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The price of our freedom


It’s officially over as of Sept. 22, this peculiar summer of 2020. There has been none like it in the memory of anyone who’s alive today, and we can only guess if we’ll be anywhere near normal by the time the 2021 warm season comes around.

There was, of course, no Loyal Corn Fest this year, no Spencerama Days, no Clark County Fair, and the Granton Fall Fest and Greenwood

End of Summer Fest that would have taken place this past weekend were the last significant community events to be cancelled. Surely, opportunities for social engagement and entertainment were severely limited, and various civic groups that rely on those events for revenue will struggle to recoup the losses.

But, we survived, and that was the point. By foregoing large group gatherings, we hopefully kept COVID- 19 at bay, and the total number of positive cases in Clark County -- 297 as of Sept. 15 -- has not been overwhelming. It is impossible to know just how much social distancing, face masks and limiting crowds has gone toward curbing the spread of the virus, but we can at least say we did the wise thing and listened to the health experts’ advice.

Where things go from here is anyone’s guess. Public schools and colleges have congregated people again, and some of the early results of that experiment are alarming. Just like we did in Wisconsin when Gov. Tony Evers ordered a lockdown in March, we’re growing restless and wanting all this to just be over. That’s natural, sure, but so is it imprudent.

There’s a strong reason why the United States is among the hardesthit by COVID-19. We’re not talking about anything political here, but of the very thing that makes us what we are -- our freedoms. We don’t like to be told what to do, even when it may be in our best health and safety interests, and many of us would rather take a chance on catching a potentially fatal disease than be ordered by the government to do something as simple as wear a face mask in public. Yes, this country stands above many others because we all have the right to speak and worship freely and to vote and to own guns and so forth, but that fierce desire to do whatever we want whenever we want can cloud our vision when it comes to making decisions in a time such as this. We elect people we think will be strong leaders in time of peril, and we elevate the most educated of us to positions of respect, perhaps we should trust their advice when they say a small curtailment of our freedoms will be the best thing for all of us in the long run.

The problem we’re seeing now is that we can’t have both full individual freedom and public pandemic protection. Yes, America is the greatest country on the planet in some regards, but our selfish insistence on our own liberties puts us at risk when a let’s-think-of-the-good-ofeveryone mentality is needed. The 200,000 deaths this country has suffered from COVID- 19 is the price we’ve paid for doing what we want instead of what we should.

Members of the TRG editorial Board include Publisher Kris O’Leary, Editor Dean Lesar, and Carol O’Leary.