Jerry Sonnenberg

Jerry Sonnenberg

We have a saying in the country when someone is getting a bit too rambunctious: "Hold yer horses!"

When learning of these new and ever-more drastic restrictions, is there a point at which you would say enough is enough?

At what point is the solution worse than the problem?

We throw around words like “health” and “economics” when in fact it is all about people. It’s about the people who contract the virus and it’s about the people who will not have income for weeks to pay rent, buy food and medicine, and meet all the other priorities that families have. Families who may have taken all of the recommended precautions to protect themselves from becoming ill, but will still suffer costs forced on them by a government working in a panic — a government becoming a police state.

You work hard every day to build your business and provide services or products for your community in hopes of generating enough money to pay your employees, and maybe your daughter’s ballet lessons. Then the government comes in and orders you to close your doors for a week, or three, or six. Is it possible that shuttering nearly every business will have consequences worse than the virus? 

What if you are the employee, especially an employee who isn’t in the vulnerable population nor living with others who are? Will the consequences be worse than the virus?

We now have a shortage of resources, scared citizens, and a police state in which the government controls every aspect of our lives. The coronavirus has created conditions that could fool our younger generations into thinking that communism seems like freedom; at least with communism people were still free to leave their homes!

Gov. Polis had shown restraint, but now he’s joined local governments and, worse, unelected bureaucrats in exercising their perceived power in unprecedented ways. Private business has been shut down based on worst-case-scenario projections, denying American ingenuity the opportunity to provide better solutions. 

This virus is a serious threat to us, period.  

However, let’s put it in perspective: In the last 20 years we have seen West Nile Virus, SARS, Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Ebola Virus, Zika Virus, and Disney Measles, all of which threatened our way of life. Last year there were over 34,000 U.S. deaths attributed to the flu. In 2009 H1N1 killed more than 12,000 Americans.  Each and every year there are 35,000 deaths in car crashes with another 2+ million injured!  But we didn’t shutter the economy over those health challenges, nor have we banned cars.  Isn’t there a better response to this SARS-CoV-2 threat than a police state on the verge of martial law?

Could this hysteria actually cause more damage to Americans than the virus itself? Will the long-term ramifications for working families and small businesses caused by this government- and media-created depression actually be more detrimental than even the worst-case scenarios contemplated by appropriate social distancing?

What if we tried something different and bold instead: now that we are all properly educated on the threat, why don’t we trust Americans to make the best decisions for themselves.  Let’s take heroic steps to protect our vulnerable populations, pump needed resources into our economy, and encourage those who are not vulnerable to return to work for the good of our communities and our economy.

Our leaders are trying to take control over every aspect of our lives right now. Our stake in liberty and freedom is being whittled down little by little, and soon there will be only a sliver left. It’s like we’re getting communism on the installment plan!

I fear that the consequences of this worldwide meltdown will forever change the way we interact with others, and not in a good way.

People want to believe — I want to believe — that this country and the freedoms that so many fought for will remain for our children and grandchildren. 

We are already discovering that we really don’t need the burdensome regulations I’ve been fighting against for years.  We’ve figured out that commuting to work is quite often a waste of time.  We have also learned that relying on China for too much of our supply chain was a huge mistake — a revelation that will likely lead to a resurgence of manufacturing in the U.S.A.  If we respond quickly and boldly, we can use this crisis to make our future even brighter.

We are Americans! We whipped the British, we abolished slavery, we beat the Germans — twice! We defeated communist Russia without firing a single shot. We invented the car, the airplane, baseball, Internet, penicillin, the iPhone. We were the first to walk on the moon. I believe we will come together and beat the SARS-CoV-2 virus and ensure a bright future for our grandkids.

And we can do it without cowering in the basement!

Jerry Sonnenberg  a farmer/rancher from Sterling, represents District 1 in the Colorado Senate.

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