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In Florida and Texas, Americans Are Free to Be Americans

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

They left everyone and everything they ever knew for a chance at a better life. Fleeing from the Soviet Union, my parents brought my older brother and I to America when I was just a baby.


They didn’t come here to try and make America like the very communist tyranny they had just escaped, but to embrace what America is all about: Freedom. They didn’t come to see woke-scolds stifle free speech with “cancel culture” or listen to critical race theory dogma being beaten into children—and even parents—at public schools. Nor did they settle here to face the same anti-Semitism peddled in the Soviet Union or its grotesque cousin, violence against Asian-Americans.

But, after decades of slowly tearing at the fabric of our nation, the Left is now ripping it to shreds. The “un-wasted opportunity” of the COVID-19 pandemic has only magnified their radicalism. Over the last year, Americans have seen churches fined and churchgoers imprisoned in the name of the coronavirus—a virus with a 99.7 percent survival rate. We have seen millions of small businesses closed, with the greatest concentration in Democrat-run states like Michigan. We have seen big-government Democrats like California Governor Gavin Newsom continue to impose restrictions on their constituents while playing by different rules, to the point where even the left-leaning mainstream media has cried foul.

Ostensibly for the sake of “public health,” Democrats are threatening the livelihoods of tens of millions of Americans. Democrats are even achieving their perverted utopia in Portland, Oregon, where Antifa’s mob rule runs rampant, at the expense of Americans who only wish to live their freedoms—that is, to be American.


If there is a bright side to watching the nation you love burn at the hands of those who hate it, it’s that freedom has not been lost entirely. At a time when the liberal media encourages COVID-19 paranoia though overwhelmingly negative coverage, Republican governors in Florida and Texas have not fallen for the fearmongering. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have repeatedly refused to sacrifice individual liberty as a way to appease the most paranoid and fearful among us.

Despite the predictable outrage, Governor Abbott fully opened the Texas economy in March, lifting the state’s mask mandate and ensuring that “all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny.” COVID-19 cases did not spike, while Texans enjoyed a long-overdue return to normalcy. Meanwhile, Florida has become a national leader in vaccination and business activity under Governor DeSantis, who has spoken out against vaccine passports and other threats to individual liberty. The Florida governor routinely urges vaccinated Floridians to “act immune” en route to normality.

In both states, parents like myself also have the freedom to serve their children’s educational needs, while students have the freedom to learn. Schools are open and COVID-19 transmission is minimal.


That is freedom in practice. That is why my parents risked it all to bring me to America decades ago. In large part, they came for the First Amendment, which not only guarantees free speech, but all our most cherished freedoms— of religion, the press, peaceful assembly, and to petition government for a redress of grievances. Nowhere is the First Amendment more protected and preserved today than in Florida and Texas.

We have reached a point where Floridians and Texans are considered “lucky,” relative to citizens of other states, and that should never be the case. We should never be “lucky” to be able to live freely. We can and should be grateful, but freedom must be guaranteed—with no exceptions.

It is not the politician or Dr. Anthony Fauci who gives us freedom. Democrats are not responsible for doling out individual liberties, no matter how much they cherish control over others. Freedom is God-given and God-given alone, as the Founders intended.

Remember: The Left cannot be appeased, during a pandemic or otherwise. This is not just about COVID-19, although the pandemic is certainly the frontline. Woke-scolds are on an ideological rampage to transform America into a left-wing dystopia—think Portland, Oregon on a national scale. They want to divide us from within.


Why? For power.

And, if they cannot be appeased, we cannot stop fighting back. Good-faith Americans must exercise their freedom to live—free from government tyranny and regressive leftism.

Fight for good old American values. Embrace them. Cherish them. I certainly will, like my parents before me.

Dan Backer is a veteran campaign counsel, having served more than 100 candidates and PACs, including two of the largest pro-Trump super PACs. He is a member of Chalmers & Adams LLC, a political law and litigation firm.

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