Recently you publicly denounced Idaho’s duly elected Legislature for advancing bills that would bring about the end of the State of Emergency. I feel compelled to share with you the sentiments of many Idahoan’s who have contacted their Legislators to ask that the State of Emergency be brought to a close. While it seems that you’re doubling down on the State of Emergency; it is my hope that by speaking out, others in our great state will be inspired to speak the truth as well.
Undoubtedly, one of the difficult tasks in governing is the lack of clear-cut solutions to complex problems. Idaho is certainly facing a complex and dangerous problem with the COVID-19 pandemic. My heart goes out to the many friends and people I know that have suffered incredible loss from the virus. There are many more across the State who have also suffered devastating loss. Life is so precious, and the tragic deaths affect us all in one form or another. This virus has wreaked havoc across our nation. Sadly, the ineffective and damaging overreach of state governments has wreaked a havoc of its own kind.
It seems to me that the proper role of government is to empower the people. This great American experiment was founded on an innovative idea that individuals should be empowered to
govern themselves. When a collection of individuals are encouraged to reach for the heights of their personal potential, then their journey of personal improvement creates greater value for the
community. A rising tide lifts all ships. The cycle of empowerment is an upward trajectory that creates a society wherein human potential continues to expand and society continues to reach new pinnacles. However, it is necessary to lay a foundation to build on. Our government was established for that purpose. We have a framework that outlines the protections, rights, and responsibilities for citizens.
In your recent address you made some bold claims that legislators are perpetuating myths for political points. Specifically, you mentioned the Emergency Declarations don’t infringe on our rights. However, closer examination of the facts leads to a much different conclusion. The Idaho State Constitution offers us clarity on what our rights are, and we can compare your actions to that document to ascertain whether or not rights have been infringed.
Patterned after the United States Constitution, Idaho’s Constitution outlines the limitations and duties of government as well as the rights of the people. Both the Idaho and the U.S. Constitution clearly delineate the rights of individuals to freely assemble. However, you have used the power of your office to infringe on that very right by mandating statewide quarantines. You have even prohibited the free exercise of religion by informing places of worship that they must first “develop plans for reopening and ability to meet business protocols” before those religious organizations can open their doors. It seems pretty straightforward that Idahoans rights were infringed upon and your statement was patently false.
Sadly, you deride the peoples duly elected representatives and seemingly elevate yourself as our great protector and provider. As a society we have to ask ourselves; what is the governments proper role? Is it to provide cradle to grave care for us and our families? Can all tragedies be prevented by more government action and power? Or is it possible that in the quest to prevent one tragedy, government officials unwittingly create another? Again, our founding charter provides an answer. The very first two sections of Article I are particularly insightful:
SECTION 1. INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF MAN. All men are by nature free and equal, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are enjoying and defending life and liberty; acquiring, possessing and protecting property; pursuing happiness and securing safety.
SECTION 2. POLITICAL POWER INHERENT IN THE PEOPLE. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform or abolish the same whenever they may deem it necessary; and no special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted that may not be altered, revoked, or repealed by the legislature.
Clearly, it is the right and responsibility of each individual to secure their personal safety. Lawmakers have been entrusted to enact laws to aid in securing public safety, such as establishing law
enforcement organizations, etc. And when lawmakers break that sacred trust and enact laws that do not promote the common good, then is it up to the people to seek redress. Idahoans have entrusted the legislature to grant emergency powers to the governor, and we also trust the legislature to take them away when that power is abused. Marginalizing our representatives who are voicing the will of regular Idahoans is unbecoming of your high office.
In your efforts to stop people from dying it seems that you have found it preferable to keep people from living. How many of our youth have missed out on a year of their personal development in
spite of COVID’s relatively muted effect on young people? How many members of our families have struggled with unprecedented isolation and loneliness because of the shutdown? How many of our local businesses have forever shut their doors because they were prohibited to conduct business?
Without a doubt, you may read this letter and assume it is ‘anti-science’ or promoting tin-foil hat conspiracy theories. Of course, the virus is a real threat to our safety and security. It is especially difficult to combat because of the masses of asymptomatic individuals who unknowingly spread the virus to others. Nonetheless, preventing people from making personal decisions with their own health is a dangerous precedent. And in your pursuit of preventing tragedy, you are creating other harmful tragedies.
Lobbyists and special interest groups should not have the power to determine which businesses and workers are essential or non-essential. We shouldn’t pretend science dictates that church is a
‘super-spreader’ but hordes of people in big-name stores are completely safe. We shouldn’t pretend that wearing a cloth mask when you walk into a restaurant and taking it off after you are seated prevents the virus from spreading. And we shouldn’t pretend that the virus is better contained during certain hours of the day and not others.
It is my deepest hope that our culture can come to embrace the principle of personal empowerment. People should be empowered to live out their lives according to the dictates of their
conscience, as long as they allow the same for others. If some people choose to risk their health by gathering, then they should be free to do so. And if others choose to protect their health by isolating then they should also enjoy the same freedom to choose. Let’s get back to the principles of personal accountability. It is time to prove you have faith in your fellow Idahoans.
Edward R. Humphreys
IDGOP Region IV Chairman
Tags: Brad Little, Ed Humphreys, Emergency Declaration, Idaho GOP