News & Politics

Battle Lines Drawn: Texas Opts for Liberty, While Washington State Makes Liberty Illegal

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is joined by state and city officials as he gives an update on the coronavirus outbreak, Monday, March 16, 2020, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Pay attention, as today marks a pivotal point in American history as we struggle to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Several states have banded together to oppose President Trump’s framework for getting America back to work, while other states have shown a willingness to protect individual liberty and the livelihoods of Americans. No two states demonstrate this stark contrast better than Texas and Washington.

On the same day, Gov. Inslee (D-Wash.) and Gov. Abbott (R-Texas) issued statements that display the fundamental question facing America. Shall the United States remain a nation founded on liberty, or shall we capriciously remove those rights as an exercise to increase the power of the state?

First, let’s examine Greg Abbott’s statement on reopening Texas for business:

Abbott’s office issued this statement:

Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference where he issued three new Executive Orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines. Within the orders, select activities and services that pose minimal to no threat of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to reopen using a “Retail-To-Go” model, certain restrictions on surgeries have been loosened, and schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Within these orders, the Governor has established the Strike Force to Open Texas—a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the Governor on safely and strategically reopening the state of Texas.

“Texans are battling a colossal challenge—an invisible enemy that has tested our lives and our livelihoods—but overcoming challenges is part of who we are as Texans,” said Governor Abbott. “We have shown that Texas can continue our efforts to contain COVID-19 while also adopting safe standards that will allow us to begin the process of reopening Texas. The Strike Force to Open Texas brings together nationally recognized medical experts with public and private sector leaders to achieve this mission. By coming together, we can get Texans back to work, practice safe standards that will prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we can overcome this pandemic.”

Abbott believes that Texans can continue safe behaviors and practices while conducting business and picking up the pieces of shattered livelihoods — returning to jobs, reopening businesses, and slowly returning to normal. This reflects a belief in the principle of self-governance upon which the Founders based the Constitution.

What does Jay Inslee believe?

What did Donald Trump say to foment violence?

It appears Inslee doesn’t share Abbott’s belief in self-governance and would prefer that Washington remain unliberated. He would prefer more draconian measures to keep Washingtonians from their basic activities, even when those measures don’t make sense in fighting a pandemic. Inslee followed the example of New Jersey’s Democrat governor by banning private construction while declaring construction on government projects essential. Inslee has also ordered a ban on fishing and hunting, closed parks to camping and hiking, and ordered boat launches closed, among many other restrictions that will have little effect on slowing the virus. He seems to think individuals can’t be trusted to practice social distancing while wandering in the wilderness.

Inslee stated earlier this week, along with the governors of Oregon and California, that he is still months away from allowing citizens to resume their normal lives. Not weeks, months. One of the biggest conditions he placed on allowing folks to go back to work is widespread testing capability to be able to track sick people. He knows that testing is a long ways off, so that gives him all the moral authority he needs to continue to order people home. Meanwhile, more and more liberties are stripped away every day in Washington.

We’ve already begun to see the canary in the coal mine, as it were, in Michigan. Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer made such silly orders as banning the sale of seeds for gardens, while ensuring that abortion clinics stay open as essential services. These orders have zero to do with containing a pandemic and everything to do with flexing government muscle. At their base, these orders establish the precedent for government to decide what essential means to an individual. These draconian and capricious orders have sparked massive protests. Think of these demonstrations as this generation’s Rick Santelli rant that sparked the Tea Party movement. These protests will only grow.

Of course, Inslee is perfectly comfortable justifying this by using the dog whistle of Trump being irrational, off the rails, and fomenting Charlottesville rebellion at the state level. “We’ve seen these calls for violence before,” he intones. He should have an actual set of pearls to clutch as he issues these statements.

Meanwhile, on the very same day that Inslee succumbed to his TDS, Greg Abbott announced his intention to start Texas on the process of reopening — safely, gradually, in stages, and in a way that simultaneously slows the spread of the virus and allows Texans to resume their normal lives. Which one do you think trusts the concept of self-governance more?

Make no mistake, this is the battle for freedom that Ronald Reagan warned us about when he said:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available now at Jeff hosts a podcast at You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.

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