As the reader will likely have noticed, there's a common theme playing out in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the part of some of our elected officials. Here, I refer to the emergence of little tin gods among leftist governors, some of whom are resisting calls to ease stay-at-home orders and social distancing restrictions. This week, conservative commentator and former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino excoriated certain governors in this regard, calling them "mini tyrants" as he condemned California Gov. Gavin Newsom for extending marginally constitutional stay-at-home orders and keeping parks and beaches in his state closed.
Newsom isn't alone, of course. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker was taken to task over his stay-at-home order on religious grounds (which a U.S. district judge nevertheless ruled as constitutional earlier this week), and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's clumsy vacillation between prudence and leftist objectives continues to provide cheap entertainment on a daily basis – at least for those who don't live in my former home state.
Anyone who's been paying attention will be aware that some of the most egregious actions have been taken by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, whom I believe is emotionally disturbed on a very deep level. Arrogant and imperious, she probably exemplifies the deportment against which Mr. Bongino railed.
It's obvious that the nationwide cloistering is getting old for a lot of folks, and most Americans want to see restrictions eased in their states, largely for economic reasons. It's also noteworthy that private citizens who are making a lot of noise in this regard are on both the left and right sides of the political spectrum.
I certainly agree that some of these little tin gods have abused their offices, and it's evident that a few are desperately clinging to the augmented powers they've enjoyed during this pandemic. As I indicated earlier in this space, some would probably love to see the crisis drag on indefinitely. Part of this has to do with the advantage they believe they will have over President Donald Trump going into the November election the longer the pandemic persists, but I believe that power intoxication is playing a far bigger role.
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Perhaps it is because I was exposed to the concept of abuse of power and authority at a very young age, but I have very little tolerance for those who do abuse their offices, whether in education, the criminal justice system or government. Quite honestly, I don't think there's anything I find more despicable.
In good conscience, however, I have to admit that there are stupid things being said and done across the board (meaning by parties on both sides of the aisle). Some of this has clearly been reactive rather than deliberative and has the potential to significantly compound our problems.
Case in point: I'm in contact with people who work on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19 on a daily basis and, as I've said more than once, I've worked with infectious diseases. I know that this pathogen is not "just like the flu," and despite the very real political opportunism afoot, I don't believe the risks are being overplayed. This is a serious illness, and it would seem to me that erring on the side of caution with a disease that could conceivably kill you is probably a pretty good idea.
Then we have the armed protesters who demonstrated against Gov. Whitmer's stay-at-home order at Michigan's Capitol building, which drew some very well-placed criticism from Fox News' Sean Hannity.
While I readily confess that Gov. Whitmer would be close to the top of my list of tin gods, you don't lay siege to a government building brandishing firearms to "make a statement." You do this when all other contingencies have failed, as our founders intended. Inasmuch as Whitmer isn't rounding up coronavirus patients and having them incinerated, it occurs to me that there is still sufficient time to remedy the Michigan situation in a civilized manner, either through recall, or simply voting Whitmer out of office at the earliest opportunity.
In the current political climate, it is imperative that those of us who have the capacity to govern our passions double our efforts to do so despite the stresses and frustrations attendant to this pandemic. We already know that those on the left lack the ability to do so, and that any lapses on our part in this area will only provide fodder for their propaganda and wild accusations, as well as inordinately alarming our neighbors.