My column for the Washington County Daily News is online and in print. I wanted to title it “It’s Not About the Effing Masks,” my I didn’t think my editor would go for that. Go pick up the whole thing, but here’s a part:
These principles are rooted in the very foundation of our nation and our state. Our system of government was established under the principles that all people are created equal and that we are all equally flawed. We are humans, after all, and imbued with all of the passion, bigotry, avarice, jealousy, ignorance, stupidity, as well as love, compassion, honor, nobility, intelligence, and kindness that is the natural human condition. We are all a swirling mess of contradictions and subject to following our worst instincts.
If we are all equal, and all equally flawed, then why would any human surrender his or her natural rights and liberty to the arbitrary will of another? But since such surrender is necessary for the protection of individual rights, we establish governments as the least worst option to protect those individual rights. Those governments were established to reflect the will of the people through representation so that no single man or woman would ever have arbitrary power over another, but only wield power through the consent of the governed.
That is why our government is structured to have three coequal branches and an elaborate system of checks and balances to keep any branch from ruling supreme. That is why it takes the consent of two branches of government, the legislative and the executive, to pass a law. That is why citizens can appeal to the judicial branch if they think their rights were violated by a law enacted and enforced by the other two branches. Our government is specifically constructed so that it is difficult to wield power over the governed without their consent being obtained through multiple sources.
All of this representative government is thrown away when we allow our governor simply to bypass it through endless emergency declarations.