We are living in unprecedented times. Not because of the Chinese coronavirus—viruses come and go, and they will be with us forever. No, we are living in unprecedented times because never before in our State’s history has there been such executive branch overreach and abuse by our governor, mayors, and certain county judges. Texas used to be the State which prided itself on its fierce protection of constitutional rights and individual freedoms. Sadly, Texas is now run like a third-world dictatorship.
Consider the following:
Without any legislative oversight or input, our governor, mayors, and certain county judges have issued unconstitutional executive orders, mandating exactly how 29 million Texans must live their lives. Specifically, they have each assumed the unfettered power to dictate the following to what use to be a proud people:
1) Who may work and who may not work;
2) whether one may go outside of one’s home;
3) where Texans are permitted to gather and in what number;
4) “protective clothing,” which must be worn under penalty of fines;
5) activities which Texans are permitted to engage in;
6) activities which are forbidden unless these executives decide otherwise; and
7) anything else which these executives decide they want to do in the name of “protecting” Texans from the coronavirus.
Does that sound like the Texas you grew up in or the Texas for which the brave Alamo defenders gave their lives?
This executive “protection” has come at an enormous cost—not just in the loss of our constitutional rights and freedoms, but in human life. Millions of Texans have been economically and physically devastated by this executive abuse. We also now know, beyond question, that the coronavirus is not a black plague that kills everything it touches, but is more akin to the yearly flu in its fatality rate. It is now clear that our governor, mayors, and certain county judges are the ones destroying our lives and literally killing us—not some virus that has a minuscule fatality rate. This illegal insanity must stop! And here’s how we do it.
Political pressure must be placed on the governor in sufficient amount that he realizes that his political future is in jeopardy if he does not override the mayors’ and county judges’ illegal executive orders and then rescind his own. This is not a gubernatorial election year and, therefore, we cannot put direct political pressure on Gov. Greg Abbott. It is an election year for 16 of our 31 state senators and an election year for all 150 state representatives. That is where our leverage lies.
First, as the Llano County Republican Party has done, each political group in every Texas county must write their state senators and state representatives (who are up for election in November) and demand that they send a letter to Gov. Abbott, demanding that he rescind all COVID-related executive orders. Then, if the governor believes some restrictions are needed to deal with COVID, he should call a special session of the Legislature, wherein each of our representatives can get their constituents’ input, debate the issue, and then pass an appropriately limited law. That’s how our Texas Constitution is written, and that is what is legally and morally required.
Second, we must make clear to our representatives that if they refuse to stand up to the governor and stand up for their constituents by making these demands on the governor, we will not support them in November.
Currently, we have a Republican governor, and we can see the economic and physical destruction he has caused with his executive abuse. Imagine how our lives will be when and if we ever have a Democrat governor.
The time to fight is now! If our representatives are not willing to stand up against these executive abuses, then they have not earned the right to be re-elected to their positions of trust. Texas—as a constitutional republic—hangs in the balance of your decision.
This is a commentary published with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to [email protected].