Abraham Lincoln: “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Trying times reveal character. We’ve had massive revelations into the hearts, minds and souls of the nation’s governors. President Trump could have increased and centralized executive power, but he devolved it to the states instead, because governors know their states best. States are separate governmental entities not always beholden to the federal government. In encouraging governors to handle the crisis in their own way, Trump is operating in the American tradition of Federalism.
Democrat governors gleefully grabbed power and promptly oppressed their people. Governor Phil Murphy (NJ) admitted he did not think about the Bill of Rights when he seized power. Later, Murphy sent the police to shutter a fitness center, but that wasn’t enough; he had police lock its doors. One Texas judge demanded that a beauty salon owner apologize for making a living for herself and her employees by opening her salon. The judge actually called her selfish. Governor Cuomo (NY) declared a state of emergency in New York, which gave him the authority to assume the power of the legislature and judiciary. He issued absurdly lengthy and convoluted guidelines on allowing people to return to work. Governors in other states have threatened to arrest people and revoke their licenses for trying to make a living.
Democrat governors (NY, NJ, MI, VA, IL) happily embraced the opportunity to take and use emergency powers. These states are run by progressives who believe in centralized authority. Woodrow Wilson, a founder of the progressive movement, jailed socialist and antiwar activist Eugene V. Debbs for opposing America’s entry into WWI. Soon after his election, Republican President Warren G. Harding freed Debbs.
The Founders studied the successes and failures of governments and human nature.
Washington: “We must take human nature as we find it; perfection falls not to the share of mortals.”
James Madison: “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition…It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government.”
The Founders devised the separation of powers to prevent one person from having all the awesome powers of government. The progressive governing philosophy, which basically rejects the Constitution, led to the abuses of power by Democrat governors.
The Founders were right. Some people crave power and can’t be trusted with it. To protect our rights and prevent abuse, power must be divided.
Red state governors like Florida’s Desantis, Georgia’s Kemp and South Dakota’s Noem managed the corona crisis without stomping on people’s rights. The difference in governing philosophy could not be more clear: crushing regulation and dictates from on high, versus restrained government that puts people’s rights first. People will flee blue states in even greater numbers for freer and more prosperous Red states.
Michael A. Morrongiello, Ph. D.