America was founded on two basic political principles, a representative government and a system of checks and balances. Representative government was designed to give the citizenry control of the government and the checks and balances was to ensure no single branch of government become too powerful to prevent tyranny. So called “state of emergency” declarations trample on both of these.
How do “State of Emergency” declarations set the stage for tyranny you might ask. In every case, no matter federal, state or even local, a declared state of emergency gives the executive branch of government massively expansive power. Such as the ability to spend money, institute mandates (essential new laws) and impose penalties without the input of the people via the legislative branch. All of these responsibilities typically falls onto the legislative branch. They only way this can be stopped is via the judicial branch, which is slow and cumbersome. When you give one branch of government that much power, particularly one person, tyranny is possible.
These are all serious problems, but the more concerning problem is that the executive branch via the executor is simultaneously the person who declares a “state of emergency” and gives themselves a massive influx in power. This caveat in the system was designed to allow for the response to an emergency to be done with less friction. It is typically done in times of natural disaster where there is a consensus of the need of a streamlined government.
Right now, it appears to me that the response to the Chinese Virus has been abused by many state and local politicians. There are many governors and mayors who are drunk with power and are seizing that power under the guise of public safety. Even as we learn more about this virus, who it impacts and what is effective at combating it many politicians and even bureaucrats are reluctant to relinquish power.
There are studies showing a strong correlation to infections and insufficient vitamin D levels, yet many parks and beaches remain closed. If getting sunlight and in return increasing levels of vitamin D make you less susceptible to the virus why in the world would we want to keep people inside?
Then you have Governor Cuomo who in his infinite wisdom thought it was a good idea to force nursing homes to accept patients who were positive for COVID-19. This was done after it was very well documented that people who were elderly and suffering from medical conditions were at high risk. That is literally the definition of every resident of a nursing home.
Let’s not forget Governor Whitmer who has become completely tyrannical, so much so that the Michigan Republican legislators are taking her to court. Currently, the courts have ruled in Governor Whitmer’s favor but the decision is being appealed. She is doing this all under the guise of public health concerns. This is very cute, Governor Whitmer has been in office since January 1st, 2019 and has yet to do anything to get the citizens of Flint Michigan clean drinking water. If she actually cared about public health she would have at least attempted to get the “Flintstones” access to clean drinking water.
I also raise this question to the Democrats in Congress who made sure the Kennedy Center got 25 million of the 2.2 trillion dollar stimulus bill. I find it preposterous that they can find money for everything under the sun but can’t help the nearly 95 thousand citizens of Flint Michigan get a properly functioning water distribution system. Quite honestly it’s a disgrace from the local politicians all the way up to both President’s Obama and Trump that this problem hasn’t yet been resolved.
Governor Pritzker of Illinois thought it was appropriate to implement a stay at home order which included stopping all non essential travel to “flatten the curve”. All the while Governor Pritzker’s family flew on a private jet to their home in Florida. This goes to show the arrogance and “good for thee but not for me” attitude.
Lastly, you have the dynamic duo of Governor Gavin Newsom and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles in California. Governor Newsom appeared to be closing some beaches while opening others, coincidentally the beaches that stayed closed were in more conservative areas. Mayor Garcetti has proclaimed that Los Angeles won’t fully open until there is a vaccine, but it isn’t clear there will be an effective vaccine in the immediate future, if ever. Newsom appears to be using his power to punish political adversaries while Garcetti is making assertions about things that may never happen.
These are only a few of the many authoritarian actions that have been taken. There are countless stories of business owner, parents and church goers arrested. This is arguably unconstitutional and at illustrates the glutinous indulgence of power taking place.
I use these examples to show that although “State of emergency” declarations are often used properly, they are susceptible to abuse. We are seeing this abuse occur in front of our very eyes. The process must be reformed and made to conform to the ideas of a representative government coupled with checks and balances. There is a place for “State of Emergency” declarations but they must conform with the American ideals.