At Least Texas Isn’t California

At Least Texas Isn’t California
A mask lies on the ground in Orange, Calif., on June 22, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Dustin Bass

The headline isn't meant to be a compliment; it’s meant to be a warning.

As we watch California’s governor and other government officials fall over themselves to ransack their cities with lockdowns, destroy countless businesses, trample religious freedom underfoot, and practice outright hypocrisy—like Gov. Gavin Newsom shutting down every winery in the state except his own and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi defying her city’s orders against patronizing businesses and wearing a mask—there's the temptation to be thankful you don’t live in the Union’s most populated state.

As Americans, we should all be alarmed at the hostile environment Democrat-run states and cities have created. Portland, Chicago, and Seattle have become beacons of light for the nation—not from hope but from literal fire. Their response (if there's even a response at all)? Defund the police. Or paint a public street. We heard the stories of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (among other Democrat governors) forcing elderly care facilities to accept COVID-19 patients. The results? Catastrophic. The response? A poster glorifying his abysmal response to the disease.

But at least we aren’t New York City, or Minneapolis, or Kenosha.

That very temptation to compare is where the real danger lies.

I live in Texas just outside of Houston. I’ll admit that we're better off here than in California. We're better off than in New York, or Washington, D.C., or Oregon, or New Jersey, or Michigan. But this is how tyranny works.

While cities are burning and violence is filling the streets, the Republican governors, such as Greg Abbott, continue to toil against common sense and toy with absolute control. It's been six months and the Lone Star State is still not completely reopened. The adults are still treated like children incapable of making their own decisions.

It's peaceful and sunny here near Houston, but in Houston they're taking incredible steps to infringe on the citizens. Teams of Houston Health Department officials and Houston Fire Department paramedics are to visit randomly selected homes, take a survey of COVID-19-related questions, and take blood samples of every member of the household. Of course, this is all voluntary. No one is going to be forced to comply (though the mayor’s words don’t convey much confidence).

“If we knock on your door, I strongly encourage you and your loved ones to participate in this important survey,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.

Phase 1 has already begun and will end Sept. 24. Phase 2 is scheduled for winter of next year. If this year has shown any indication of how our elected government officials feel about their constituents, it's likely Phase 2 won’t be voluntary.

The fact is, our elected members of Congress, governors, city council members, and county judges have shown contempt not only for the rule of law but also for the very people those laws are supposed to protect.

The mask that has been mandated by so many of the powerful has been a symbol of where our country is. It's a symbol of compliance to a government that has become obsessed with power. It's the mark of obedience. It's the ironic show of trust to a government that citizens have, in the past, boldly claimed to distrust.

So while Gov. Abbott keeps the supposed freest state in the Union under lock and key, we're distracted by the burning buildings and the chaotic looting.

While we look on in utter amazement at the anarchy of Antifa and we hear the Marxist tirades of Black Lives Matter, Texans are made to feel as if we owe Gov. Abbott some form of gratitude over being allowed to move about with fewer restrictions than other places.

It's not California or New York or any other Democrat state that will have betrayed this country the most: It will be Texas and red states like it that gave blue states the desire to be more like us. To be more free. But this is an absolutely false notion. We are less free. Without realizing it, we're becoming more like pre-COVID Democrat states.

That’s how tyranny in America is accomplished. Deceptively. You're made to feel that you aren’t losing your freedoms. You're made to feel that you're being protected. You're forced to make the terrible comparison to a state or city in shambles. Then, from the outside looking in, it would be irrational to complain. And so you don’t.

You're thankful that your city is not on fire. You're thankful that Antifa and BLM aren’t marching through your neighborhood. You're thankful that it’s just the government coming to your home to take your blood.

Dustin Bass is the co-host of The Sons of History podcast and the creator of the Thinking It Through YouTube channel. He is also an author.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Dustin Bass is an author and co-host of The Sons of History podcast. He also writes two weekly series for The Epoch Times: Profiles in History and This Week in History.