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Having lived seven years in Vietnam, I know communism. Communism tells its citizens if they can go to church, or assemble for political meetings. It tells them who they can associate with. It tells them what news they can read, what programs they can watch, what music they can listen to, and what opinions they can have. It tells its citizens when to turn off the lights, when to go home, and when to get off the streets. Communism rewards those who rat out their neighbors for noncompliance.

Communism forbids its people from questioning any action of that government. Billboards and loudspeakers blare: “Trust your government! Government knows best!”

Your government does not know best. It serves you. You do not serve it. We are a free people. In 2020, we Americans forgot we were free. We took on the classic characteristics of communism. We complied, when told not to question our government. We complied, when told not to read analysis from doctors who disagreed with the government. We complied, when told not to post opinions contrary to government policy. We were told not to go to church, not to go to restaurants, not to see family. Too risky, we were told. We complied.

But we are a people who take risk, aren’t we? We make those decisions ourselves. Always have. We go to restaurants, even in flu season. We go to bars, even with someone who has a cold. We go to weddings, knowing there may be some in attendance who are sick. We board airplanes and buses equipped with barf bags. We race cars. We bungie jump and we sky dive. Who decided we weren’t capable of making those decisions about risk?

We Americans are, in fact, defined by our fearlessness, and our appetite for risk.

Yet, in 2020, your government told you to be afraid. You complied. Your government then debased every right listed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, namely the right to free exercise of religion, the freedom of speech, or of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

We are a free people. Be not afraid. Be American. Question your government.

James Rockwell of Grangeville,

chairman, writing for the Idaho

County Republican Central Committee.

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(1) comment


Our government did not tell us to be afraid. Fear is a result of one's perception of a situation - you can choose to be afraid, or not. In response, some are quick to choose "fight" just as others are quick to choose "flight." Sensible folks understand how to negotiate fearful situations.

A global pandemic is a serious situation that requires a unified response from the citizenry. It is not a transition to another form of government - especially not communism. Nor is this a time for individualism, rather, it is a time for a community effort in taking responsibility for our actions. Lead by example.

Individual freedoms will, from time to time, come second to being responsible for the health and safety of others. Just like in times past, where the public was asked to sacrifice for the greater good, this time is no different.

"So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is...fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days." -FDR

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