadig Coronavirus, there shouldn’t be an issue with people choosing to get a haircut. 

The keyword in that statement is “choosing”. I don’t have a “right” to a haircut and you don’t have the “right” to tell me I can’t get a haircut. However, I do have the right to choose to get a haircut and you have the right to choose not to get a haircut. Freedom isn’t the haircut, it’s the right to choose to get a haircut or not to. 

The “risk” in getting a haircut is assumed by the person getting the haircut and the person giving the haircut. If Sandra wants to cut my hair and I want Sandra to cut my hair and Sandra makes sure that her salon chair is sanitized, then let me get my dang haircut. Regardless of my choice, it is no one’s right to strip Sandra of her right to make a living. Let the private market decide if Sandra should stay in business or not. 

What I am not saying…

Let me make something very clear: I am not saying that we should allow people to go out to bars and spit all over the place and not take the overall hygiene. I am not saying that people should instantly go out and just make out with strangers without taking into account hygiene safety. 

I believe that it is important to take into account basic social distancing and hand washing. In fact, I have said to friends that have attended the rallies and protests that refuse to wear masks, which is their right, and I tell them how I feel it is important for people to wear masks. 

They claim it showcases fear. I believe it shows American leadership that those who want freedom can also be responsible. 

What is fundamentally wrong about the lockdowns…

The power imbalance between America’s elected officials and the people who elected them is massive. We have Mayors getting haircuts when their residents cannot ; we have Congressman Harley Rouda supporting California Governor Gavin Newsom’s beach shutdown while laying out on a private beach; New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio was seen working out at the local YMCA shortly after shutting down gyms for his residents . Its wrong. 

American politicians are elected to represent the people, not gain power and rule with iron fists. 

The Conclusion…

It is far beyond time for Amercians to act. The beautiful thing about America is that even if you don’t agree with the idea of opening back up, you can still sit at home and be a recluse. 

I shouldn’t have to sit on the sidelines of the workforce because there are people too afraid to work. And I shouldn’t have to walk away from my job, the career that I have invested almost 10 years of my life into, to go and get “an essential job” (like working in a McDonald’s or stocking store shelves) as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has said. 

It is time for our leaders to give me freedom… or I am going to just take it. 

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