It is essential we determine what we want the role of government to be in our lives. Do we want a federal branch to dictate what we put in our bodies? Do we want leadership that masks and downplays power grabs? Do we want a president who rules by Executive Order and Emergency Authorizations alone? Do we want legislatures that refuse to work together? Do we want to continue to watch this pendulum swing back and forth, side to side, ricocheting, reverberating, as it bangs against extremism on both sides? If not, we need to demand better, ask more of them, and be willing to come together.

If this isn’t the answer– and clearly it’s not– we have to relearn the lessons we were taught as children. We need to value the truth in common sense. We need to play fair. We need to comprise. We need to wait our turn. We need to share. And we shouldn’t push, scream, and bully to force others to give us what we want. The way forward has to be the path down the middle of the road. A path made up of left and right, black and white, and a mutual belief in the value of freedom, of our democratic republic, of giving people equal opportunity— But never forcing them to believe as we do. We should never threaten individuals’ jobs because of a personal choice. We shouldn’t let our leadership spout that they believe in equity while shaming the voices of those they claim to help– of taking their freedoms, their right to choose, away.

The time to live in fear is past. Those who want a vaccine have it. I am vaccinated and glad to be so. But it is NOT my job to tell my neighbors that they must have the vaccine too. If we keep giving away our freedom because we are scared, we will not live in a democratic republic anymore. Vote for change in future elections. Demand better from your leaders. And create a culture that values diversity in opinion. Don’t succumb to a culture that bows to fear and accepts group think. Don’t support taking someone’s job away because they have chosen to not get pricked by a needle. And now you must answer this question: What do you want the role of government to be in your life?

—Written by Sandy heights

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