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Lawbreaking has been rampant during this pandemic, and not just among rioters and looters. The biggest scofflaw has been government. The clearest thing learned from COVID-19 is how dangerous it can be for a people 500 years removed from the Dark Ages to ignore common sense.

Richard Holt

Richard Holt

A great example is Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. Without legal authority, he canceled an election. He also illegally closed businesses all over the state. Emergency orders did not give him the power to close private businesses and churches, yet he compelled them to close. And then he imposed a statewide curfew. All of it was illegal and unconstitutional.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo effectively sentenced senior citizens to their deaths when he required COVID-19 patients be sent back to nursing homes.

A man in California was arrested while paddleboarding alone. Really? In America? Why would any police officer do that, much less a team of them using two boats? Common sense was completely abandoned.

Arguably, the U.S. Constitution has been the greatest casualty of COVID-19. Lockdowns were completely ineffective, and many were ruled illegal in federal courts. There’s still no consensus on whether masks are effective. If they are, one really needs a mask that actually blocks virus cells on the microscopic level instead of the completely useless pieces of cloth most people use.

A local government approach makes sense from a conservative perspective. Why should the federal government apply a one-size-fits-all solution to 50 states with 50 different populations and 50 different circumstances? Still, the Trump administration could have made clearer recommendations and created a message that leaders could get behind.

Media-driven fear led to government overreaction. In its anti-Trump witch hunt, the media managed to popularize speculations that weren’t true. For example, it said masks were effective when there was no evidence. Then it said the virus could survive on surfaces for almost a month; now that risk is considered “low.” Media reports gave the impression that we were all going to die — but survival rates for the non-elderly are over 99%!

In the midst of all of this conflicting advice, only a handful of government officials stood up to point out the inconsistencies and to push forward with common sense. One was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He met with doctors and scientists, and made his own decisions to reopen based in science and logic. The recommendations of these doctors were similar to what had initially come from the Trump administration, but the administration caved to media pressure and joined the unscientific media fearmongering.

If there was ever a president to say “screw you, I know what I’m doing, be careful and live life as normal,” it was Donald Trump. But even he buckled.

Thankfully Gov. DeSantis did something that so many Americans seem to have forgotten: He used common sense. He listened to scientists — not the media and not the new president — in making a simple decision to end likely illegal mandates in Florida.

The first casualty of COVID-19 was the Constitution. Those who have given up their liberty for security have risked more than getting sick.


Project 21 member Richard Holt is a political consultant based in Ohio. He wrote this for Inside Sources.

New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.

Author: The National Center