Dear Mr. President:
We have seen your heartfelt concern for American lives. You took bold steps to protect America from an invisible threat. But, as you have said numerous times, we must not allow the cure to be worse than the disease.
And now you have expressed an understandable angst in choosing when and how to reopen the country. We can tell you feel the weight of responsibility for our well-being. We appreciate your desire not just to protect American lives, but to also protect every American’s economic future. These burdens are too much for one person to bear. Thankfully, this is America; you don’t have to do it alone.
Let all Americans share this national burden.
Although the threat posed by the virus remains invisible, your COVID-19 Team has convinced us with data that, together, we can manage this crisis. Let Americans manage their own risks. Each one of us can determine for ourselves how best to proceed. The at-risk population can take extreme precautions with support from their communities. Businesses and employees can make workplace adjustments. Your team has urged personal responsibility. The vast majority of Americans have heeded this request, and today the IHME model projects coronavirus deaths will account for just 2% of annual deaths, far fewer than many other diseases.
This is what makes America exceptional. When we have the right data, we can figure out our own paths together. We don’t let central planners or experts decide for us. We decide for ourselves, in collaboration with our neighbors. Sadly, many state and local governments are not following the personal responsibility approach you advocated. They are using wrong and confusing data to strip Americans of basic liberties, and to advance tyranny at an alarming rate. They have done this by applying your informed admonitions as a premise for their wrong actions.
We all listened to their models when they warned us that millions of Americans could die, and we took appropriate action. So let’s listen to what the models say now. They say, “Let Americans be free to decide from here.”
If you will continue to lead in slicing through red tape, giving us additional tools, and giving us more data, Americans will figure out how to manage the risk for themselves, their families, and their neighbors. That is what we do. We are Americans.
We do ask that you use your negotiation skills to adopt policies that restore America's workplaces and jobs. Many citizens who lost employment are now incentivized to remain on welfare. This strips Americans of the dignity of working to serve one another, and it creates a new class of entitlements.
American workplaces were upended and must be restored. Your political opponents are advocating an indefinite shutdown, ignoring the models. They do so because our national crisis is an opportunity to steer the country toward socialism.
But your popularity has stemmed from your embodiment of America’s frontier spirit. Americans who tamed the frontier did not cower before enemies. Even enemies they couldn’t see. Courage is our heritage. We can tame any crisis together. The American way is for us to all share the burden.
God knows what is best for us, but still lets us decide. That is because the most fundamental thing about being human, the thing that brings us dignity and purpose, is the opportunity to make decisions for ourselves. Let vulnerable populations continue to self-isolate with all the support their communities can provide. But also let our economic activities resume in order to restore business and consumer confidence quickly.
It is time to unleash the ingenuity of the American people that has been sheltered for too long. We will go to work on this problem the moment you lift the reins.
Let’s get every American back to making their own decisions, back to caring for each other, and back to work. Let’s get America back on her feet—together.
Tim Dunn is Chief Executive Officer of CrownQuest Operating and the chairman of the board of directors of Empower Texans and Texans for Fiscal Responsibility.
Kareem Lanier is Co-Chairman and EVP, Board Of Directors and co-founded the Urban Revitalization Coalition with Dr. Darrell Scott to bring the American dream back to Urban America.
Dr. Darrell Scott is Pastor at the New Spirit Revival Center and CEO of the Urban Revitalization Coalition and the National Diversity Coalition for Trump.