By State Senator Brian Jones
Originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune; reprinted with permission of the author
April 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- In his 1987 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan clarified the difference between the U.S. Constitution and those of other countries:
“Many countries have written into their constitution provisions for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Well, if this is true, why is the Constitution of the United States so exceptional? Well, the difference is so small that it almost escapes you, but it’s so great it tells you the whole story in just three words: We the People. In those other constitutions, the government tells the people of those countries what they’re allowed to do. In our Constitution, we the people tell the government what it can do, and it can do only those things listed in that document and no others.”
Last week, President Donald Trump unveiled new guidelines to help states begin to lift the social distancing guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended since mid-March. Given that state and local governments have acted in accordance with, or gone well beyond, federal guidance to this point, “stay at home” orders may begin to ease May 1 in some places but may continue for weeks or months in others.