Over the past couple of months, I have done my best to stay out of the discussion and simply provide the information flowing from the State of Iowa about the coronavirus. But its time I jump in with my thoughts. And I apologize in advance for the lengthy post.
I’d invite you all to join me, Mr. Peabody and Sherman in the Wabac Machine and take a short trip back to March 2020 when the lockdown restrictions were put into place.
When the statewide restrictrictions were announced, and as they continued to be expanded, the stated goal of those restrictions was to flatten the curve, to not overwhelm the hospital capacities, to ensure enough ventilators and to ensure enough PPE for those treating the infected. By flattening the curve, we ensured that we spread out over time the number of people infected and by ensuring we had the ability to treat those infected, reduce the number of deaths.
Before those restrictions were put in place, we were told to help stop the spread through good social distancing measures and proper hygiene, working from home where possible and staying home when sick.
Now, two months into these restrictions, it is clear that we have flattened the curve sufficiently and have reached the goals of not overwhelming the hospitals, preserving PPE and having sufficient ventilators. It is time to remove all those restrictions and return to the original plan of proper social distancing, proper hygiene and all those things we all know to do.
The Declaration of Independence states that we have the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is those rights that underpin our Constitution. These three rights though must be balanced. We cannot preserve one, while destroying the other two.
I know how these restrictions have impacted my family. I’ve seen how they are impacting my employees in our grocery store, cafe and gym. I’ve talked to many, many people whose businesses and livelihoods and families are at a breaking point due to the loss of liberty and the inability to pursue their happiness of feeding their families and living their dreams.
A salon owner, expecting a child, cannot earn the living at the salon she built because she had a dream of owning her own business. A wedding venue owner and his wife cannot book events at the beautiful barn they built to pursue that dream.
There are countless other similar stories that I have heard from across the state. People have lost their lives due to this virus. But people have also lost their liberty. And, people have lost their businesses, their ability to pursue their happiness.
Life is indeed precious. And in certain cases and circumstances, should be protected above all else. But not to the point of destroying liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We as a society and government recognize this when we refuse to ban smoking to protect from heart disease and lung cancer. We do this when we refuse to ban automobiles to protect life from being lost in car accidents. There are countless examples of how we balance the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Its time to restore that balance with respect to this virus.