Why are Rhode Islanders tolerating Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s assumption of power so far beyond what the government of a free people ought to assume?
Part of answer is that we’ve been living in an atmosphere of fear for months, which has followed a period of cultivated unease going back years. COVID-19 certainly justifies concern and caution, but state governments and the news media have stoked it into a frenzy to the point that an extremely small likelihood of catching the disease and dying has transformed into a feeling that normal activities mean certain death.
Another part of the answer is that we’re several generations removed from education about and practice with political philosophy. We’ve lost sight of the long-term risks of short-term concessions that allow a single executive to go ahead and do whatever she thinks needs to be done. Moreover, we aren’t well trained in breaking down the facts of what’s happening in order to understand the principles that they are violating.
Thus, we get Raimondo cracking down on families’ backyard parties while pushing for the reopening of schools and saying nothing about regular left-wing protests:
She said it’s clear Rhode Island is not yet ready to move forward to Phase 4 of reopening, but it’s also clear the state does not need to move backward to Phase 2.
Raimondo said she was making one significant change to Phase 3 restrictions by lowering the social gathering limit from 25 to 15.
“So if you are having a birthday party or a baby shower or a pool party or a backyard barbecue or a neighborhood gathering — no more than 15,” she said. “Take it seriously.”
In taking this action, the governor isn’t just issuing emergency orders to protect lives and managing an immediate crisis. She’s making life-management decisions across society, determining what activity is worth what risk for whom. Opening schools is important because she’s deemed it so. Violent left-wing political protests are something to be quietly approved because she quietly approves of them. If your local family of 20 people has three members graduating high school and/or college, potentially making future gatherings impossible, you cannot gather on your own property because the governor does not value what you want to do.
Simply put, this is tyranny.
Of all the “guidance” the governor is publishing — much of it beyond her authority — dictating the size of personal gatherings on private property is the least within her power. This might be why the governor’s rhetoric doesn’t match the actual documentation of the rule: Raimondo realizes she only has this power if people pretend she does, so it’s more of a deliberately misleading bully-pulpit demand than a legally binding regulation.
But whether she is indeed asserting authority to send police onto our property and kick people out of our homes or she is just bluffing and hoping that a pliable (or gullible) population will voluntarily comply, this is not what we elect people to do. We should therefore treat her commands as the senseless and invalid hot air that it is.
Continue to be cautious and make informed decisions for yourself and your family, and be respectful of those around you, but do these things because that is the right thing for you to do as a human being. As for the governor, just ignore her. History shows that the road she’s choosing can be more fatal than COVID-19 has any realistic threat of becoming. Indeed, she’s spreading a political plague for which our hard-earned cultural vaccination has apparently worn out and which has no cure short of war when the disease has progressed too far to tolerate.