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At least 2 hospitals systems in Iowa and numerous businesses are now mandating the COVID vaccine shot, with notable religious, health and pregnancy exemptions. I have been contacted by numerous citizens, from both inside and outside the district, concerned about the safety of the vaccine and the implications of a free people being coerced or mandated to take this shot against their will. The concern is real, and we must have a serious debate on how to address the competing priorities of public health and the constitutional right of a free people to lead their lives and decide what is ingested into their bodies.

During the 2021 legislative session, I floor-managed into law legislation intended to restrict local and state government’s ability to mandate the COVID vaccine. We did not address the issue of businesses being able to mandate the vaccine, precisely because this is a completely different discussion. Ultimately, the free market could fix this, but short term that does not appear to be the case.

Ronald Reagan reminded us that the Constitution exists to restrict government, not people. If we pass restrictions on what private business owners can do, such as preventing the mandating of the COVID shot, we have now restricted not government, but those private citizens who own the businesses. I generally oppose government mandates on businesses; however, it must be acknowledged that plenty of mandates on businesses do exist, mostly related to civil rights issues. I have carefully considered these questions and concluded that the mandating of an experimental shot is most certainly a civil rights issue, and it is appropriate to restrict both government and business from having this power over people’s lives.

The precedents that have been set during the COVID pandemic, both by government and business, are deeply disturbing. Government has shut down churches, restricted commerce, destroyed businesses, tread on our most fundamental rights, and assaulted the work ethic by continuing to pay people not to work, even as businesses struggle to find workers as they attempt to fully reopen. Big tech and mainstream media have silenced dissent in the COVID debate, willingly choosing to become censors for those in control that they agree with. This profoundly dangerous tactic smacks of communist and dictatorial control that is very much at home in China, Cuba, Russia, and the former Soviet Union.

Refusing to accept individual choice and at times in defiance of science and common sense, the federal government under the Biden Administration is advancing numerous strategies to coerce citizens into taking the COVID shot. Their intention is to make life miserable for those who do not conform, including loss of livelihood, health care and free movement within our society. Those who do not comply with the “we must control you crowd” may soon face denial of government services, lack of health care options, lost wages, mandated masks, and segregation from others in society.

Taking their ques from the CDC and Biden Administration, many big businesses and hospital systems have decided that individual liberty and body autonomy are meaningless, and they plow full speed ahead mandating the COVID shot, with the threat of termination for those who do not comply. Apply these facts to any other situation, and regardless of your feelings on COVID, ask yourself if you are comfortable with this loss of personal liberty and body autonomy to the powers that be. I am not.

Thankfully in Iowa, we have a Governor who deeply values our Constitution, and has done her best to balance the health data she has been provided, with the societal, economic, and constitutional concerns that also must be part of the equation. We also have a Republican-controlled Legislature that values individual liberty and led the charge for freedom in the session that just ended.

After consultation with the Governor’s office, I spearheaded legislation that stripped the authority of schools and local governments to mandate masks, since it was apparent that some simply refused to give up the power they were drunk on. It should have never been their decision in the first place; the decision to wear or not wear a mask should be up to individuals and parents.

When serious discussion began on vaccine passports and government mandating the vaccine, once again the Governor and Legislature acted, prohibiting the issuance of any government identification that shows a citizen’s COVID vaccine status. We also prohibited government in Iowa from mandating the vaccine. Now, considering the assault on individual liberty by the federal government, various health care systems and some businesses, I believe we must act to protect individual liberty by preventing the experimental COVID shot from being mandated as a condition of survival in our state and nation.

We must ask ourselves where this is going to end. How much control and liberty are we willing to surrender in exchange for what may well be a false sense of security. It is clear that many in power refuse to let go of the control they believe they can wield over our society in the name of safety from COVID, with many motives in play that have nothing to do with public safety. The long-term implications of this should scare a free people to death.

So often as we face difficult decisions, the words of our Founding Fathers rush through time and speak to us, just as pertinent and wise as they were when they were first spoken. In this case, some might believe that freedom to choose whether or not to take the vaccine is more dangerous than the loss of freedom that comes with mandating the vaccine. I do not agree and suggest we carefully consider the words of Thomas Jefferson – “I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery.”

I have always tried to tell my fellow citizens where I stand on the issues. So, here it is:

  • I will do all I can to stop vaccine mandates.
  • I will do all I can to stop this assault on individual liberty.
  • I will do all I can to stop the coercion that forces my fellow citizens to choose between taking the shot or feeding their families and leading normal lives.

There is no silver bullet solution here. If you value your individual liberty, let your voice be heard, loud and clear, to those who represent you, and to your fellow citizens. We have much at stake in this debate and our actions could decide what the future of our children and our Republic look like.

I hope we will stand for “dangerous freedom” over the far more dangerous oppression in the name of a false sense of security that has resulted in the loss of freedom and tyranny since time began.

Author: Steven Holt