Monday, May 11, 2020


America is in a dangerous place. COVID-19 fear driven by our leaders has overtaken our great country. From a historical perspective, Americans have always been tough-minded, rugged individualists who have had the “Give me this mountain” mentality of Caleb in the Bible. When faced with taxation by a totalitarianism-minded King George, Americans had a Boston tea party and said no!

When facing Adolf Hitler and his totalitarian mindset, which created fear among the people, America and the Allies said no. Hundreds of thousands were killed in the war, but the consequences of not standing up would have resulted in far more casualties. A fundamental principle is that freedom saves lives. 

Ronald Reagan in a speech said this, “You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well, I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only … the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.” 

COVID-19 must not cause us to choose government-mandated security over our freedom to make wise decisions. I do not say this lightly as I have cancer and am high risk, but let me choose how to live! I will always look out for others first — it is the way I live.

Reagan’s words ring true today. Are we trading our freedom for supposed government oversight of our lives? If so, we are edging closer to totalitarianism. The president is correct — we must open this country and restore the freedoms of the American people.

Here are some examples of overreach.  

• Shelly Luther, owner of a hair salon, went to prison for wanting to work and feed her family. Judge Moye’s totalitarian approach is an abhorrent invasion on America’s freedom.  

• Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to Nick Sibilla of Forbes, has banned selling of seeds and is closing greenhouses. He suggested, “the shutdown follows an executive order from last month that’s been widely interpreted by many in the industry as banning greenhouses, independent garden centers, and plant nurseries from selling to the public, as part of a larger crackdown on activities deemed ‘not necessary to sustain or protect life.’” (Curiously, the state’s list of “not necessary” items doesn’t include lottery tickets and liquor, which stores can continue to sell.)  

America, we are freedom believers and it is time to remove any hint of totalitarian tendencies by voting out those who give these orders. Please notice that some governors are quickly focused on giving us freedom, as intelligent beings, to make our own decisions. Other governors as a generality are restricting freedom. If you want freedom you should carefully analyze this liberty difference this fall. 

Abraham Lincoln reminds us that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

• Mark Smith is president of Columbia International University.

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