Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

From the days of the caveman, FEASTING, the practice of eating together to share life’s events, has been an ingrained part of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Cavemen ate together to celebrate a successful hunt, knowing they would not starve. Since that time all cultures have celebrated life’s meaningful events by feasting. Some feasts focused on seasonal events like harvests. Other feasts celebrated landmark life events like weddings, birthdays, homecomings and peace treaties. Feasting has long been a part of sharing the burden of hard times like meals after funerals, care packages to soldiers and shut-ins and feeding the homeless. Feasting has been and is an integral part of most religious celebrations through time. Now in 2020, feasting together is no longer a matter of individual choice.

In America, our Bill of Rights protects us from activist centralized governments elected because they promise to protect everyone. Worse yet, central governments always believe that individuals need protection from the burden of hard times like economic decline, poverty and viruses because centralized governments believe individuals will not choose well how to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Take heed. For good reason the American constitution does not grant central governments the absolute right to protect us. We are guaranteed the right to protect ourselves with the right to bear arms, to make choices with respect to religious beliefs and practices, to educate and care for each other on a local level without the intervention of centralized governments. We, the people, granted only LIMITED powers to the central government, reserving all other rights. We specifically protected our right to worship as individuals choose. Today the serious questions appears to be: Can we still trust individuals to choose for themselves? Right or wrong? In my view, trusting my neighbors’ choices sure beats trusting the heavy hand of centralized governments choosing for me. Given the historical performances of centralized governments making choices for individuals, I can’t quite understand the confidence of those who believe the choices of centralized governments can outperform individual choices.

Yet in 2020 over 70 million voters have apparently selected a central government that now believes it is empowered to protect us all by any means from any evil as long as we are afraid of the choices our fellow Americans will make. Mandating the closing of restaurants, bars, shops, sporting events, schools, public gatherings as well as limiting the number family members who can feast together and the number of free Americans who can gather to worship is nothing short of astounding and alarming.

I, for one, still prefer the capacity of individuals to choose well over centralized government choices. BUT — Choosing well requires that we have reliable information about the perils we face. In the past the American “free” press has been a vital part of making individual choices. Today, it is a challenge to identify reliable sources of information because the national media seem focused on drama to drive advertising. They appear to create stories rather than present meaning information in the Edward R. Murrow tradition.

Today’s internet reminds me of the role of the “pamphlet” media during the American revolution and the effort of centralized government or powerful media giants to control the internet seems akin to how pamphlet presses were destroyed and pamphleteers imprisoned. I yearn for sources of reliable information. But regardless of the paucity of reliable information, I continue to believe individual choice will always be the best source of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Sandra Hartley

Paola

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