By Brice Mansa
You’ve probably been told by your uncle or some overzealous patriot at a bar that our Constitution protects our immutable rights to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Many people fail to understand that that phrase was from the Declaration of Independence, and just like the declaration, it isn’t canon or legally binding to our current system.
In reality, our Constitution protects immutable characteristics like sex and race, but just about everything else is open to interpretation. Our Supreme court has already decided on the matter of face masks – let the States deal with it.
“Even under the narrowest concept of the police power as limited by substantive due process, it was generally conceded that states could exercise power to protect public health, safety, and morals.”Lil, Mugler v. State of Kansas
Courts are only concerned with the extent of laws regarding public safety, more precisely, if they violate a person’s right to due process. The State is entirely within it’s right to force you to wear a mask, set quarantines, and business restrictions.
I’m not a constitutional historian or attorney, and neither is the average American, so we fail to recognise that the Constitution will not defend your ‘right’ to sneeze on someone at Costco or refuse to wear a mask.
Judges on the right and left of the political spectrum make decisions that are based on interpretation. Generally, that’s fine, but there’s a catch – SCOTUS members have historically felt uneasy about making sweeping decisions on some issues that may vary by State. Additionally, conservative cabinet members prefer to let States address many issues.
This allows many conservative States to let their libertarian itch influence them to make decisions that hurt public health. We’re facing an unprecedented crisis for the 21st century. The world stayed home and watched Tiger King until it blew over, but the US decided to give Covid a sequel.
“No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”Ratified 14th Amendment July 9, 1868
We’ve adopted a virally toxic concept of freedom.
You can blame your politicians if you want, but it’s their constituents that support their decisions. We have people and representatives stuck in “freedom mode,” even if it kills thy neighbor.
The burden of action is placed in the hands of States by the Constitution. On the left side, States like New York that are democratic and don’t politicize the illness have recovered faster.
“We’ve adopted a virally toxic concept of freedom.”
On the right side, the president and other representatives have parroted false information about the dangers of Covid, it’s become the politicalised flu. Because of that, most southern States are continuously spreading the virus, almost out of protest.
The Boston Tea Party was fueled by conspiracy and often regarded as a protest. A decree that not a tyrant or person should be able to tax or control the country’s people. We won the war, and Americans assumed our way of life is God-given and exceptionally better than Europe. A few centuries later, that American exceptionalism still has deep roots. We feel entitled to make decisions that will directly hurt others because it’s our “Constitutional right.”
Our Constitution isn’t as inflexible as we may think. We can enforce State requirements, but the erroneous idea of the Constitution is imprinted on our brains. The US’s religious belief in complete autonomy has earned us another gold medal, I’d take a victory lap, but unfortunately, Corona really hits the lungs.
When someone pretends to be a ‘protected class’ to protest wearing a mask a Wal-Mart, they’re jeopardising the employment and health of everyone in the building and prolonging the diminishing of the US Economy.
‘Give me liberty or give me death’ was catchy 245 years ago, but now it’s basically suicide by decree.
The colonies are disunited again, let’s join together and make sweeping decisions to weld the rift so I can catch some fresh air.
Brice Mansa is a freelance writer and US Army Veteran.