In keeping Americans safe with coronavirus response efforts, Sen. Rand Paul questions whether some state and local authorities are capitalizing on a power grab.
In an opinion piece for Fox News, the Republican Senator from Kentucky quotes C.S. Lewis: “Of all tyrannies,” C.S. Lewis once observed, “a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.”
He said some officials are using the coronavirus to take seize “unprecedented amounts of power” and they must be called out.
“I actually support the concept of states taking the lead in responding to the pandemic, and I applaud President Donald Trump for following this approach as he focuses on broader federal efforts that no state could do on its own,” he said. “But it does not excuse abuse of authority. It does not require executives to ignore their legislatures or place unreasonable or unconstitutional burdens on Americans, and we should call those overreaches out when we see them.”
As governments begin to reopen or decide to stay closed, he said it is important to keep an eye on what overreaches officials may be taking.
“Economic czars in the form of governors, including in my own state of Kentucky, are taking it on themselves to decree which businesses will live and which will shutter for continually extended lengths of time, leaving those who have poured their entire lives into their businesses to try to pick up the pieces and do their best to survive and feed their families in the meantime,” he penned. “The czars decide who can and can’t get medical treatment and restrict fundamental liberties such as the right to gather to worship.”
He points to his own state’s governor, who told churchgoers their license plates would be scanned, and they would be forced to quarantine for two weeks. He references a paddle boarder in California was chased by two government boats. He calls out Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as a “self-appointed monarch.”
“Gov. Gretchen Whitmer seems to have forgotten she serves the people of Michigan and is not living in Buckingham Palace a century ago when subjects would bow obediently to their sovereign,” he wrote.
He said use of excessive force has raised concerns with SWAT teams responding to businesses reopening and to break up protests.
He said Americans should work together and not against one another to get through the pandemic. He compared New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s message to turn in people who aren’t social distancing to authorities to what the Soviet Union or Communist China asks its citizens to do, turn on one another.
“Recent events again prove the Founders’ wisdom in deliberately spreading power out and decentralizing our system to try to curb infringements on our liberties,” he said. “That is supposed to set us apart, and it is up to each of us to make sure it continues to do so.”
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