For the first time in over a year, which seems like years, I walked into several places around the Treasure Valley and felt naked. Idaho is in Stage 4, and most businesses have dropped the mandatory mask requirements to enter their establishments. We enter the upcoming Summer season with optimism about returning events replacing last year's pessimism over lost concerts, sporting events, and anything that draws a crowd.
Will Idahoans one day look back fondly at the year of nothing? No events, no activities, and no fun? Or when we're shamed into mandatory mask-wearing? We've lost not only a year but a considerable amount of freedoms since we were told to stay home or else. Let's take a look at a few with the hope of bringing them back permanently.
Remember, most of our rights were lost without a vote of the people; executives or unele
cted government health agencies implemented them. The first right was the freedom to assemble peacefully. Officials told us that the public could not gather because of Covid. Has there ever been such a restrictive health mandate in the last one hundred years?
Our following lost freedom would be the freedom to work for a living independent of a government stipend. Americans were told not to work, and we all stayed home. If you could not afford to stay home, the government provided you several checks called a stimulus. The aftereffect is that now workers make more money staying at home rather than working a job. The situation is so bad red state governors have declined the additional federal money because too many businesses cannot find workers to work.
How about freedom of expression? The Boise mayor decided to issue citations, and some folks were arrested for not wearing a mask. Forget about the continually growing problem of the homeless people defecating on sidewalks; the Boise mayor demanded compliance. Non-masked expression was forbidden in the city of trees under the McLean Directives. Boise Businesses were threatened with a loss of their licenses if they did not enforce the mask mandates.
Did anyone or a group challenge these orders in a court of law? The answer would be no because our courts were closed. I cannot recall a more significant power grab in our country's history than what we've all experienced last year.
Our final lost freedom would be the freedom of choice. Usually, the word choice is a term used in the abortion debate. You're either Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. The choice advocates will say that an individual has the right to say what does or what doesn't go into their bodies. If that is true, shouldn't Idahoans have the right to determine whether they take the poke of Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson and Johnson without the fear of losing their livelihoods?
Employers can now make you take the shot as a condition of employment. Some states, not Idaho, have passed legislation protecting workers against an oppressive vaccine passport mandate. Perhaps the next move is to restrict your ability to travel on planes, trains, and automobiles if you don't get the shot.
Our daddy, President Biden, flip-flopped last week telling everyone that you're allowed to ditch the mask if you were a shot taker. It's time for Idahoans and Americans to remind the government that our rights are universal and cannot be taken away.