One year has passed since restaurants, bars, places of worship, and our children’s schools were shut down by power-hungry politicians. Government officials around the nation, blatantly ignoring the Constitution and preying on the fears of Americans, imposed draconian lockdowns that changed our way of life.
It was also one year ago that millions of us began to realize how easily our most basic liberties could be taken away by our elected leaders.
Before March of last year, most of us believed we had rights enshrined in the Constitution and a free market economy.
We thought that government agencies would publish information intended to help us, rather than take away our freedoms.
We trusted schools and teachers to have our children’s best interest at heart. There was no doubt that America was the greatest nation in the world.
Unfortunately, the America we believed in was a fantasy.
The freedoms we enjoyed were an illusion, and our trust in government was misplaced. Millions of Americans quickly learned that their government could force them to stay in their homes indefinitely, mandate masks on the beach, and cancel church services.
Government officials even prevented their constituents from hosting Super Bowl parties in their own homes.
And that’s not all. Governments can hack into and track phones without a warrant, so the right to privacy is a mirage. Freedom of speech only applies if we don’t question government edicts or the prevailing media narrative–if we do, we are suppressed. Just ask Dr. Pierre Kory of the FLCCC Alliance, who advocated for the use of non-vaccine therapeutics that greatly improved outcomes for patients who contracted COVID-19. Copies of his Senate testimony last year were quickly removed from YouTube and C-SPAN.
It doesn’t end there. We thought we had a right to keep our businesses open and allow customers to assess their risk, but this was also an illusion.
Throughout the pandemic, bureaucrats have claimed total authority in deciding which businesses stay open and even in which items customers are allowed to purchase.
Some of the Americans that refused to comply with ridiculous, unscientific mandates were jailed in the name of "public safety."
Throughout our nation’s history, Americans dutifully paid taxes, voted, and drove on the right side of the street because we believed we had a contract with our government and with each other.
Over the past year, we’ve seen that this "contract" is nothing more than a collectively-held myth.
We thought that the government existed to protect our liberties, deriving its authority from the consent of the governed. But now, if our elected leaders suspend our freedom indefinitely, we’re expected to comply, no questions asked.
Many of our leaders insisted, and continue to insist, that the COVID-19 pandemic warranted an unprecedented expansion of government authority. Without this, they claimed that millions of Americans would die.
Of course, they were wrong. States that implemented the restrictions our nation’s "experts" recommended have had similar or worse COVID-19 numbers relative to states that remained open.
But it turns out that scaring millions of Americans was enough to make this power grab a reality. The words written in the Constitution, intended to constrain government and preserve individual liberty, proved to be largely meaningless. Political leaders forced us to swallow the destruction of our way of life in the name of "safety."
But as Benjamin Franklin said: "Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
A year after the first lockdowns were imposed, Americans should ask some difficult questions, the answers to which are becoming increasingly clear: Were the lockdowns justified? Did we really need to close our schools?
Were social distancing and mask mandates effective?
A sober examination of America’s response to this pandemic is needed, not just because it was used as the justification to ruin countless lives, but because it’s the only way we’ll learn the right lessons from this unprecedented event.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has devastated America, but it’s the government’s response to this pandemic, not the virus itself, that has taught us how to destroy a nation.
Adam Brandon is the president of FreedomWorks.