On Monday night, I will ask the Commission to authorize me to send a letter to Governor DeSantis encouraging him to open up the State as soon as it is safe to do so.
I have received multiple requests for me to give my opinion on the situation we are in; however, until now, I have been too busy dealing with the situation to have the chance to be able to formulate my thoughts in a coherent way. And, frankly, the information coming at us has changed so rapidly that it has been difficult to do anything but react.
Let me say, I am not a doctor or a scientist. There is no ‘but’. I am not a doctor or a scientist. Period. That’s really important to establish. I am not a firefighter or a policeman either. I’m not a water or sewer expert. I’m not a lawyer. The list of things I’m not could go on forever. I think the same could be said for most politicians. That’s why it’s important for political leaders to have experts around them: to provide the information we lack.
And, that is why political leaders need experts around them that they trust. When our Fire Department’s Chief Buckner tells me he needs something to keep our residents safe, I have absolute faith in his word, and I do everything in my power to ensure he has what he needs to fulfill his mission.
My job isn’t to be the expert. My job is ensure that our community has trustworthy experts looking out for our best interest, and then, make sure they have what they need to get the job done.
“We may want the government to have the power to address a pandemic. We may need it to have that much power. But, once we accept they have this much power, what else will they do with it. It is a very American question to ask.”
I know that, in today’s social media world, we seem to be surrounded by people who are experts on everything. I am not. I listen to people I trust, and I make the best decision I can in the moment. Then, I weather the storm from all the people who seem to have decided that their contribution to the world will be to Monday morning quarterback the decisions of others. That’s fine. That’s the job. But, it does make me hesitant to inflict the same on others in similar situations.
The City of Newberry will continue to cooperate and support the Governor. When the Governor believes we can begin to reopen, Newberry will reopen under the guidance of the experts who are advising the Governor. I will ask our Commission to authorize me to send a letter to the Governor encouraging him to reopen the State when it is safe to do so, and when he does, I will work to make sure that the reopening happens as safely and swiftly as possible.
On a different but related note, I want to express my wish for our Country to truly reflect on the power of our Government. Our Country’s origin story is based on and rooted in a defense for liberty, on the principle that liberty is an end unto itself. I understand the growing population of this planet and the complexities of our society make comparisons to 1776 difficult to defend, but the principle is the same.
Perhaps a better comparison would be September 11th. I remember, after 9-11, there was a desire to give our government more power to violate many our rights in order to offer us more defense in the face of terrorism. In the end, the government proved unworthy of having that additional power, and yet, they have not let that power go. We may want the government to have the power to address a pandemic. We may need it to have that much power. But, once we accept they have this much power, what else will they do with it. It is a very American question to ask.