By CRAIG CAMPBELL
Every public conflict reaches a climatic point where decisive action leads the way to closure.
In 2020 the coronavirus pandemic has created a conflict between freedom-loving Americans and socialists who have used government control to force compliance with government dictums, in the name of public safety and health.
The strain of excessive and illegal government over-reach these past nine months in restricting our liberties has reached its limits. We are starting to take back control from the autocratic fanatics currently running our local government.
We can no longer endure government mandates that force businesses out of business. We’ll remember the CampoBello Bistro, Perfect Cup, Red Chair Café, and others Anchorage businesses that are permanently closed due to our government’s response to COVID.
But times, they are a changing. We are starting to resist the draconian government mandates controlling every aspect of our lives.
SAVE ANCHORAGE is a grassroots movement to rally citizens to reject the closures of government meetings to the public and to support businesses trying to operate against Mayor Ethan Berkowitz unconstitutional closure mandates. It’s a great initiative to take back Anchorage.
ALASKANS FOR OPEN MEETINGS has been created to legally challenge the Anchorage Assembly’s violation of the Alaska Open Meetings Act. Finally, a legal challenge to the illegal actions of our local government this past summer.
LITTLE DIPPER DINER is taking their case against the Anchorage closure orders through the courts to invalidate Mayor Berkowtiz Emergency Order.
Enraged citizens are protesting outside the Assembly chambers, something I have never seen before. We are fired up. Tired of this tyrannical government denying us our rights.
I know, COVID-19 is a serious infectious disease, but it never should require us giving up our freedoms to protect society.
Imagine, if they are successful in restricting our freedom of movement and assembly based on a virus, could they also not restrict private ownership and use of guns by declaring a public safety emergency due to a rising crime rate caused by their own lack of supporting law enforcement. They are already trying to control our police, visa vie cabal member Meg Zaletel’s resolution 2020-339 which gives the Assembly power to review APD’s policies and procedures.
The coronavirus has tested our society. It has shown us what life is like under an authoritarian system which dictates societal practices that take away personal freedoms. A government forcing people to wear masks in the name of public health is just the first step towards forcing people to wear a certain type of clothing in the name of safety; or forcing people to buy only certain products under the guise of public health; or forcing people to buy government controlled health care.
See where we’re headed? When will this madness end? I say, right here, right now!
The resistance is working. Black Lives Matter was permitted to put up a sign on the publically owned Alaska Center for the Performing Arts (APAC) building. There were no riots, no public demonstrations, but there was public recognition that if a politically charged sign can be displayed supporting a radical Marxists organization on the APAC façade, then they have created a public forum and others can also display their political messages on the building.
Recognizing they created a hornet’s nest, the APAC denied Save Anchorage permission to put up their sign and stated they are changing APAC policy to prohibit all political signs. What idiots. Anybody with half a brain could have foreseen this outcome.
We’re winning. The Assembly has reopened, albeit on a limited and controlled basis. Restaurants and business are again open, with restrictions. Resistance has been peaceful in Anchorage, no riots. Patriotism is rising, more American flags being flown. You can feel the change in the air. But we have not achieved victory, yet.
Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has been politically damaged by his excessive “hunker down” and business restrictions. The Assembly cabal has been seen for what they are, an elitist, despotic autocracy. Recalls are in the making against cabal members who arrogantly flaunt their superior authority over us peons.
Don’t misunderstand my concern about COVID. I have been tested twice to make sure I am not asymptomatic and potentially infecting others. I wear a mask at retail outlets that have corporate policies mandating masks. A business requiring masks is far different from a government dictating universal mask usage.
Face it, we can no longer trust our local government. While the Anchorage infection rate has been rising and currently is at 5.1% of those tested, the World Health Organization sets a positive test rate of less than 10% as manageable. We’re half that. In fact, 94.9% of people tested came back negative for COVID.
Mayor Berkowitz said Friday that there’s an “increased reluctance” for people to share information about their social interactions with contact tracers. He assured us that all contact tracing data is confidential. Really? We have been told our personal information with the IRS and Social Security are confidential, only to later be told they had been hacked and our personal data released to unknown sources.
We are learning to live with COVID without having to destroy our economy and take away our freedom to assemble. The balance between managing a very contagious virus and wrecking our economy and taking away our freedoms is a no brainer. We must protect our freedoms and retain a viable economic city, while reasonably managing the transmission of an infectious disease.
We must never allow autocratic bureaucrats to create a society of subservient vassals, bowing to excessive and unnecessary government control, in order to “protect us from ourselves.”
In a free society, businesses can determine when to operate and how many customers they can accommodate. In a free society, citizens can determine whether they want to go into a place of business, eat at a restaurant, or go to the movies. In a free society government provides services, but is not the puppet-master of our everyday lifestyles.
Ronald Reagan once said “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
No more shut-downs. No more closing down government public meetings to the public. No more mandating business practices to the private sector.
This is the time, this is the place to stop the insanity of government over-reach and the unconstitutional deprivation of our liberties. Like a cancer, if we don’t stop it now, it will only metastasize and eventually kill democracy.
Craig E. Campbell served on the Anchorage Assembly between 1986 and 1995 and later as Alaska’s Tenth Lieutenant Governor. He was the previous Chief Executive Officer and President for Alaska Aerospace Corporation. He retired from the Alaska National Guard as Lieutenant General (AKNG) and holds the concurrent retired Federal rank of Major General (USAF).