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Vaccine passports: When fear threatens freedom

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 4/8/2021 Rep. Nancy Mace
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“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction,” former President Ronald Reagan said in his famous freedom speech. “It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for [our children] to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States, where men were free.”

Reagan was talking about the struggle against communism at the time, but his struggles and ours are longer and broader than that.

The time when we should be most on guard against this loss of freedom is during a crisis. We have lost freedoms to government power in times of war, for example. From internment camps to the Sedition Act, from rations to the Patriot Act, those who desire more power over your lives in government will never let a crisis go to waste.

So now, we enter our second year into the pandemic. Let me start by being clear: COVID-19 is real. I had it. My family had it. In fact, I am a long-haul sufferer. Many have suffered, and many have lost.

But looking back, it is clear we allowed a slippery slope of government abridgment of our rights that will have long-lasting implications as well — and we need to stem the tide of slowly giving our freedoms away. The latest attempt by government comes in the form of vaccine “passports” in which you will have to prove your status in order to travel or even do everyday activities in public.

I encourage everyone to get vaccinated. I believe we are on pace to offer it to all who want or need it across the country by this spring. For those of us who had COVID-19, or were vaccinated, or who had both, we should be able to go about our lives in peace and freedom — and without a government scheme to restrict or divide us further.

Vaccine passports are, unfortunately, exactly what government would do at the end of a crisis — find a way to keep doing harm and keep taking away our freedom to do business, go to school, or move around. Free men and women should stand up and say no.

Lockdowns that began in March 2020 are often still being enforced today, despite the evidence they did not work to stop the spread of the virus. Mandates didn’t either. What did they do? Immense harm to our economy, jobs, businesses, children, and families.

By now, we have all seen the toll — tens of millions of lost jobs. Millions of small businesses gone, even the work of a lifetime or several generations. Many won’t be coming back. Our children have suffered through isolation, ineffective learning, and psychological harm that we will be dealing with for years to come. Children don’t learn well this way, especially the younger ones. Local government officials and teachers unions forced unscientific rules on our families.

We know these problems, but do we know the source? Government. Petty tyrants seizing power. Local officials who might mean well governing by fear but who govern without consequence.

Let me ask you a question: Do you think one single government employee lost their jobs during this pandemic? The answer is no. They shut down, collected their paychecks, and went about their business. Now, they want to make sure they keep their thumb on you. If you resist, you will be branded as someone who doesn’t care enough. That’s what they do.

But I want to stand up and say clearly: I care too much to let them keep doing this to our society, our economy, and our freedom. You have the right to work, live, and go about your day-to-day life without the other’s permission and certainly without the government monitoring it for you. Today, we should draw a line in the sand. We cannot keep doing this. The government cannot keep the freedoms it took away from us over the course of the past year.

Civil libertarians on the Left and Right must unite with those who have been fighting government lockdown power and defeat any long-term power grab such as vaccine passports. Let us not be the generation who did nothing and watched our freedom slip away.

Nancy Mace represents South Carolina's 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Tags: Opinion, Op-Eds, Coronavirus, Freedom, Vaccination, Ronald Reagan, Government Overreach

Original Author: Rep. Nancy Mace

Original Location: Vaccine passports: When fear threatens freedom

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