We are living in a historic moment. Samuel Adams issued the wonderful pictured quote right after the battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775. It applies to the coronavirus situation we are in, today in Texas. Indeed, as Adams expressed, the outcome of whether the people of Texas and our elected officials come down on the side of liberty and the Texas Bill of Rights or command and control will affect the quality of life of millions of Texans yet unborn.
Though it seems longer, just one week ago, I published this piece laying out why the lockdowns of the cities, counties, and governor in Texas were not only not authorized by statute, but not authorized by the Texas Bill of Rights. To my knowledge, it has received a wider readership than anything I have ever published. And since then, the pace of events and news relating to resistance to the lockdowns in Texas has proceeded at a breathtaking pace.
Here is what I have seen happening in the last week on the resistance front:
Texas legislators are speaking out in favor of liberating Texans from the illegal and unconstitutional orders:
· State Rep. Briscoe Cain has tweeted: “Open it all up. Let Texas lead the way. We don’t need government force in order social distance or self quarantine.”
· State Rep. Kyle Biedermann has sent a letter to Governor Abbott, stating: “The rights of all citizens are being violated right now by the Federal, State, and local government. People are getting restless.” And “The longer we wait, the more damage is being done to Texas livelihoods.”
· State Rep. Steve Toth who had already been pointing out that the suicide rate from the economic turmoil has to be incorporated into our thinking about coronavirus deaths, joined the Texas Freedom Caucus, as it issued its own statement urging the Governor to open up, stating: “Respectfully, GovAbbott, We need to open Texas Faster.”
· State Rep. Mike Lang sent his letter to Governor Abbott, recommending “actions that I believe are constitutional and would benefit the citizens of Texas.”
· State Rep. Matt Krause had already issued his own plan for getting back to work to the governor, urging him to among other things, “Remove distinctions between essential and non-essential businesses.”
· State Senator Bob Hall has been pointing out that non-coronavirus needs for healthcare are being neglected due to government edicts. In his letter to Governor Abbott, urged him to, “Immediately rescind the Texas Medical Board’s directive prohibiting doctors from serving people with medical needs who do not have the Chinese Corona Virus.”
· Former State Senator Don Huffines published this editorial in the Austin American Statesman squarely placing the blame on the Texas economic meltdown on the Governor’s improper lockdown.
Lawsuits are Being Filed Against the Executive Orders by the Governor and County Officials.
Dr. Stephen Hotze of Harris County and other plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against Greg Abbott in his official capacity as Governor in Travis County District Court (a state court) seeking temporary and permanent injunctions against the lockdown orders of the governor. The case number in the Travis County District Court’s system is D-1-GN-20-002146. They are still looking for more qualified plaintiffs who have been harmed by the governor’s orders. The lead attorney is former Harris County GOP Chair, Jared Woodfill.
Other suits have been filed in Bexar and Harris County against the respective County Judges. And with today’s mandate to wear masks in Harris County, I am sure there will be more.
A Surge of Grassroots Organizations Are Pushing for Reopening
Numerous local and statewide protests have been held, despite Facebook’s policy of squelching dissemination of announcements about them.
Probably the most influential grassroots group in Texas, the Texas Conservative Grassroots Coalition is actively working on reopening Texas. Empower Texans and its news arm, Texas Scorecard is doing excellent work reporting on and leading in the reopening of Texas.
The Governor Has Slow-walked the Reopening and Still Thinks His Orders Are Legal and Constitutional
See this report on the disappointing Good Friday press conference of Greg Abbott keeping things locked down.
In this his appearance on Glenn Beck Show this morning, April 22, 2020 (starting at around 15:20 in the podcast), he promised that some opening was coming, and even mentioned opening hair salons. But his comments had a number of troubling references or omissions:
· The governor continues to rely upon a future availability of a vaccine. For a number of reasons, including the low likelihood of such being available or effective and the distrust by a significant portion of Texans have, this is troubling.
· The governor talked about there being a treatment/therapuetic/mitigating capability being available by the end of the summer. He conspicuously omitted a discussion of the success we have seen in Texas of hydroxychloroquine in nursing homes. Instead, he focused on "FDA approved" treatments. This is troubling evidence of reliance upon approved (and maybe self-interested) sources in his thinking.
· He made no mention of increasing testing availability. To identify those who are carrying the disease and therefore actual threats to others, we need more widespread testing, but evidently that was not enough on his mind to mention it.
It is nice that the governor has a nice soundbite that, “We can save lives and livelihoods.” Abbott has always shown that he reacts to pressure being placed upon him. If you want a semblance of liberty from Greg Abbott, you have to pressure him to get it.
The Battle We Are In
What is clear is that at this moment in history, more Texans are paying attention to politics and the actions of state and local officials more than they have in a long time. We are in the middle of an intellectual war for the hearts and minds for Texans, and the lessons learned from this searing experience are vital to the future of liberty.
The progressives and cronies who are in ascendance not only in DC, but in Austin and our larger metropolitan areas in Texas LOVE this situation. It gives the progressives another reason to virtue signal about how caring they are while they get to do what they yearn to do – control other people’s lives and bash those that disagree with them. And this is the medical-pharma-industrial complex’s moment to earn a buck via government assistance, too.
We are in a war for what kind of place Texas should be. Will Texas have citizen-directed government that the framers envisioned, limited by the Texas Bill of Rights, predicated on the idea that ordinary Texans are capable of running their own lives and that of their government? Or will we slide further into being government-directed citizens, assuming that Texans are too stupid or too irresponsible to govern themselves, requiring experts to run their lives?
I hope we learn that liberty is superior in all respects to command and control and see the progressives and crony vision of our elites dashed. But like Samuel Adams said, it will take “utmost circumspection, deliberation, fortitude, and perseverance.”
Tom Glass lives in Northwest Harris County. Click here to reach his email. He is also on Facebook as Tom G Glass. He leads a group called Texas Constitutional Enforcement which can be explored at its website or Facebook group.