I have watched as many around me have been pressured to vaccinate because of employer or school mandates. Many will accede to this demand because of the concern they have for their futures. Some may take a stand, but at a potentially high cost. Now, my employer, the federal government, has issued a vaccine mandate. I share with you the letter that I drafted for those in my chain of command. I will not support this policy nor use my position as a manager to compel others to follow it.
I have always been able to separate my concerns about the actions our government is taking in the political and public policy arena from the responsibilities I have in my job–at least until now. As an American citizen who stays abreast of contemporary issues, I have grown increasingly concerned about the policies implemented by our government. As a federal employee, I am a part of that government. However, I have not been required to participate in any of these objectionable policies, nor do I have any influence over those areas of the government which implements those policies. I raise my objections to these policies in many forums unrelated to my work as a federal employee. I have had no conflict of interest carrying out my job each day and outside my regular working hours raising concerns about government policies; the lines have never been blurred–at least until now. But now, an objectionable government policy is being implemented in which I believe I will be asked to participate as part of my normal duties as a federal employee. For me, a line has been crossed.
On Thursday afternoon, the Biden administration announced a requirement that all federal employees and contractors show proof of vaccination or submit to regular COVID-19 tests, wear masks, and physically distance from others while at work.
Agencies will initially use an honor system when asking employees whether they are vaccinated through certification of vaccination forms. If there is a good faith allegation that an employee made a false statement on the form, the employee may be asked for provide additional documentation to verify their status. Certification of vaccination forms will soon go out to federal employees to attest to their vaccination status. Employees have the option to decline to disclose their vaccination status.
The task force explained in their frequently asked questions on vaccinations, “Federal employees who make a false statement on the Certification of Vaccination form could be subject to an adverse personnel action, up to and including removal from their position.”
The task force goes on to explain that it is a federal crime to provide false information the document, according to a statute that prohibits lying to the federal government, and notes, “falsification could also affect continuing eligibility for access to classified information or for employment in a national security position under applicable adjudicative guidelines.”
The guidance notes that “agencies should comply with any applicable Federal laws, including requirements under the Privacy Act and the Paperwork Reduction Act, and any applicable collective bargaining obligations” when requesting information on vaccination status.
Unvaccinated employees and employees who decline to disclose their vaccination status will be subject to weekly COVID-19 testing. Agencies have yet to establish a plan to implement widespread testing for unvaccinated employees. The testing section of the task force’s guidance left many questions unanswered regarding how the widespread testing will occur and who will be in charge of enforcing the new policy.
I find this new government policy to be morally objectionable and I will not support an effort which compels employees to obtain medical treatment for which they may not want or may not need. I urge you to push back against this policy as well. If enough of us raise our concerns, it can be ground to a halt.
I am appalled that employees are openly being threatened with termination. The “option” for weekly testing is really not an attempt to accommodate people with objections; this is expressly designed to overly burdensome and is being implemented as means to bully and twist people’s arms. I will not lend my imprimatur or use my position in government in any way to advance such a policy that I find so morally objectionable. There are those who may choose not to vaccinate for valid reasons and we as government officials have no right to use our positions to compel them against their own will. This is outside the scope of the job we have been employed to do.
If asked, I will not provide my own status nor will I inquire about the status of other employees who directly report to me. I understand I have the right to refuse to answer the question, but even still I will not agree to be tested on a weekly basis, nor will I participate in any effort to force others to do what I myself do not want to do. As leaders in our organization, we need to represent the concerns of those we lead. We should not take part in any scheme that takes away freedoms from those we manage. An unjust order should not be followed.
As Americans we have always had rights afforded us that are not available to others around the world. These rights will not stand if we allow them to be trampled upon. This new policy is antithetical to the freedoms which have been protected by the U.S. Constitution for more than 200 years. I will not submit to these mandates and I will not encourage others to submit to mandates either. Again, this mandate is totally outside the scope of the job we have been employed to do. I make this stand to defend the rights we have been promised as Americans and to push back against the intimidation of fellow colleagues.
Perhaps you are not as concerned about this mandate as I am. Perhaps you are like many others who openly advocate for compelling the unvaccinated to “do the right thing”. But we should all be concerned by this attack on a minority of individuals. Nobody else should decide which medical treatment is best for you or for me or another colleague, not our government leaders, not our public health experts, not our employers, and certainly not us as their supervisors. That is a decision that should remain with each individual in conjunction with those whom they wish to consult (their doctors, their families, their friends, their clergy, etc.). Such personal choices should not be decided by our government in such an impersonal and heavy handed manner.
We’ve all had to make weighty decisions about medical treatment in our own lives at one point or another. Should I or anyone else be able to compel you to do the “right thing” in those instances? Should I advocate for others (i.e. public health experts or government officials) to compel you to accept a certain form of treatment that we think is the right for you? Would I be justified if I could just simply demonstrate a benefit to others (reduction of societal costs, creation of a safer environment)? Should that decision be taken out of your hands? What if it turns out to be the wrong decision? Who bears the cost and who suffers the consequences? The one who made the decision should also bear the cost, but that is not the case in this instance.
Furthermore, many of the supposed benefits of this are very subjective. China, for years, has limited the number of children a family may have; this policy is justified by the government who declares it is for the “public good”, yet to ensure this “public good” the Chinese government has also forced sterilizations and forced abortions on their citizens. Surely, none of us would agree these measures are morally acceptable? Forcing others to take a vaccine against their will is not as severe a measure as forced sterilizations or abortions, but if this policy can be successfully implemented who knows what comes next for our country?
I go into more detail below to provide an explanation as to why I believe the policy is not only morally objectionable but weak on the merits. The demand that every federal employee, or every individual for that matter, be vaccinated in order to protect the rest of us is not a sound argument.
I am not driven by emotion or unnatural fear; this is not about politics in any way; I am not guided by some caprice or some wild conspiracy theory. I do believe that too many of our fellow citizens are guided more by empathy, fear, or other emotion rather than by the actual science. I know many are afraid of the virus and want this all to go away. I know everyone wants to do the right thing; we all want to do our part to help in this time of crisis, but we cannot trample upon the rights of others in doing so. We must respect the rights of the individual to decide what is best for themselves, even if we think they are making the wrong decision.
There is also much demagoguery, misrepresentation of data and facts, dissembling, and outright deception regarding COVID being put forward, much by our own government. Policy which is advanced by today’s leaders is not necessarily for the good of the public, but instead seeks the maximization of government power, and control over our lives. I am ashamed of so much disgraceful behavior emanating from our government. What is termed a crisis is not necessarily a crisis, but is deemed so to keep people’s emotions at a high pitch. We should be rightly skeptical of individuals and government officials who use such tactics to gain a desired outcome. I will not take part in any such policy myself.
But What About the Science?
Not only is defense of liberty important in this instance, but the scientific argument that this is for the strictly public good is not based strictly on sound principles. Like everyone says these days, let’s follow the science. Our personal feelings should not override the science. Let’s dispassionately examine this issue and come to sound, logical conclusions about what the science is actually telling us and what it fails to answer. The lack of critical thinking when it comes to this issue is alarming; too many are driven by a misguided empathy (a desire to pitch in and do their part along with a belief they can save others from themselves) or an irrational fear which drives them to demand others accede to (what they believe is) the public good in a time of crisis. While it is understandable that people have these sentiments, these emotions often lead many to overlook relevant facts.
I have, in fact, been a strong advocate for vaccines myself, but vaccines have risks as do every other vaccine, as does every medication, in fact, and as we have seen in the last two months, the vaccines have limitations (i.e. they have not been efficacious at preventing infection and transmission, certainly not to the level we all believed initially), and we are still learning more about those limitations. Furthermore, the risk of COVID to individuals varies greatly and we should allow for those individual differences and unique circumstances:
- Many are not vaccinating their minor children because their risk from COVID is close to zero. Some medical experts have urged caution not only for kids but also for adults under 30 for whom the risk of COVID is minimal and the benefit of the vaccine also minimal. In other words, the risk-reward ratio is very low for the youngest of our population.
- Those who were already infected have natural immunity. Many doctors argue that natural immunity is sufficient (for now) and there is no need to expose yourself to the risk of the vaccine if already protected from COVID (some doctors are also advocating for a single vaccine booster for those already infected, but the government policy makes no distinction between those who need just a single booster and those who would require more than one dose).
- Statistics have borne out that African-Americans are among the most hesitant to be vaccinated. Some have pointed to incidents like the Tuskegee project in the mid-20th century as a reason for continued distrust of government projects. For instance, only 28% of African-American New Yorkers have been vaccinated. In these times, should we be tone-deaf to the concerns of this minority group? Refer to this interview of Harvard professor Martin Kuldorff which supports both of the last two points. prohttps://www.newsmax.com/newsmax-tv/covid-vaccine-mandates-harvard/2021/08/13/id/1032333/?ns_mail_uid=261c6f88-ae8a-4ffd-be95-e5f55e453feb&ns_mail_job=DM248608_08142021&s=acs&dkt_nbr=010102bziqia
- There are many who are alarmed at the stories of adverse COVID impacts. I still believe these are very rare given the massive numbers of vaccines administered, but they are real and many are hesitant after hearing anecdotal evidence. No public official is speaking out about the risks and trying to alleviate fears or put them in perspective for others. There is understandable hesitancy from people who don’t want to be the next victim. Also, given the current lack of trust of government institutions, they may also fear that information about vaccine risks is being withheld (and perhaps it actually is).
- Some folks just want to wait and see. Is the vaccine really working? Are the risks serious? They don’t want to be the first to try it. This is a natural reaction for clear thinking people. Give them time to get comfortable with the idea.
- Many have had an adverse, although not fatal, reaction to the first dose and therefore have not received a second dose. We have all heard many such anecdotes; they are not all that uncommon. The gap between the percentage who have had just one dose and the percentage who have been fully vaccinated is wide and becoming wider (almost 9%), perhaps for this very reason. An individual who has proven more susceptible to an adverse impact may reasonably decide to forgo a second shot, perhaps even after consultation with their physician.
- Certain rare medical conditions may prohibit individuals from safely receiving the vaccine.
Who are we to override the decisions others in these particular instances have made for themselves?
Despite, the never-ending doom and gloom from our media and many of our elected leaders, the U.S. has actually been quite successful in mitigating COVID. The death rate in the U.S. (the 7-day moving average), eight weeks into the delta variant surge, is as of August 13, 564 per day (https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/). Far fewer die each day from COVID today than from cancer or heart disease. In 2020, the low point for the U.S. COVID death rate was 542 per day, almost exactly what is now. Most of 2020, the rate was greater than 1,000 per day and we peaked at almost 3,500 per day. Deaths in July 2021 were the lowest they had been in the entire pandemic, despite the fact that we were well into the delta variant surge before the month even began. Deaths have gone up in August due to the delta variant but, as a nation, they are still down 84% from the peak; we are not in a crisis situation which would require such extreme measures.
Furthermore, the delta variant will soon pass, as it has in every other country it has invaded. We have seen two months of delta and it is now nearing its peak. It will diminish over the next month or so. Whatever plot twist the COVID virus sends our way next may or may not be worse, but no matter what measures are taken, we will never eliminate COVID. We are eighteen months into this mess and our elected leaders are still telling us the crisis has not passed and that we just need to do one more thing to free us from this scourge forever. They are spitting into the wind. Why are we still listening to their panic peddling after all this time? We are doing about as well as could be expected at this point; we don’t need to further this crisis indefinitely.
Instead, we must, as a nation, take steps to protect the most vulnerable, take appropriate precautions for ourselves, and allow everyone to go about living their lives as normal. We must adapt and learn to live with the reality of COVID. We will never, as a nation, achieve 100% vaccination rates, nor anything close to it; we never have for any vaccines in the past. Like the poor, the unvaccinated will always be among us. This is tautological and should have been obvious to all from the beginning.
In any case, those most vulnerable to COVID, senior citizens, have been vaccinated at a higher than 90% rate. More than 70% of all U.S. adults have been vaccinated as well. Every single state has vaccinated at least half or more of their adult populations. These are remarkable numbers. Why should our government continue to implement more and more extreme measures, trample over the rights of all Americans (including those of the vaccinated), rights we may, in fact, lose forever, to achieve the diminishing returns of vaccinating a few more Americans for a disease that we will never completely vanquish?
The common cold, the seasonal flu, tuberculosis, and so many other communicable diseases have been with us forever, and so will COVID. We have adapted to the others and we must adapt to COVID. How much are we actually gaining in the fight against COVID by this new measure for federal employees? Our elected officials and school boards and many businesses continue to act as if we must eliminate all traces of COVID. We will never get back to normal; we will never move past this crisis as long as zero COVID is their goal. In addition, the argument that these measures are worthwhile if they save just one life is a canard that is often used. .We cannot use the justification that we are saving lives through the implementation of measures that might destroy lives in another fashion. What we are potentially losing is far more significant than what we might gain. I stand in defense of our Constitutional liberties which are openly under attack. Those might disappear before COVID will.
By now, everyone knows their options. Those who choose not to be vaccinated, accept the risk that comes with that choice. The government should not make a one-size-fits-all vaccination decision for every single federal worker. As I listed above, the calculus for whether or not to vaccinate varies depending on individual circumstances. Why do we believe it is acceptable for the minority of adults who have not been vaccinated to be compelled by the government to take medical treatment which may not actually be in their best interests? Even if it can be demonstrated that the treatment is in their best interests, who are we to compel them to do something they do not accept is in their best interests? Who among us has been granted the right to decide what is best for another individual’s medical treatment? If we permit our government to make this decision for others in this instance, what is to stop the government from making other more intrusive ones in the future? You may agree with the government in this instance, but the next time it could be you who is targeted.
Besides, if you have been vaccinated and you are taking other precautions to protect yourself, why do you care that someone else has not? How are you at risk from another if you’ve done all that you could to protect yourself? Their lack of precaution is on them; it impacts their health, not yours. You cannot protect others from themselves. Why do you believe it acceptable to force others do something against their will, something which you may believe is for their own good, but they do not? We all know drug addicts should seek treatment, but even in that instance, what power do we have to force addicts to accept treatment for a habit that is clearly harmful and not in their best interests? For better or worse, the choice is ultimately still theirs.
The government’s role is not to demand everyone “to do the right thing”. Who decides what the “right thing” is in any case? The government has no corner on determining the right thing, something which is often very subjective. In fact, in this instance I believe we are doing the wrong thing. Why should we follow government leaders who pretend they have the power to override the decisions we make for ourselves? They do not have the power unless we go along with the policy by enforcing it ourselves. We are members of the government; our government is made up of millions individuals, all with consciences, and if we act together, we can stop this incursion on liberty by refusing to comply with this unjust policy.
We may make the wrong medical decisions in our individual lives, but then again, our doctors and our public health advisors may be wrong as well. Certainly, we don’t trust our politicians to always have the right answer, do we? Everyone should have the right to choose how they mitigate the risk of COVID and accept the consequences for their own decisions. Why abandon our hard-won freedoms and make an exception because of this particular crisis? Our freedoms have survived other crises of the past. Maybe you are okay with the loss of freedom for others because you agree with the government approach in this instance, but the next time you may be on the other side of that iron fist (and it may be too late to resist at that point).
Through numerous prior public health crises, the principle has always been that you decide what medical treatment is best for yourself. You can refuse treatment or you can follow your doctor’s advice. You also have the right to second opinions. Dr. Fauci and Dr. Walensky say you must wear a mask and get a vaccine, but how about if you want to ask the doctor you’ve seen for the last thirty years? Do the opinions of Dr. Fauci and Dr. Walensky trump your personal doctor’s opinion? Because we are told they are motivated only by the “public good” do their opinions trump yours and everyone else’s you may consult? Why should their opinions matter more than your own or your doctor’s or your family’s? Why should they have a right to determine the medical treatment for millions of people they don’t know? Are they really that smart?
And what if, God forbid, they are wrong? Lord knows, these two public health experts have changed their opinions multiple times in the last two years. Who knows if they will change their stance again in the near future? What if they don’t have it exactly right here?
I can tell you from my own experience with cancer that doctors are often wrong. A half dozen doctors misdiagnosed my condition over a period of six months before one smart lady doctor finally figured it out. But even then, I made my own decision about treatment, getting not just a second opinion, but a third opinion. The doctors I sought didn’t agree on my treatment; I was provided multiple options. Interestingly, none of them told me the science of colon cancer had been settled; they understood any choice was a gamble and they provided the information needed to make an informed decision. During this ordeal, I never encountered anyone as dogmatic and cocksure as Dr. Fauci. None of my doctors said I just need to do what they tell me and ignore the opinions of the other doctors I sought out. The bottom line is that it was my decision, not theirs. They were the experts and I considered all they said, but I was the one impacted and the only one who could weigh all the relevant factors.
Government by Experts
Why should we listen only to government experts? How about if we listen to some different experts? All experts are not in lock step with government COVID policy and the science is not actually settled; the science is never settled on any matter of importance.
How about we listen to someone like Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of the mRNA technology, the technology that was used in the creation of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines? How about we hear his concerns regarding the current vaccine strategy? This is not a simple matter of some experts think vaccines are good and some think they are not, and we need to line up on one side or the other. Dr. Malone is a strong advocate for vaccinations, but he has raised doubts about the manner in which the policies have been implemented. Perhaps we shouldn’t be forcing the vaccines on every single American? Perhaps there are some slight adjustments needed to the current approach? Immunologist, mRNA Pioneer Urges Health Experts to Adjust COVID-19 Policies (humanevents.com).
How about we listen to my pediatrician who has steadfastly recommended vaccinations but offered this caveat in his newsletter:
I take these decisions very seriously as I impart this information to you. I always make these decisions based on my own children and your child as well. That being said, this is a personal choice and not one that I would force on any one.
How about we listen to Dr. Martin Kuldorff of Harvard (referenced above) who says natural immunity must be factored into the equation?
How about we listen to former CDC director, Robert Redfield who criticizes the current CDC’s COVID policy for lacking supporting data https://townhall.com/tipsheet/scottmorefield/2021/08/09/fmr-cdc-dir-robert-redfield-acknowledges-lack-of-data-behind-cdc-school-masking-recommendation-its-a-fair-criticism-n2593857?
How about we listen to Dr. Ezekiel Immanuel and Dr. Michael Osterholm, both former Biden advisors, who also criticize the current CDC policy? Maybe the CDC, Fauci, and Walenksy are not the ultimate sources?
How about we listen to Dr. Sameera Gupta of Oxford, Dr Jay Bhattacharya of Stanford, and Dr. Martin Kuldorff of Harvard, authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, who have argued since early last year for a different approach than those of our government experts https://gbdeclaration.org/?
How about if we simply listen to a range of experts with a variety of opinions? There are many who argue for a more nuanced approach while our government is taking a sledgehammer and a sickle to the problem. There are many who hold a countervailing opinion to the experts our government relies on to make policies such as the vaccination of all federal employees.
We are continually told diversity is a good thing. We and every other government agency and most large private corporations have an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion office. We advocate for diversity of individuals based on their innate human characteristics, yet when it comes to COVID policy our government is not open to a diversity of thought. They’ve settled on their experts and their policy and others who raise any objections are silenced or ignored by them and their social media goon squads. But diversity of thought is what is needed for such a dynamic situation that continues to evolve. The lack of open debate and the censoring of opinions, including a vast number of highly credential medical experts has been one of the most alarming thing that has unfolded in the last eighteen months.
How about we also continually update our thinking during an evolving situation? How about the concerns about the lambda variant which some studies are now claiming is vaccine resistant? If this is true, perhaps we should not continue to push the current vaccine strategy. All vaccines are not created equal, some are mRNA, some are more traditional, some are more effective than others. How about we determine which vaccines are the most effective against lambda and other variants? How about we listen also to Dr. Malone’s concerns about the durability of vaccines? Many believe once vaccinated, always vaccinated, but Dr. Malone tells us that the the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines may have a shelf-life of just six months. Both vendors are overtly confirming this and are now recommending a third booster. How about the government weigh in on this concern?
How about we have a rigorous debate among our medical experts to determine what is the best strategy? Let’s figure out which vaccine or which regimen or cocktail of treatments works the best. It is not clear at the moment if the current strategy is the most efficacious. How can we have that debate when our government has already decided for us? How can we have a debate when it is full course ahead for a policy that was decided upon months ago? The government’s new policy accounts for none of this. Why force others into what may not be the most effective solution long term? Let all the experts debate and let individuals decide for themselves; eventually the most effective solutions will rise to the top. Having the government make the decision for us all could lead to tragic mistakes.
Government by experts is not a good thing. These days, the experts are often overtly partisan, but even if honest brokers, the experts themselves often disagree. Furthermore, the “experts” are usually experts in just one area and the decisions we need to make (like whether or not to vaccinate or to mask up) involve many competing factors. What do they know about the Constitution and the rights it protects? Do they have any appreciation that our government officials are limited in their powers (or are, at least, supposed to be)? Do they have any appreciation that their opinions need to be balanced with the opinions of other experts in their own field along with experts in other fields? As someone in a leadership position who needs to make decisions daily, we all know there are always many sides to a story and many are disappointed when we don’t follow their advice.
We are not so much following the science in this matter as we are following the scientists, and the scientists don’t all agree. Too many of our elected leaders want to pick and choose the expert who buttresses their own positions while ignoring other experts with differing opinions. They believe they must show the science is settled after all. We should be able to trust the scientific method. We should be able to trust the raw facts and data, and we should be able to trust science to sort it all out given a free and open debate, but facts and data in the hands of experts with an agenda are a dangerous mix.
As I stated above, many experts disagree with public health experts like Fauci and Walensky and with good reason. These government experts have not earned our trust. They are not telling us all they know. I have been an advocate for vaccinations and I believe they are having a positive impact, but these doctors ignore all the other reasons why people might choose to not get the vaccine, reasons that even a layman like me can easily identify (as I laid out above).
They don’t have answers to some questions. They have often changed opinions without any clear reason; they have often offered nonsensical opinions. They have issued dogmatic decrees and and often failed to provide evidence to back up their decrees. Yet, we are being told, in this instance, the debate is settled. You must vaccinate all federal workers right now because our political leaders have told us the government experts have determined it must be so. Not every expert has determined that we have one, and only one, course of action open to us. The science is never actually settled, especially in a dynamic situation like we have been in the last eighteen months. We are still far away from even knowing the ultimate solution (or if there ever will be one); therefore, I will not yield to those public health experts who act like tyrants and profess to be the science.
FAUCI: “If you are trying to get at me as a public health official and a scientist, you’re really attacking not only Dr. Anthony Fauci, you are attacking science.” pic.twitter.com/MwZSv2nxbL
This is the expert we are told to follow to exclusion of all others, the man who has the hubris to say that he is science incarnate and an attack on him is an attack on science? When our government is pushing forth this mandate in the names of these few public health experts, we should all be dubious. Nothing in life is ever this certain. Our public health experts know more about the science of medicine than the rest of us, but when they are so dogmatic and unwavering in their opinions, when they become political actors, when they clearly mislead us, when they venture outside their area of expertise and portray themselves as public policy experts (which they are not), then they are no longer experts to be listened to.
Time to Stand Up
Those of us who have worked in government for any length of time have seen first hand how ineffective and clumsy government can be. I am frustrated by a lack of accountability for many of those in the government ranks. I am often frustrated by an organization that is not nimble in its thinking and is slow to adapt and makes decisions that are just down right silly or counter-productive to our stated mission. Often our hands are tied by regulations, and something we all know is not good for the organization is allowed to stand because the organization is too impotent to do anything about it. I wish I could leave these concerns at work, but when the policy implemented by our heavy handed employer affects my personal life and the personal lives of our colleagues, I think we need to make a stand. There are no more safe havens. The government needs to stay out of personal lives; when they do not, I will venture into their territory of policy.
There are many who feel like me but are unwilling to speak up. They are hoping that perhaps the Union or their bosses with stand up for them and say no, so they don’t have to. They are afraid of what might happen to them if they don’t comply and what might happen if they do. We all need to stand up for them.
Perhaps you are one who has been vaccinated and you are willing to share your status with our employer. It costs you little, and thank God, you’re not the poor slob who sits next to you who will be impacted by this new policy, but those folks in the next office who are uncomfortable with all this are the very people we need to stand up for.
With increasing frequency, our government and many corporations are implementing policies which restrict our freedoms, and they are engaging in more and more acts of deception and censorship to support such policies. I take action and speak out against those policies in various other forums, but today a line has finally been crossed into something which actually impacts my job, something which I may be asked to implement. I will not stand behind this policy and I do not want to be asked to enforce a morally objectionable policy. I don’t know what else to do about but to speak out to those in my chain of command and hope that you will stand with me and others who object. I have spent 38 years in the military and civil service. I am proud of this country and I am honored to have served it for so long. I have never before been placed in such a position as I find myself today. I am appalled at the incursion of freedoms by our elected officials. I have no choice but to stand up for all that I have believed in the last 38 years, for what is right and what is good, and to do all I can to prevent it from being taken away from us now and incurred upon even more in the near future.