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Wednesday, June 7, 2023
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Rossi: COVID 19 vs. Freedom




By Randy Rossi - 

There have been several very good articles in the Illinois Review challenging the wisdom of shutting down our economy over COVID 19. My favorite one was “We Wrecked Our Economy for Nothing” by Mike Ford. While the economic harm this shutdown has brought is horrendous and has caused massive pain and suffering for the 30.3 million Americans who lost their jobs, what concerns me even more is the attack on our freedom it represents. Those of us that have “Been around the block a few times” find it is absolutely stunning to see so many Americans willing to give up their freedom and their jobs to avoid a 0.03% chance of catching and dying from COVID 19. Back in “The Good Old Days” we kept going to school or going to work even when we faced the serious threats from polio, “Scarlet Fever” with a 15% fatality rate (which I caught), Measles, Whooping Cough, Diphtheria, and even practiced hiding under our desks in school in case there was a nuclear attack from Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The possibility of death from these  threats was very real and scary yet we all followed the British advice from WWII of “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Freedom and living life to the fullest conquered fear back then. Instead of isolating the entire nation and destroying the jobs and incomes of millions of Americans during dangerous disease “pandemics” or during the Cuban Missile Crisis; we kept going to school and doing our business. Those that became sick self- isolated themselves at home and even put signs on their doors to warn their neighbors to stay away so they wouldn’t get infected. Everybody else lived their lives like normal and our economy stayed strong. We did not force all Americans to stay at home and isolate themselves.

Compare that to today’s reaction to COVID 19. Current estimates are that between 70,000 to 100,000 Americans will die from COVID 19. Given our population of 330 million, that puts the odds of catching and dying from COVID 19 at between 0.02% to 0.03%. To keep that in perspective, remember that between 30,000 to 60,000 Americans die every year from the annual flu and 70,000 died from it in 2017. As someone who has seen and survived much bigger threats, I was stunned to see a Gallop Poll last week that showed that 79% of Americans support staying home and closing down our economy which has destroyed the jobs and incomes of 30.3 million Americans to avoid the tiny risk of dying from COVID 19 until there is a vaccine or a dramatic reduction of COVID 19 cases. Only 21% of Americans wanted to get back to work right now per that Gallop poll. The pain and suffering of this shutdown is massive and will no doubt last for years for some Americans. Is all that pain and suffering of 30.3 million Americans worth avoiding a 0.03% chance of dying from COVID 19? As someone who has lived through much greater risks than COVID 19, I sure don’t think so!

But there is a bigger issue that would really have bothered our ancestors going back just to “The Greatest Generation” not to mention our Founding Fathers. Does the state have the right to take away our freedom and force us to hide in our basements and ruin our jobs, incomes, and businesses? The First Amendment protects our right to assemble for social, economic, political, and religious purposes. The government, especially Illinois just took those rights away from us! People who are afraid of catching COVID 19 have every right to stay at home and isolate themselves if they want to. And just like in the past, those that have COVID 19 should isolate themselves to protect their neighbors. But forcing all Americans to isolate themselves at home and ruin their incomes is absolutely an attack on their freedom and our 1st. Amendment. Especially now that we know that the vast majority of people who catch COVID 19 will not only survive, 98% of them who catch it will either have zero symptoms or normal cold symptoms. Is that worth putting 30.3 million Americans out of work and destroying our economy?

I can assure you that our ancestors that risked their lives and  fought for freedom in the American Revolution, War of 1812, The Civil War, WWI and WWII, and all the way up to the war in Afghanistan are ashamed and embarrassed that so many Americans are perfectly willing to allow the government to take away their freedom to protect them from a 0.03% chance of dying from a version  of the flu. Freedom should beat COVID 19 every day! But freedom is not free. It must be defended by the people. We must make sure that our government understands that the people place freedom above security. As Benjamin Franklin warned us, “Those that are willing to trade their freedom for security deserve neither”. Folks, we are all going to eventually die. The question is, how do you want to live? My Founding Father ancestor Robert Morris said it best, “ I would rather die like a lion than live like a lamb”. My generation was taught to live life to the fullest, not hide in our basements. I do not want to sacrifice my freedom because of a 0.03% chance I might die from COVID 19!!


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