The pursuit of happiness
To the editor:
This pandemic is challenging us. For those that are health vulnerable, the prospects of death seem real. For those that are invested in industries adversely affected by the regulatory changes that have been implemented for public health, the death of a dream or financial ruin is real.
Where is the common ground? Let’s start with three basic tenants that we agreed on at the beginning: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness are co-equal unalienable rights. We must resist placing one of those rights above another. Especially if there are alternative solutions which avoid doing so.
Our social desire to have greater public safety is placing restaurants, bars, and lodging owners in a dually untenable situation. They are losing their livelihood (Pursuit of Happiness) and Liberty.
I anticipate that the loss of liberty will be debated. “How can we permit your freedom to operate when considering the collective’s freedom to have less health risk in the community?”
Does a restaurant’s dining options directly affect any person’s life or health status? Do those concerned still have opportunities to live free from this risk or with reduced risk by adjusting their lifestyle?
For this to feel like an equal demonstration of respect towards each other’s rights, is there something that can be done to reinforce the support of those who are concerned with their unalienable right of Life? Perhaps those who wish to increase their liberty and pursuit of happiness by staying open or patronizing businesses could voluntarily mask up, socially distance, and implement public health best practices?
There is one more important thing to talk about with this issue. Since March of 2020, Governor Whitmer has managed the pandemic largely via Executive emergency powers. When the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that her extended authority was unconstitutional, Whitmer turned to State Agencies to implement similar measures through Administrative Rules. Her repeated, prolonged, and critical flaw here is not effectively collaborating with the Legislature. This has prohibited representative government.
If we are not permitted a say in the solutions, then what options are left? I support the businesses exercising civil disobedience. I understand the community members who advocate for greater precautions for public health. All of these actions are in defense of the unalienable rights of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. It appears that all of these rights can remain supported by opening business, embracing public health protocols, and involving the legislature.