This article originally appeared in The Sentinel on July 8, 2020 under the title A Voice of Reason: Freedom is won through courage and principle
This past weekend we celebrated the Fourth of July. Like many years past, many of us gathered with our family, friends, and neighbors to celebrate with fireworks and barbecues. However, many others did not as many activities normally occurring to celebrate Independence Day were cancelled this year. Many people stayed at home. Many did not feel they had a choice with Executive Order N-33-20, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19 ordering Californians to shelter in place except for permitted work, shopping, or as otherwise authorized.
This brings to mind the purpose of our July Fourth celebrations. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress declared the independence of the United States of America from Great Britain. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted a formal resolution written by Thomas Jefferson. This Declaration of Independence was signed by representatives from all thirteen colonies.
This independence was hard won after eight years, four months, and 15 days of war. The revolution cost the lives of approximately 160,000 human beings before it finally ended on September 3, 1783, with the Treaty of Paris. But this was a war over more than simply independence and self-determination as a nation. It was a war for freedom from oppressive government. Yet, as Americans, we find ourselves under an oppressive government today.
We have a government which executes orders removing our freedom to choose for ourselves whether we will put ourselves at risk of spreading illness. We have a government that issues orders to shut down businesses, to have Americans stay at home, and to force Americans to wear cloth masks when in public. One might well remember that the force behind any law is the force of a gun. If someone violates these orders and goes to the beach to celebrate with family and friends, they may find themselves ticketed and fined. If someone refuses to pay the fine, they may find themselves arrested. If one resists arrest, they may find themselves shot and possibly killed.
Certainly, it is good for people to live in a manner that doesn’t put others at risk. I wear my mask when I am shopping not because the government demands it, but because it means I am less likely to infect others if I am carrying COVID-19. It is my choice. I also choose to leave California and travel to Florida for the Libertarian National Convention in Orlando from July 9-12, 2020. I recognize that I am taking risks and will self-quarantine, voluntarily, for 14 days upon my return from Florida.
Good ideas don’t require the force of a gun. When the force of the gun comes into play, many Americans, born out of an inherited intolerance for overt abuses of authority, rebel intentionally when orders are given by the government. The best way to have a mass number of Americans not wear masks when in public is to tell them they have to.
The Libertarian Party, unlike the government, is leading by example, and giving their delegates a choice. Rather than requiring all delegates to attend the convention in person in Orlando, the Libertarian National Committee voted to have a hybrid online/in-person convention. We held our nominating convention to nominate our presidential and vice presidential candidates on May 22-24, 2020 via online convention. This is being followed up by a hybrid in-person/online convention to be held in Orlando, Florida, July 9-12, 2020, where the rest of the Party’s business will be conducted. This convention will be the first of its kind, involving delegates from across the country who have either chosen to travel to Florida to participate in the convention in person, or who have chosen to stay at home and participate remotely using an computer application developed by a State Central Committee member of the Libertarian Party of California. This app will allow for full remote participation by delegates from across the country.
Those who attend in person will be given face masks by the Party and will be expected to wear them when one is in any publicly accessible part of the hotel and convention center. The convention center is large enough to allow for all delegates who are attending in person to be seated at a distance of six feet from each other.
The Libertarian Party is the only political party in the United States which fully supports and advocates for personal choice and personal responsibility. The Libertarian Party leadership is demonstrating those values in their actions.