Gov. Bill Lee has abrogated constitutional government in Tennessee by executive fiat. He has controlled the people in the state with fear and threat, created an economic depression; he’s thrown at least half a million people out of work, wrecked tens of thousands of small businesses, militarized social relations with “six-foot” requirements, created a police state — in a manner typical of American chief executives.
Coercion against the people is at the had of a church-going practitioner of Christianity, an entrepreneurial non-insider Republican conservative who hesitated to impose a “lockdown” because of his desire to respect the people and personal liberty.
He drew back amid the early CV-19 clamor, but did as Davy Crockett advises: “First be sure you’re right, then go ahead.”
Gov. Lee’s actions and those executive government worldwide are a test for future boldness. Nine-eleven was a government project to bring the Patriot act, Mideast adventures and mass surveillance. The Boston Marathon bombing was an exercise to bring mass warrantless searches and civilian lockdowns — they occurred and the people consented with no clawback. CV-19 is in the same vein. Mike Pompeo, secretary of state, said, “We’re in a live exercise here,” to which President Trump muttered, under his breath but audibly, “You should have let me know. You should have let me know.” The public largely agrees with the sufferings imposed upon its members by high officials.
A live exercise, according to Wikipedia, is a “military exercise or war game is the employment of military resources in training for military operations, either exploring the effects of warfare or testing strategies without actual combat. This also serves the purpose of ensuring the combat readiness of garrisoned or deployable forces prior to deployment from a home base.”
The governor is operating a unicameral government with the legislature and the judiciary shut down. That means he has operated without a check. The American form of government has a measure of strength by having three branches that mutually stymie the ambitions and overreach of the other two. The liberties of the people and the free market are secured, in the American system, by the branches respecting the rule of law and being limited one by the other.
In Tennessee we have grand juries that are supposed to be government spoilers. Judges and district attorneys control grand juries, and the evils of the past 100 years of unconstitutional indictments should be reformed so that grand juries once again work to shield people from abuse and check state power. My efforts to invoke the power of the Hamilton County grand jury have gotten nowhere, despite attempts to get a hearing defending the people from violations of due process. I have given local authorities administrative notice of the guarantees in the constitution and put fresh eyes on Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-7-103, grounds for arrest by officer without warrant. Mine are efforts to restore lost God-given and constitutionally guaranteed unalienable and inherent rights.
Since 1933, a U.S. emergency
Gov. Lee’s activities are similar to those of the federal presidents, who are largely today imperial and absolutist. Since March 9, 1933, the United States and the people have been under emergency decrees emanating from Washington. The exercise of these powers has been unchecked by congress or by the courts.
Frank Church, Charles Mathias and other federal senators in 1973 published a study, senate report No. 93-549, as they sought to end the state of emergency.
The executive powers taken up by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and others give the national government’s chief executive dictatorial power. The people are ignorant about this matter, so scarce a soul has applied to the courts for redress.
“A majority of the people of the United States have lived all of their lives under emergency rule,” the report says. “For 40 years, freedoms and governmental procedures guaranteed by the Constitution have, in varying degrees, been abridged by laws brought into force by states of national emergency. The problem of how a constitutional democracy reacts to great crises, however, far antedates the Great Depression. As a philosophical issue, its origins reach back to the Greek city-states and the Roman Republic. And, in the United States, actions taken by the Government in times of great crises have — from, at least, the Civil War — in important ways, shaped the present phenomenon of a permanent state of national emergency. *** (Page 3)
“This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal Constitutional processes,” the report says (Page 1).
“Over the course of at least the last 40 years, then, Presidents have had available an enormous-seemingly expanding and never-ending -range of emergency powers. Indeed, at their fullest extent and during the height of a crisis, these ‘prerogative’ powers appear to be virtually unlimited, confirming Locke’s perceptions. Because Congress and the public are unaware of the extent of emergency powers, there has never been any notable congressional or public objection made to this state of affairs. Nor have the courts imposed significant limitations.” (Page 6)
A citizen’s lament
Among the key elements of executive government are violation of the longstanding ban on arbitrary and capricious distinctions in law. Law is supposed to operate on individuals, with probable cause protections and due process guaranteed. It is not supposed to operate on the private citizenry en masse.
An anonymous comment from a protester shows how that works.
My best friend is the electrical pro at Lowe’s in Jeff City and he’s been there over twenty years. His wife owns a hair salon. On a normal day before this shutdown he might be in close contact with a hundred people and she might normally be close to twenty. Every time I drive by Lowe’s now the parking lot is completely full. Cars parked all the way to the end of the lot near the highway.
He told me that everyday since this started has been like Black Friday, their busiest day of the year. So now he’s in contact with five hundred or more while his wife sits at home worrying about going bankrupt and losing the business she has worked so hard to make very successful for more than two decades. They are not safer because of these mandates. He’s exposed to more danger because of them and she’s being ruined because of them.
She’s not afraid to open because of the virus. She’s afraid to open because of the government! Because of threats of fines or even having her license taken away! I cannot believe what has happened to our country in such a short amount of time. The government arbitrarily deciding who can survive and who can’t. This is tyranny! It’s absolutely outrageous!