On Saturday night, December 5, 2020, the city of Prescott and the Chamber of Commerce hosted a virtual Christmas lighting of the lights on the trees around the Courthouse. Every other year, this event was a public gathering that brought hundreds, if not thousands of local residents and visitors to the Courthouse. The great thing about Prescott is, that for years, this lighting ceremony has been accompanied by the singing of Christmas carols and readings from the bible about the Nativity by Ken Bennett. We had heard for several years that the ACLU was going to sue to stop any religious readings or hymns at the Courthouse. We also heard rumors that several local attorneys would volunteer to represent the city and county should any such suit be filed.
At any rate, some persons in leadership positions decided, that since there was a spike in the number of COVID cases and hospitalizations, that the Courthouse lighting this year would be a virtual, instead of a real ceremony. The children’s parade was canceled, the Christmas parade was canceled and so is Acker Night, so why not cancel the Courthouse lighting? Let’s not celebrate the birth of Christ, peace on earth and good will to men, in an outdoor setting. Let’s promote isolation from other humans, lock down depression that causes abuse of alcohol and drugs, and cabin fever that increases the number of suicides and domestic abuse. Don’t let individuals decide for themselves if they want to risk having fun, just cancel every opportunity that would enable them to enjoy themselves with other people.
My wife received an email from a friend that stated that despite the usual ceremony being canceled, everyone was encouraged to go to the Courthouse and watch the lights being turned on at 6 PM. This is after all, Prescott, Arizona, a frontier town and state that was originally founded and populated by people who were not afraid to go outside and congregate with others. The diseases back then were much more dangerous than COVID-19. There was smallpox, cholera, and tuberculosis just to name a few.
Apparently, my wife, Judi and I were not the only ones who thought it would be uplifting to see the Christmas lights illuminate the Courthouse plaza. We weighed our risks and decided that the elation of seeing the lights turned on and seeing the thousand or so other people having a good time, far surpassed any danger. Here are the risks, taken from an article from the Conservative Daily News published on December 9, 2020: 99.8% of the people who catch COVID-19 survive. 99.5 % of those with co-morbidities survive. There are more deaths from the COVID-19 lock downs, than from the virus.
No one should be faulted if they decide to stay home because of the health conditions they have, but we are healthy and also believe that there is a lot more fear generated by fear mongers, than this flu should actually produce. We decided that we would not allow unreasonable fear keep us from enjoying the Courthouse lighting or events with other people. We will resist those who want to use fear to cancel Christmas, which is best celebrated with other people, family and friends and somewhat meaningless without them.
When we arrived at about 5:30 PM, with two other couples, the Courthouse plaza was full of people and more were coming every minute. We heard some people by the front steps singing Christmas carols. Some people were wearing masks, most were not. When the lights hadn’t been turned on by 6:10 PM, several people started calling on their cell phones and at 6:20, the lights came on.
Like the brave pioneers who settled our town and our state, we must stand firm against the merchants of fear, and demand our liberty to practice our God given freedoms. We should always “remember that rational fear keeps us safe but irrational fear places us in greater danger.” – Quote from E. F. Charles from his article We are Still Getting Rolled on Covid-19, published on 12-9-20 at the Conservative Daily News