The Honorable Governor Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas
Dear Gov. Abbott,
This is a redress of grievance.
I do applaud your administration for remembering the First Amendment right to religious expression—though it took you some time to recall it.
I do applaud your administration for working to block the release of violent criminals into the streets under the guise of COVID-19 protection—yet you still issued stay-at-home orders as if every Texan was under house-arrest.
I do applaud the end results of major corporations and medium-sized businesses (and Joe Rogan) coming to Texas because it's a state that's business-friendly—though it's obvious the decisions made by these business owners have less to do with your administration and more to do with the fact that Texas has no state income tax and has been business-friendly for decades.
In comparison to other governors, there are numerous reasons to applaud your administration. But comparing often leads to ignoring the damage a less-destructive-administration creates; therefore, I compare most delicately and selectively, for your administration has done much damage to Texans.
Since your March 13 State of Emergency declaration, Texans have remained in a state of uncertainty. It would be a fool’s errand to dispute whether your decision was the correct one at the moment you made it, despite your decision being based on only “more than 30 confirmed cases of COVID-19 located in multiple Texas counties.”
The promise of two weeks has now turned into six months and Texans still find themselves under a mask order and businesses—the fortunate ones—are only able to reopen at 75 percent capacity (if they have been able to survive at all).
Four months after the State of Emergency declaration was made, your administration continued its ongoing threat of another shutdown. This authoritarian behavior is entirely unbecoming of a Texas governor.
Lives and livelihoods have been destroyed from the decisions made at the State’s highest office. Your incredulous decision to end unemployment benefits while at the same time keeping businesses shuttered or hampered by restrictions is not a bold move—it's brazen. I dare say it's nothing short of cruel.
We Texans remember the goals put to us. Flatten the curve. It was flattened. Keep hospitals from being overwhelmed. They were not overwhelmed. Lower the death rate. It was lowered. But none of what has been accomplished has changed the draconian methods implemented by this administration.
While chaos has filled our streets in some of our major cities, this administration has quickly and effectively condemned it. There's no question that far-left radicals are running rampant throughout various parts of the country. Their behavior is despicable. But what are you attempting with the law-abiding citizen?
It appears from your decisions it's to drive the Texan to revolt as well. We have done nothing but conduct ourselves with as much heart and dignity as could be expected from those of the greatest state in the Union—and I do not write that half-heartedly or haphazardly. But Texans have been pushed into a corner. What is left for us to do? Relent more? Bow at your feet? Donate our homes and businesses to the State?
While you fight the radicals who wish to defund the police, you are concurrently defunding us—the Texans. Many of us would consider ourselves Texans first and Americans second. We are still proud that we were once a nation unto ourselves. We are a proud people. Never in our history has our pride not only been questioned but also stripped of us.
Who whispers in your ear such folly that we should pursue destructive ends merely because we profit from states as California and New York who destroy themselves at a faster pace? Destruction now or destruction later is still destruction in the end—and you have brought us to this precipice. If the arrival of large corporations, such as Amazon and Tesla, give you the illusion that this is acceptable reciprocity, you are gravely mistaken. If only large corporations succeed in the aftermath, then what have you done for the legacy that is the rugged individualism of being a Texan? I declare you destroy it!
I have no doubt that our state will become economically stronger, but, by God, we will be less free. If I had to choose, and I dare say if any true Texan had to choose, I would choose freedom over wealth a hundred times over. Tyranny—even in personal matters—does not reflect the Texas way of life.
Shall the small business owner alleviate himself or herself of the personal freedoms they worked so hard to attain in order to shackle themselves to the chains of the corporation? You have pinned us down. You have silenced our voices. And you have tightened the chains around us with every authoritative action instituted to restrict our freedoms.
Thomas Jefferson wrote “mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
I ask you: What do you wish from us? An Olive Branch petition that you will undoubtedly reject? I declare that such has been the patient sufferance of these Texans since March 13 that it is time you relent, not us. It is time that you remove these chains.
Your laws have become repugnant to the Constitution, which according to Chief Justice John Marshall, makes them void.
I hardly believe you need a reminder of the reasons why our ancestors came to these shores, but in accordance with your memory lapses regarding our Constitution, I will offer a reminder of a history that refers earlier than 1789. Our ancestors came here for the freedom of self government. They did not come here to establish kings and lords.
Our Texas ancestors did not fight the Texas Revolution in 1836 only to place another Santa Anna at the head of Texas 184 years later.
With all my Texas heart I urge you to relent and rescind these restrictions and let the Texan live and govern himself and herself as they see best.
Dustin Bass A Citizen of Texas, the Lone Star State