I write this with a heavy heart. I spent a good week weighing it over, only for recent events to finally decide for me. Not only because of those that we have lost to COVID-19, but also because of where we are as a country and community.
As chairwoman of Gloucester Republican City Committee, I find myself constantly listening to others. Whether it be their beliefs, a situation they have found themselves in, or an objection to government policy, I have heard it all. Recently, I have found my inbox flooded with emails pertaining to COVID-19, and the policies our leaders have implemented. There have been complaints about the violation of our rights, inconsistent policy, policy that makes no sense when taking scientific data into account, and the ignoring of the domino effect of issues that have arisen from said policy.
Those that have researched the numbers, know that the policy is just not adding up. Our state has implemented some of the strictest guidelines in the nation, yet we have the third-highest COVID-19 case rate.
Naturally, one would assume that our population might play a role in that, but that doesn’t add up either, considering we are 15th in the nation when it comes to population.
It is obvious their draconian policies are not working, and it’s easy to see why when they are mandating the exact opposite of what is recommended by doctors and the CDC alike.
The surgeon general has stated over and over that without proper PPE training, masks only enable the spread of coronavirus, people are constantly touching and adjusting while using the same mask over and over. Which means people are constantly breathing in the same germs they are trying to avoid in the first place. Some of the most extreme COVID-19 cases have come from people who wore a mask regularly, yet our leaders mandate we wear them anyway.
Leaving citizens in the position of facing fine/arrest if they enter a business without it or refuse to wear it. Not only does this contradict the data, but it also violates the rights of so many.
The surgeon general, the CDC and doctors everywhere also state that it’s extremely important to get out and get exercise and plenty of sunshine, something that keeps one’s immune system operating in tip-top shape. Yet our leaders have shut down parking all around town, including our beaches, preventing people from getting out to do just that.
Most recently they shut down boat ramps and town landings, blocking boat owners from using their own property! While they may have backtracked on the issue, the point was made, and it has become extremely apparent that they feel they have the right to control, rule, and regulate our lives in such a way. Leaving many with a serious distrust of local government.
The seasonal flu killed more than 80,000 people last year while. While my heart breaks for those who have lost their lives and their family members, are we going to shut down the country each year when the flu makes an appearance?
The case numbers are also extremely inflated. There are people speaking out everywhere with claims of losing a family member or loved one to something completely unrelated, yet if they find COVID-19 in their system they are counted as a coronavirus death. I can assure you that someone dying in a car accident is not a COVID-19 death.
With that in mind, the numbers are even lower than they state, but even when they are considered it works out to be a .056% death rate, and of those deaths? Nearly 80% of them are over age 80. I see claim after claim about us “being in this together,” yet that couldn’t be further from the case. These insanely controlling policies have rippled out, causing death and destruction in their wake.
Homes and businesses have been lost, lives have been ruined. Victims of domestic violence are stuck home with their abuser, children who are in an abusive environment are also stuck home, leaving them in positions you and I cannot imagine.
People struggling with mental health have been put in the worst position possible, they are now stuck in their house drowning in mental anguish. Many have taken their own lives, and what about the 550,000 adults and 2.5 million children that were already homeless before the start of this?
They no longer have access to crucial services to help them survive. For some this has been kind of like an extended vacation, for others it has completely ruined their lives.
The president has frequently stated that “The cure cannot be worse than the illness itself,” yet our leaders push back, cracking down more and more as we go.
Not even considering that there is a serious possibility we will lose more people due to these policies than we will due to the coronavirus itself. That’s not even taking into consideration how these policies will affect our health and immune systems, making it more likely we will catch COVID-19 in the first place. Which really seems to be reflected in the data. This isn’t going anywhere. The only way this will stop being an issue is if we build up a “herd-like immunity” to the virus itself, something we cannot accomplish when we are all locked inside our homes. Recent testing shows that more than 30% of those tested already have COVID-19 antibodies in their system, yet our governor and local leaders ignore science in favor for tyrannical policy that is causing more damage than good.
We have sat back quietly long enough, and it is time we stand up and speak out against these injustices. It is insanely important for us to consider all aspects of these policies, not only those diagnosed with COVID-19.
People are hurting, and they are struggling to survive ... we need to come together and listen. We need the freedom to make the right choices for our own families. It is not up to the government to do that for us, they never get it right anyway.
We need to focus our resources on our elders and their needs, as that is where there seems to be the most loss. We need to be able to go for a walk at the beach, or the beautiful trails at Stage Fort Park. We need to take off our masks and smile at our neighbors and friends (while social distancing, of course).
And most importantly? We need to remember that this is America, the land of the free. We are not children, we do not need the government to hold our hands, we are perfectly capable of doing the right thing regardless. Somewhere along the line the government stopped working for the people, and the people allowed it to happen.
Ashley M. Sullivan
Gloucester Republican City Committee