COVID has taught us that we can ‘never again give the government two weeks.’
As governors across the country begin to lift COVID mandates and restrictions, moving on without updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is worth asking what we have learned from this experience over the past two years.
We posed that question on social media and got an earful. Here is a sample of some of the responses:
Keith Thomas Locke: Americans have reached the point where they will willingly trade liberty and freedom for safety and comfort, and will enthusiastically expose their “friends” who haven’t to oppression.
Carl Reinhold Augustsson: Never give the government 2 weeks
Steve Williams: People will fall for anything regardless of overwhelming evidence and common sense.
Don Howie: Our “media” can scare the crap out of everyone and show things in such a one sided way that the narrative that is being pushed will pervade.
Kathleen Campbell: There was no reason to ever mask our children! All of this has been about control and money. Unmask all children today.
Jeffrey West: The federal Govt has to be removed from the education process. Parents, local, county then state. This should be the order of control for our children’s education.
Dana Dillon: How easily all the sheep did what they were told to do!!!
Irma Deaver Kozloski: Listen to your heart, not fear mongering,
Charles Torbitt: We’re lied to on a regular basis.
Stacy Ann: I no longer trust our Government or media!!
The common theme in all these responses is a breakdown of trust in our institutions. This is reflected in tracking polls by the Pew Research Center. Pew looked at trust in key institutions including Medical Scientists, School Principles, Journalists, and Elected Officials between December 2018 and December 2021 and found that the number of Americans who report have “little or no confidence” in those institutions has climbed.
The Edelman 2021 Trust Barometer, a study published annually by global communications firm Edelman, reported similar findings to Pew’s. Researchers concluded their study with a warning that society’s pivotal institutions must act decisively to restore public trust. “Particularly in times of turbulence and volatility, trust is what holds society together and where growth rebuilds and rebounds. Every institution must play its part in restoring society and emerging from information bankruptcy.”
Americans for Limited Government President Richard Manning offers a more positive view of the effect COVID and the government’s response to it has had on Americans. He thinks Americans are now more politically engaged and aware than they have been in years.
“The Big Government overreach we’ve seen during this pandemic has fundamentally altered our relationship to our government, schools, and media,” Manning said. “The American people are wise to the fact that many Democrat politicians, from President Biden down to local school board members, used the pandemic as an excuse to take away our freedoms. They are wise to the fact that Corporate Media manipulate the American people to boost ratings.
“However I am inspired by all the moms and dads who have been standing up in school board meetings to fight for their children. If we are going to take back our country and restore confidence and faith in our institutions, it will take that kind of grit from each of us.”
If we’ve learned anything from COVID, it is that trust matters. Going into COVID trust in our key institutions was low and it only got worse. As more Americans get involved at the local level and continue to have their voices heard, I think we can begin to rebuild that trust. But it will take time and perhaps even an entirely new generation of leaders to emerge before we really see a change. We need to replace old style politicians such as Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and Joe Biden with elected officials who recognize that America’s strength lies in her people, not the government. It lies in millions of people making choices for themselves and their families, independent of government coercion.
And most importantly, to quote Carl Reinhold Augustsson from Facebook, COVID has taught us that we can “never again give the government two weeks.”
Catherine Mortensen is Vice President of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.