By Legislative Liaison Carolyn Martin
Concern of an Ongoing Emergency Declaration
As we enter the third month of essentially a shutdown of every aspect of our lives, a sense of panic and grief attempts to settle in my heart. I am not afraid of contracting a virus or of dying because I know God rules and reigns and He has counted my days before I was even born. What I am concerned about is the fear that is gripping our society. A fear that tries to shame those who don’t refrain from shaking hands or hugging their friends; who have done the research and know that wearing a mask does not ensure safety from the invisible enemy; and who believe and trust in God above men who claim to have expert knowledge.
During the Asian Flu (H2N2) pandemic of 1957, America lost 116,000 people. That flu virus mutated and in 1968, gave us the Honk Kong Flu (H3N2) pandemic where over 100,000 people in the United States died despite some gaining immunities from their interaction with the Asian Flu. [1,2] Today, the total population of the US tops almost 330 million people. In 1957, it was 171 million. The same populations that are vulnerable to the virus today, were back then as well. At no time during those pandemics did the government shutdown our economy. They guided people in safer hygiene practices and encouraged communities to deal with the local outbreaks. Period.
Over the past few months, we’ve heard a lot about flattening the curve so that hospitals could sufficiently care for the massive amounts of sick people with COVID-19. No hospital in Colorado was overrun with COVID-19 patients and the curve has been flattened. Yet, our movements are still restricted. Why? What exactly is the emergency?
Governor Polis extended the Declaration of Disaster Emergency on May 7th for another 30 days. The executive order explains Colorado statute defines disaster as “the occurrence of imminent threat of widespread or severe damage, injury, or loss of life or property resulting from a natural cause of human origin, including but not limited to … epidemic.” (CRS 24-33.5-703(3)) [emphasis mine]
What troubles my heart is the emergency that our governor and the various state and local health departments are creating in our economy. With each day that passes more and more small businesses will close for good, unemployment is increasing at an alarming rate, and we will see increased mental health issues[6,7] due to many factors of this lockdown. The oil and gas, agricultural, and tourism industries are some of the huge drivers in our state’s economy and are being hit hard.
The economic impact will be with us for many years. Where is the concern for the future widespread loss of life and property due to these executive orders? Winston Churchill said, “nothing would be more fatal than for the Government of States to get in the hands of experts. Expert knowledge is limited knowledge, and the unlimited ignorance of the plain man who knows where it hurts is a safer guide than any rigorous direction of a specialized character.” We need to heed his words and not let our fundamental unalienable rights be trampled on by experts with a myopic view of this pandemic. In past pandemics, experts did not drive the response and we survived with our liberties intact. I am not confident we will be so fortunate this time unless we diligently work to restore our foundations in liberty.
Additionally — Take Note:
The Colorado General Assembly will resume their legislative work on Tuesday, May 26th.
Trusting in the mighty power and grace of Jesus,
Carolyn Martin, CHEC Legislative Liaison