Updated: Jul 31, 2020
If we hold as an enemy anyone who fails to measure up 100 percent to our own subjective ideological standards, each of us will soon find ourselves alone on an island of one.
This morning, audio went public of two staffers for Empower Texans, a conservative political and news organization, on their podcast, Texas Scorecard Radio. Apparently unaware of a hot mic, the two excoriated Governor Greg Abbott for two full profanity-laced minutes [WARNING: Explicit Language audio clip].
They were discussing the Governor's recent statements allowing local governments to punish businesses that don't require people to wear masks. While I happen to agree that the Governor's statements are not only confusing messaging, but questionable policy, I vehemently disagree with the staffers’ characterization and vile comments, including disparaging remarks about Governor Abbott being in a wheelchair.
It's saddening, but regrettably not shocking, given the increasing invective leveled at Governor Abbott by Empower Texans leadership in recent months. It's all the more saddening because I'm a fan of the Texas Scorecard, and of hard-working journalists such as Erin Anderson and Robert Montoya (not the ones in the audio), who do unbelievable work reporting on local and state issues covered by no one else--crucial things which taxpayers deserve to know.
I agree that some of the actions taken by Governor Abbott in the pandemic are questionable, including the apparent contradiction of Article I, Section 28 of the Texas Constitution, which states: "No power of suspending laws in this State shall be exercised except by the Legislature." Having said that, I also agree with Governor Abbott on more than 80 percent of things--and so does Empower Texans. But you wouldn't know it based on that audio, or on recent coverage, which posits that the enemy of my enemy is just another enemy.
The quote from Ronald Reagan in the image above became a quote in the first place because its wisdom transcends decades. We should absolutely voice disagreement about policy, regardless of the party they come from. In an environment of honest debate, where we should criticize the policy, and not the person, you would expect that conservative Republicans would spend a small portion of their time criticizing the actions of other Republicans, and reserve the majority of their criticism for liberal Democrats, and the overwhelming number of disagreements with them on things from abolishing the police, to immigration reform, to point-of-birth abortion, to economic policy. But in this case you'd be wrong.
Our elected officials at all levels must absolutely be held to account, from myself right up to the President of the United States, but don't conflate holding our elected officials' feet to the fire with burning them at the stake.
2020 isn't even half done with us, folks, and we're in uncharted territory, where everything America stands for is under assault. Those of us who wish to preserve the promise of liberty and self-governance for all Americans can't afford enemies from within. Heed the wisdom of Ronald Reagan: "The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally, not a 20 percent traitor." In the end, we’re on the same side in the fight for liberty.