Email Ken Stallings   This is How Democracy Dies

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This is how democracy dies, with avalanches of executive orders.

Our federal government system puts great power into the hands of state governors, perhaps frankly more power than our Constitution places in the hands of the President.  That is how it should be.  The theory being that state governors are closer to the people they lead, and therefore less likely to escape accountability for any acts of tyranny. 

But, what happens when individual state governors choose to ignore scientific evidence and continue to expand and extend draconian restrictions on Constitutional liberties?  At what point does the role of the federal government, who's most sacred duty is to "secure the blessings of liberty," mandate stepping in to correct the un-Constitutional behavior?  The last, and so far only time, a President has activated federal authority under the Enforcement Act was when Dwight Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock, Arkansas.  Eisenhower did this because the state and municipal governments there were openly defying federal law, and barring black children from attending schools and universities in the state and city.

The point is that the President can call up federal troops, and deploy them, when states infringe on the Constitutional liberties of its own citizens.  We sadly now see this, as many governors, and a host of municipal leaders, openly infringe upon First Amendment rights.   Governors in some states are working to bar assembly in churches, a violation of two key parts of the First Amendment, protecting the rights of peaceful assembly as well as barring the free exercise of religion.  In response, this is what the Enforcement Act has to say:

If two or more persons shall band together ... with intent ... to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen with the intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege granted or secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States ... such persons shall be guilty of felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined or imprisoned, or both, at the discretion of the court ... and shall, moreover, be thereafter ineligible to, and disabled from holding, any office or place of honor, profit, or trust created by the Constitution of the United States." -- Section 6 of 18 USC 140-146.

We now have police being ordered by their city and state leaders to close streets leading to churches, to prevent any assembly for worship.  We have police being ordered to close businesses.  We have children being denied education, and we now even have efforts to infringe upon voting at precincts, all under the guise of public health.  This is despite the reality that in Texas, Florida, and Georgia (and other states) actions to remove the previous restrictions actually have seen several weeks of consecutive drops in COVID-19 cases and deaths.

Further, states that have expanded their shut down orders have seen cases rise in light of these restrictions.  Evidence seems compelling that the medical rationale to suspend Constitutional rights is empty, and these measures may well be making the medical condition worse, not better.

Despite all this, we have governors in some states saying they will continue these un-Constitutional restrictions until there is a cure for COVID-19.  There is no known timeline for when any such cure will be developed, much less any known timeline for mass inoculations.  In effect, therefore, these leaders are openly saying they intend to keep these measures in place for an indeterminate period of time.  This is tyranny.

The theory of our federalist system is that the states can individually manage themselves, and being more directly connected to the people they govern, will be less likely to infringe upon the rights of their people.  Sadly, this theory is being challenged by how some governors and civic leaders are acting.  Some, like New York governor Andrew Cuomo, actually enacted orders that placed COVID-19 infected people in retirement homes, sending the virus through the most vulnerable part of the population, killing thousands of elderly people.  The vast majority of the high death toll of COVID-19 in New York is traced to this ludicrous order that Cuomo enacted.  That order forbade retirement homes from preventing the return of COVID-19 patients into these homes.  Common sense was suspended, and in its place was leveled coerced stupidity, that killed hosts of people.  People have been convicted of manslaughter for less than this.

These deaths are then used by these same state and local officials to justify harsh quarantine measures, that have destroyed businesses, trampled upon Constitutional rights, and sent their entire societies into discord and misery.

In America today, we have a lot more than just "two or more persons" banding together to infringe liberty.  We have select state and civic leaders by the hundreds doing it, in flagrant ignorance of strong evidence that these policies are hurting viral recovery, and making more people sick for longer.  Add in the known cases of cancer screenings being suspended, and other routine medical treatments being delayed, and we have a potential wave of unnecessary deaths that will dwarf those who have died from COVID-19.  There is simply no rational basis for these restrictive actions.

So, what are we left with?

We have to face the reality that these measures remain in place because of a raw desire to abuse power.  Another word for that is tyranny, and our Constitutional government's core purpose is to prevent tyranny.  Several states have led the way to decisively prove that these restriction are unnecessary.  This is no longer a theory, but proven fact.

If these state leaders, who defy good sense, and expand and extend these restrictions, refuse to operate within their Constitutionally mandated limits, then the federal government must secure liberty, and indict these state and civic leaders in federal court, for violation of the Enforcement Act of 1870.  It is a sad situation, but we have multiple elected leaders guilty of these crimes.  Federal Marshals should be issued federal warrants, and sent into these states, with US military escorts if needed, to arrest state and civic leaders, who's conduct violates Constitutional liberties.  These state and local officials should then be put on trial in federal court, and upon conviction, issued the penalties proscribed by law, and thereafter barred from holding any public office.

The solution goes beyond just that.  We the people have to determine to stop electing people to government office who would abuse their powers, and threaten liberty.  That's on us.  We have to choose to stop putting selfish aims ahead of civic duty to protect liberty.  We have a Constitutional Republic for a government, and we have to decide now whether we choose to keep it!

-- Ken Stallings

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