George Washington warned in his farewell address of the dangers of political parties, which exacerbate the misguided sense of allegiance which permeates personal relationships in politics, and ultimately erodes the rightful focus on policy and position, rather than on people.
When I informed people of the protest at the Governor's Mansion coming up this Saturday, I immediately received comments along the lines of, "Wait, I thought you supported Governor Abbott!" and "But didn't he endorse you?'
Yes, Governor Abbott endorsed me last year, for which I remain grateful. I'll also unequivocally state that I do support Governor Abbott in that I support the vast majority of what he does and stands for. This does not equate to supporting anything and everything he does, has done, or may do. There should be no room in public policy for such blind loyalty, though it's becoming alarmingly more common. When it comes to public policy, I support positions, not people, and will generally support the people who best represent and advance the positions which I myself support, though we may not always agree on everything, which is perfectly fine.
The more important a matter is, the more vocal I am. I absolutely and enthusiastically applaud the Governor's stance on cities which try to defund the police, in contravention of their number one duty as a government entity. There are numerous good things Governor Abbott does, which is why I support him on the whole. Then there are other things I don't like so much. For minor things I disagree with, it's not worth discussing because they're minor. However, emergency powers and executive authority under the COVID-19 pandemic has become the overarching defining issue of 2020 nationwide, and so I speak out.
Remember that the only ostensible purpose for any of the lockdowns or restrictions was to prevent overwhelming our hospital system. That's what "15 Days to Slow the Spread" was all about. We were supposed to restrict our movement and shutter "non-essential" businesses for 15 days to slow (not "stop") the spread of the virus through the state and the nation. We're now on day 203 of 15 Days to Slow the Spread, and even at the peak we never came close to overwhelming our hospitals.
Remember the makeshift overflow hospitals erected in New York, Dallas, Houston, and elsewhere which were never used? Remember the Naval hospital ship sent to New York--the global epicenter of the pandemic for a time--which was never used? Our health care system certainly saw a surge, but it was never threatened, let alone overwhelmed.
Yet here we are, with zero purpose to continue with any restrictions, yet we persist under them, with the perpetual hope that maybe they'll be lifted a little more, then a little more. The Michigan Supreme Court on Friday struck down Governor Gretchen Whitmer's continuing executive orders as unconstitutional, and I believe it's only a matter of time before the Supreme Court of Texas does the same. Make no mistake, there's no comparison between Governor Abbott and Governor Whitmer. On his worst day, Governor Abbott is ten times the Governor that Whitmer is, who actually banned products by proclamation, telling Michigonians what they could and could not purchase when they went to the store.
Yet just because Governor Abbott's executive orders weren't as bad doesn't make them good. For seven months, the legislature--the representatives of the People of Texas--has not had a say in these restrictions. This is why reforming emergency powers and executive authority is my top issue going in to next year's legislative session in Austin. I would dearly love for Governor Abbott to recognize this as well, and to make known that he above all recognizes the risk for unchecked power; that he won't be Governor forever, and make it his issue.
Even at the beginning, numerous people and businesses took proactive measures to slow the spread without the heavy hand of government mandate. No, not everyone will do so, but it doesn't require everyone to do so, nor will mandating it make it happen or stop the virus. The virus cannot be stopped. By the very definition of a PANdemic, it's well beyond containment. The time to stop it was in Wuhan, and the Communist Party of China wasn't interested. If the goal is to prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed, we can do this ourselves and we've proven it. If the goal is to "Stop the Spread" as people started saying a couple of months ago, it's a fool's errand, and no amount of authoritarian control will be enough.
So with no legitimate reason to continue the non-legislatively enacted restrictions, I will oppose them, regardless of whose they are. Simultaneously, I will continue to support Governor Abbott as the Governor of Texas, and the overwhelming majority of his efforts.