Dear Americans, Your Inability to Self-Govern Will Kill Us All

Patrick Tompkins
Jun 7, 2020 · 6 min read
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Image Courtesy: Business Insider

The coronavirus pandemic, and subsequent protests, have proven one absolute truth about Americans: they cannot control themselves.

Most Americans have become so inconsiderate of anyone outside their own lives that any interruption to the norm results in ferocious backlash. Central Park Karen, for example. How dare someone infringe upon their absolute freedom guaranteed to them by the Constitution.

That is a misconception; there is no absolute freedom in the United States. Even the government is partitioned into three equal branches to ensure each one is regulated appropriately. This belief of complete freedom is the great American contradiction; a divergence between what America is and what Americans think it is.

This is the simplistic battle cry of those who feel like the government is oppressing them. Any restriction, any regulation, any rule that results in someone not being able to acquire something or do something is immediately labeled fascist, communist, or otherwise un-American. Consequences be damned.

The American way of life does not contain absolute liberty, though. We have concrete constitutional statutes in place that tell us all the restrictions on our lives and our actions. The First Amendment alone has several rules in place that limit freedom of speech and freedom of expression.

So when Donald Trump rage tweets about his freedom of speech being infringed upon, there is a good chance the President does not know what he is talking about. When that speech is being expressed with the use of a private company’s product like Twitter, that expression is even less free.

Absolute, unrestricted freedom is anarchy. Even our Founding Fathers saw the risk of too much power, too much freedom. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights lay the foundation of a country that left no doubt that the citizens needed to be regulated and managed.

The worst that could happen to our great nation is a country full of people left to their own devices, and eventually our collective doom.

When the COVID-19 virus reached American shores in January, there was a collective shrug by Americans. President Trump echoed that false confidence with endless tweets about how the virus was under control, and it was just a Democratic hoax that was only meant to hurt his re-election campaign.

Experts stepped in and expressed an almost universal judgment that this virus was severe, and we needed to act quickly. Governors and Mayors did just that, shutting down cities, issuing state of emergency declarations, and doing their best to flatten the curve to reduce the load on the health care systems.

Americans responded with outrage and ridicule. “It is just like the flu” and “you destroyed the economy” echoed throughout social media. With more than 100,000 Americans now deceased because of the coronavirus, you would think these people would change their position, yes?

Negative. Americans grew more emboldened, to the point of staging massive protests at state capitols around the country. Many without masks, none of them social distancing, and no comprehension that all those measures were put in place to protect them, not to stop them from getting a hair cut.

Thousands of people around the country were potentially exposed to the virus, endangering everyone they would subsequently come in contact with, because the government mandated they be inconvenienced for a few months.

Yes, not working and experiencing financial hardship is unfortunate. We are all in the same boat. But you can earn back lost wages. You cannot, however, bring Grandma Joan back because you irresponsibly infected her with the virus and ended up killing your loved one.

The irony of seeing the same people who argue against women’s right to choose walking around with a sign that read “My Body, My Choice” was quite entertaining.

Others went as far as comparing their temporary inconveniences to the atrocities of slavery. If being inconvenienced for a few months causes you to compare your experience to slavery, there is a good chance you have never experienced any type of oppression in your life.

If you want to take a peek into the future a bit, you do not have to look much further than the small spikes we are seeing in coronavirus cases in states that opened early and held holiday gatherings.

Entire regions refused to be bothered by the pandemic, either leaving their beaches open, opening quickly, or allowing large gatherings with little or no protective equipment. The results thus far show a distinct image of what a lack of self-governance looks like in the U.S: more new coronavirus cases.

Memorial Day gatherings across the country are now bearing viral fruit two weeks later. Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been slowly increasing across the country, partially due to the holiday weekend, and people’s constant need to gather during a pandemic.

Alabama, South Dakota, and Texas all opened early and are now seeing a rise in confirmed cases. Some states like Georgia have yet to see an increase despite opening early. However, this gamble being taken by local and state leaders will likely backfire in the long run.

Scientists have warned that opening too early will ensure a second wave of infections hits the United States. From what we have seen thus far, Americans cannot do anything incrementally. We are either all in or all out; precaution is for commies. Packed beaches and bars are the new Petri dishes.

I am a massive supporter of the reasons these protestors are marching. Police reform is vitally important, and continued activism is required to ensure real change occurs. You will not, however, see me out on the street in a large crowd of protestors.

Each individual has made their choice. They have chosen public unrest over coronavirus concerns. That is fine, as long as they fully comprehend the potential consequences and understand the possible spread they will be contributing to over the next few weeks.

The coronavirus is not on vacation. There is no half-time during a pandemic. Just because mainstream media has stopped talking about the virus to cover the protests does not mean it has gone away.

Thousands upon thousands of protestors gathered around the world, most with minimal personal protective equipment (a cloth face mask and absolutely no physical distancing). Even the police themselves are hit and miss on proper protective equipment, displaying departmental shortcomings across the country.

It is almost inevitable at this point that we will see a spike in cases around the country in the next two to three weeks because of these protests. It could even set off the start of the second wave of infections, despite the unfounded belief that the summer heat will help slow the virus.

Over the last four months, Americans have shown us time and time again that they lack the self-control to manage themselves during this pandemic. Critics try to blame the size of the population and extensive testing for the sheer number of confirmed cases and deaths in the United States.

Unfortunately, that simply is not true. The U.S. is outside the Top 30 when it comes to the number of tests administered per 1 million population; the country also finds itself in the Top 15 overall for the number of confirmed cases and the number of deaths per 1 million.

America is not leading the world in coronavirus cases and deaths because the population is enormous and the testing is far-reaching. America is, unfortunately, leading the world during this pandemic because its citizens lack the fundamental ability to govern themselves when the government desperately needs them to.

Using the coronavirus response as a sample case, I have grave concerns about how Americans would handle a more cataclysmic crisis.

If anyone wonders why Governors and Mayors took perceptually drastic steps to safeguard their constituents, it was not to protect us from the virus; it was to protect us from each other.

The Purple Giraffe

Dynamic insight about politics, policy, leadership, culture, social issues, and the economy.

Patrick Tompkins

Written by

Opinions about politics, leadership, government, kaizen, among other things. Editor of The Purple Giraffe & Leadership You. https://twitter.com/the_second_pat

The Purple Giraffe

The Purple Giraffe reports on what is happening today; with a dynamic insight into politics, policy, leadership, culture, social issues, and the economy.

Patrick Tompkins

Written by

Opinions about politics, leadership, government, kaizen, among other things. Editor of The Purple Giraffe & Leadership You. https://twitter.com/the_second_pat

The Purple Giraffe

The Purple Giraffe reports on what is happening today; with a dynamic insight into politics, policy, leadership, culture, social issues, and the economy.

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