Opinion | Kim McGahey: Remember what independence should mean
Conservative Common Sense
July 4 is most often referred to as Independence Day, at which time we celebrate having won our independence from the tyranny of the British crown in 1776. But how independent are we 245 years later? Have we traded one level of dependency on a colonial monarchy for another level of dependency on out-of-control local, state and federal governments?
As Americans, we say we love our liberty and that the freedoms guaranteed to us in the Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence are hard-wired into our individual characters, as confirmed by Alexis de Tocqueville. We believe those freedoms allow us to live in equal pursuit of happiness without undue interference from all levels of government. That government has limited responsibilities designed nationally to protect the citizens’ general welfare and locally to fill the potholes and shoot off fireworks. But beyond that, government’s role is not to control every daily decision in our lives or be the default resolution of every conflict we encounter.
Yet that’s what it feels like to live in Summit County in 2021. The town councils, county commissioners and state Legislature want to make us dependent on them to micromanage our lives and thereby erase many of the freedoms we used to cherish. We can’t own a pet, ride a bike, go for a hike, buy groceries or take a shower without some level, or multiple levels, of local government regulating, legislating and dominating those and many more routine daily decisions.
Try walking your dog on local trails without a leash or a poop bag. Not only will you be subject to verbal abuse and harassment from strangers, but you’ll be fined by local authorities. The government has made us completely dependent on its policies in order to enjoy the simple pleasure of having a pet on a hike. And that’s just Summit County 101.
Consider the inordinate amount of new regulations imposed on local individuals as a result of the coronaphobia of COVID-19. We abdicated all personal responsibility for maintaining our individual health and allowed our local elected officials to control every facet of our public lives, our business operations and our civic duties.
We were dependent on the government to tell us when, how and with whom we could walk down Main Street, go into a shop or restaurant, and put our kids in school. We deferred to the supposed experts who assured us they used the correct science to create reliable public policy as we allowed our town councils and county commissioners to make us totally dependent on their personal political narrative.
Dependency has become the hallmark of life in Summit County and Colorado due largely to the overwhelming influx of residents from progressive blue states like California and major metropolitan cities like Chicago. All these incomers want the same amount of control in our rural mountain resort community that they had in the overpopulated areas they left. If something isn’t just how you like it, enlist the government to make a new rule, another law or an additional policy to control that situation. Next thing you know, you are not allowed to breathe our clean mountain air without a mask on!
Our local control freaks are rivaled only by the federal government and its compulsion to make us dependent on them for almost everything. The current occupant of the White House has proposed $9 trillion worth of command and control policies under the pretense of “economic recovery” that will simply bring more of our daily activities under the watchful eye of the expanding federal bureaucracy. Having Google, Facebook and Twitter in my kitchen is bad enough, but having Biden, Harris and Pelosi in there would be unbearable.
If we are to retain our independence and not cave in completely to the dependence demanded by a socialist tyranny, we must reject local, state and federal elected officials and their draconian policies that require us to sacrifice our individual freedoms. Remember this principle every time you go to the polls to vote for a school board member, a town council member, a county commissioner or a state legislator. Ask them if they favor “we the people” or “we the government.”
Kim McGahey’s column “Conservative Common Sense” publishes Tuesdays in the Summit Daily News. McGahey is a real estate broker, tea party activist and former Republican candidate. He has lived in Breckenridge since 1978. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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