To the editor:
Giacomo Puccini’s opera Turandot has been my favorite for 40 years and I have seen or listened to it a dozen times, but today’s broadcast was the first time I saw it in a different dimension as an allegorical indictment of government ineptitude and abuse, rather than an opulent romance.
Perhaps the situation in which we find ourselves, with our government, in Rahm Emmanuel’s turn of phrase, not wasting a good emergency to shear our constitutional liberties, freedom of association, worship, assembly and commerce under the rubric of an emergency. This crisis is partly of the government’s making because its “certificate of need” process created the shortage of hospital beds the government wouldn’t allow health care companies to construct.
Your pages in the Alexandria Times have carried letters for years about the impact of moving Alexandria’s local election to November, yet Gov. Ralph Northam (D-VA) has unilaterally cancelled Virginia’s May local elections. This even after some absentee ballots have been cast. Holding all local elections in November – when more lax laws will be in effect, e.g. voters won’t have to show IDs – is likely to favor the gov- ernor’s party.
Your cartoon captures the dilemma opponents to the current restrictions face: In gathering to protest, they risk their own health and longevity. The elderly gentleman addressing the rally enunciated the “Live free or die” motto of the state of New Hampshire.
I spent my childhood in a town bordering New Hampshire. I recall seeing instances of motorcyclists riding along the road between that town and its New Hampshire neighbor who would remove their helmets as they were still riding when they reached the state line. This example is the essence of “Live free or die” and my reaction to seeing this was that many of them do.
The U.S. Constitution, which the 14th Amendment makes binding on the states, limits the government’s power to suspend our liberties to only invasion and insurrection. If we accede to losing our rights due to coronavirus, politicians have more crises for which they will be tempted to infringe our liberties.
Advocates are already talking up a “climate crisis” and a “gun crisis.” Indeed, this same governor called an emergency legislative session in response to a single mass-shooting incident.
Your editorial asks how much freedom we should be willing to give up? But “Live free or die” applies to all of us. How can we ask our young adults to risk their lives in these various military conflicts, some of which are dubious, to preserve our freedoms if we willingly surrender them rather than risk our lives?
-Dino Drudi, Alexandria