The Wisconsin State Supreme Court issued a ruling last week that Governor Tony Evers had exceeded his authority in issuing state-wide lockdown orders without the consent of the legislature. In Michigan last Friday, Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stevens was set to hear arguments brought by Republicans in their state Legislature to overturn the hyper-restrictive orders issued by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
In Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has extended the shutdown for another three months, in spite the COVID-19 curve having been successfully flattened there. They’ll “never be fully open” until there is a cure, he says. Keep in mind we still don’t have a cure for the common cold. According to Tucker Carlson, a bi-partisan group is now challenging his authority to shut down the county and working to start an on-line recall petition drive.
Numerous similar legal actions have been brought around the country in defense of liberty. Protests have grown as citizens stand against arbitrary authoritarian rule. One thing a lot of these have in common is that leading offenders are nearly all Democrats. Just a few months ago, Speaker Nancy Pelosi couldn’t stop citing the Constitution as the reason to impeach the president. Now national Democratic leaders are silent in the face of unconstitutional extremism. I expect such two-faced behavior from them.
My question is: Why are the Republican politicians silent at the national level on these overreaches in the states? Why are they not providing air cover support by filing friend of the court briefs? Why are they not orchestrating social media campaigns to encourage the protests? Why are they not appearing on news channels and other media outlets to amplify the voice of the people concerned about abuses of power by state governors?
I wrote last week about the GOP establishment leadership in Washington being missing in action in regard to the Russian collusion hoax in general and the persecution of General Michael Flynn in particular. The party elitists failed to show courage four years ago. And now as more truth comes out, they don’t appear to have learned anything from that failure. The word I used in that piece to describe their behavior was “feckless.” The dust hasn’t even settled, and I must use it again. By being unwilling to aggressively support in-state peaceful protests and legal action, the national GOP elite show their fecklessness once again.
Since the beginning of this COVID-19 crisis, I have never been in the camp of people pejoratively labeled as “virus deniers.” Obviously, there is a virus. Obviously, it is serious, especially for people in high-risk groups because of age and health. Early in the crisis, I proposed promoting the universal wearing of masks. I called for the aggressive use of existing drugs for people in the early stages of the disease, especially those in high risk categories. I have also been promoting, both publicly and privately, the need for a universal testing program to restore Americans’ confidence to re-enter the workforce and marketplace.
All that said, public health concerns should not cause state governors and big-city mayors to try to take control of regular people’s lives. Yes, we need prudent action and reasonable public safeguards. No, that does not mean you need to ban people from using their motorboats outdoors because they might interact with someone at a gas station and get them sick. That incredible example of overreach by Governor Whitmer is just one among hundreds across this country where governors and big city mayors have gone on to a socialist utopia.
Aren’t these oppressive situations supposed to be Republican’s worst nightmares? So why aren’t more national leaders acting like it? At the state level, some are. In Illinois on April 27, a ruling by a court in the southern part of the state indicated that Governor Prtizker had overstepped his constitutional authority. That ruling happened because a Republican state congressman filed the case. Other Republican members of congress are now filing suit to expand the ruling. Such action requires political and personal courage, especially in Illinois where the vast majority of the citizens vote for politicians who favor big government over big liberty. Elsewhere, five state lawmakers in the state of Washington have filed suit against Governor Inslee extending the stay-at-home order unnecessarily.
While some state lawmakers act courageously and citizen groups protest at state capitols in sporadic rallies across the country, the national Republican leadership has shown no spine. We need more leaders like Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in Texas who has taken on the Democratic big-city leaders in his state.
What we’re getting from the GOP establishment looks a lot like they’re using the Democratic playbook. The same leaders who said, “Let Mueller do his job” and “Let the investigation play out,” in regards to the Russian hoax and the persecution of General Flynn, now seem to embrace the mantra: “Leave it to the states.” To that I say if you’re not going to speak up on behalf of the middle-class America that is being hit by record unemployment and stripped of freedoms, step aside and let someone else lead.
I ventured from the world of business into the world of politics because of my deep concern for America’s middle-class. A bloated and corrupt government has done so much to limit their opportunities, harm their financial well-being, and take away their rights secured to them, to all of us, by our courageous Founders. When governors across the country strip individual liberty with extreme rulings and enforcement measures, they harm the middle-class who do most of the living and breathing and working and dying in this country. I simply must protest.
But I am only one converted and impassioned entrepreneur. My voice doesn’t reach as far as the voice of national Republican leaders in Congress. We, the people, need them to join me and all concerned citizens to support peaceful efforts across the country. We need them to be less concerned with public opinion polls and more concerned about defending public freedoms. We need them to encourage the use of the public square and the legal system to fight back against power-hungry executives and their bureaucratic fan clubs.
Our nation needs heroes, people who will stand up and push back peacefully against governors who’ve gone too far. I’ve come to expect Democrats to disappear at times like these. Is it too much to ask for Republican national leaders to at least play an inspiring soundtrack of support for citizens who dare to stand for freedom?
Jeff Webb is an internationally renowned entrepreneur, founder of Varsity Brands—a global sports empire, President of the International Cheer Union, and a business, politics and culture commentator. His work has been featured in outlets such as Newsweek, The Washington Times, Forbes, ESPN, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.