Shot heard ‘round the world: revisited

“By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.”
Excerpt from “Concord Hymn”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
It truly saddens me that we, the citizens of this great country of the United States of America, might, in due season, be confronted with the very real possibility of the re-visitation of the sentiment presented in these words. I never would have dreamed that I would be so close to understanding in my heart the meaning of the words of this poem and be confronted with the idea that I might have to fight for my freedom. But in this time of reckoning and in confronting foes both foreign and domestic, I must be brave, I must tell the truth, and I must be vigilant if I love and value this country and what it stands for. 
We absolutely cannot, now or ever, value safety from this over-hyped COVID-19 virus over our God-given civil rights. This is not who we are as Americans. Our forefathers fought and died for the rights that we are so easily giving up to bureaucratic corruption and a false sense of security.
That being said, I am truly grateful to the City of Freeman for recently lifting restrictions on local businesses and understanding that many people in this community are dependent on those businesses being open for their livelihoods. And I am truly grateful for the state of South Dakota and Gov. Noem in their handling of this situation. Other more liberal states have not been so fortunate. Because all things considered, I believe that the “powers-that-be” in our community and state understand South Dakotans. I’d like to think that they knew we were going to do what we wanted to do or felt was necessary anyway. After all, this is still America. I am also grateful to the many folks who have shown solidarity with me and have given me words of wisdom and encouragement to continue saying what needs to be said in our local newspaper.
Therefore, in an effort to do my part in the only way I know how, through the power of the pen, I have the following to say with sincerity and due respect to my fellow Americans.
Please don’t make me hear the “stay home, stay safe” catchphrase anymore. Do you still have your job or source of income? Some people don’t. It’s asinine to make people close their business or lose their jobs and the ability to provide for their families while others are at home, turning their noses up at people who are not, while simultaneously ordering delivery pizza. Remember that someone had to bring the pizza ingredients to the pizza store (someone like my nephew who drives a semi-truck). Someone had to make the pizza (someone like my other nephew who is working to save money for college). Someone had to deliver the pizza (someone like my friend who had to take a second job to provide for his family because his hours at his first job were cut in half). There is no such thing as a “stay home, stay safe” pizza fairy.
Don’t expect your mail or FED-EX guy to arrive on time while you sit at home ordering new shoes and fishing equipment online for when the quarantine ends.
Don’t threaten people with vaccinations, anti-protest arrests or jail time for spending time with their friends and their kids in the park. Don’t prohibit people from visiting their parents or grandparents and caring for their well-being.
Don’t take my rights away because you feel threatened. If you are afraid of contracting the virus, I understand. You have the right to stay home. But don’t belittle me or call me selfish because I am willing to sacrifice safety for my freedom. Because it is important to remember that when pushed to their limit, desperate people do desperate things.  If you value your freedom, be willing to fight for it. Don’t sit at your computer or on your phone talking to your neighbors about the injustices in this country and then fail to rise up against those injustices and the tyranny that is slowly seeping into this country. 
I really don’t want to have to choose between another person’s feelings and my own Constitutional rights. And as much as it terrifies me to contemplate doing that, I will.  
People in this country are suffering far worse from the cure than from the cause. This virus scare is temporary. Giving up our freedom is permanent.
 If you doubt it, just ask the embattled farmers when they heard the first shot. 
— Sarah Muenchow is a regular
columnist for the Freeman Courier

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