Happy Anniversary, King Andy, Governor Beshear!
March 18th, 2022
By Peter Hill
Happy Anniversary, King Andy Governor Beshear!
“Never waste a crisis.” If he didn’t coin the phrase, Rahm Emmanuel, Democratic Congressman and President Obama’s Chief of Staff, certainly used the quip. Crises are useful occasions to generate all kinds of government programs and expand government control. And Progressives are so fond of them that they tend to find crises everywhere. The greater the perceived emergency, the more “emergency measures” can be implemented, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the actual crisis.
I want to wish King Andy Governor Andy Beshear a Happy Anniversary. You may have forgotten that just two years ago – March 6, 2020 – when the very first COVID case was confirmed in Kentucky, Governor Beshear declared an emergency and gave himself emergency powers. The attorney (and former Attorney General) whose campaign ad proclaimed that he “fought to uphold Kentucky’s constitution and laws” then proceeded to violate Kentucky’s constitution and laws repeatedly, routinely, continually, aggressively, and arrogantly. No one could tell him “no” – not the Kentucky legislature, not Kentucky judges, not federal judges – until a unanimous Kentucky Supreme Court rebuked him. One would have thought that at least one justice would have bought his arguments. No. They were bad enough that not a single justice thought Governor Beshear’s legal arguments for his “emergency powers” were any good.
Kentucky Governors must “solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and be faithful and true to the Commonwealth of Kentucky so long as I continue to be a citizen thereof, and that I will faithfully execute, to the best of my ability, the office of Governor according to law…”
Governor Beshear abused his oath of office in two ways. First, he did not support the federal and Kentucky constitutions. He violated them. Second, he did not faithfully execute the office of Governor because he did not comply with Kentucky law. He violated it, too. If he found the laws constraining, he could have asked for new legislation. But, as a Progressive Democrat, he just went ahead and did what he wanted to do, regardless of how illegal it was. And it was plenty illegal.
This was a great example of what happens when a Progressive Democrat meets a perceived emergency. It is so hard for a progressive to give up power. They can do so much good when they don’t have to comply with a constitution, or have to seek legislative approval for their actions. They can simply issue decrees, like a king, the head of a Communist party, or a Fascist dictator. That is what Progressive Democrat Governor Beshear did. He not only declared an emergency, which is what the law allowed, but then declared emergency after emergency after emergency after emergency after emergency after emergency after… well, you get the idea. Even after assuming emergency powers, he violated other laws, and the Kentucky constitution, by using those emergency powers.
Do you remember what he did two years ago? By emergency executive order, he told all journalists, TV stations, radio stations, newspapers, and online purveyors of news and opinion that they could not go to work. They could not go to the office. The maximum number of people in the studio at any given time doing their First Amendment jobs was one. Two in the same office was a violation of his orders. Masking did not matter. Social distancing did not matter. The reporters could be wearing three masks apiece and 30 feet apart. That did not matter. He sent local health officials and state troopers to the parking lots taking down license plate numbers so these violators of his emergency decrees could be tracked down. Thankfully, he permitted them to work remotely, although that is rather difficult when you are supposed to be reporting on what goes on outside your home office, basement, or kitchen table. And then you need to share space with your kids, who are not in the classroom. Do you remember how hard it was for you to get news? What an interference with and violation of the First Amendment Freedom of the Press!
Oh, wait. It wasn’t journalists he shut down. What did King Andy Governor Beshear do? Oh, yes. It was churches and worship, another first amendment protected activity. In fact, he shut down nearly everything that was not on his “favored activity” list. He closed down worship services. He prohibited the free exercise of religion. He said the maximum number of people who could worship in one place, even if all were masked, and even if all were 30 feet apart, was one. Can you imagine the uproar if Government Beshear did to the press what he did to the churches? But sensitive Governor Beshear did not shut down everything. His “favored activities” could remain open for business. The liquor stores stayed open. The abortion clinics stayed open. Apparently, in his mind, those activities, which do not have constitutional protection, are more important than things such as worship, which do have constitutional protection. Odd. But true.
For Governor Beshear, it did not matter that the very first article in the federal Bill of Rights provides that no law will prohibit the free exercise of religion. For Governor Beshear, it did not matter that the very first Article in the Kentucky Constitution provides that among the “inherent and inalienable rights” of Kentuckians is “The right of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences.” The religious freedom statute of Kentucky, Kentucky Revised Statute 446.350, provides that “Government shall not substantially burden a person’s freedom of religion.”
These laws seem clear enough. But King Andy Governor Beshear, being a bright, highly educated Progressive Democrat, knew that he did not really have to comply with the law. He thought that violating these fundamental laws would be in the best interests of all Kentuckians, so who can complain? After all, Progressives think, these constitutional and statutory provisions get in the way of doing what is best for all of us. Better to just make the Christians conform, and some day, perhaps in 2020, 2021, 2022, or 2038, the COVID situation would improve so that church-going people could actually, you know, go to church. And to ensure these executive order violators conform, Governor Beshear and other Progressive Democratic leaders utilized the coercive powers of the Commonwealth. They sent out health officials and law enforcement personnel (police) to track down those rabble-rousing, COVID-spreading, ignorant, anti-social Christians.
King James I of England once said of some troublesome Protestants in his country, “They will conform or I will harry them out of the land.” And he did. We can thank King James for the Pilgrims coming to America. Where does King Andy Governor Beshear want to send these troublesome people who want the protection of the federal and Kentucky constitutions, and state law, and insist on doing what their faith commands them to do? Wherever it was, it was not a church service.
But sometimes, things catch up to Progressive Democrats. In this case, it was lost case after lost case. King Andy’s Governor Beshear’s executive decrees were so clearly a violation of so much law, that he began to lose and lose big. But this did not faze him. He continued with his restrictions until it became clear, even to him, that the laws of the U.S. and of Kentucky would be upheld, not his emergency orders. He finally resigned himself to letting those pesky Christians worship, and lifted some of his directives.
But why was this even necessary? Why should adherents of a faith need to litigate in order to practice their faith? In America? In Kentucky? If the first Article of the Kentucky Constitution, and the very first right in the federal Bill of Rights is so plain, and so prominent in our nation’s history and culture, why did Christians even have to resort to going to court?
Because arrogant Progressive Democrats consider themselves so morally and intellectually superior that they will not let a minor matter – such as constitutional law – stand in the way of a really good idea they have. After all, they know best. For Progressive Democrats, people cannot be allowed to make their own decisions, even if that choice is enshrined in law. The people really don’t know any better. They will insist on doing things like…, well, like going to church.
Governor Beshear has plenty of time left to inflict damage on the federal and Kentucky constitutions, and disobey Kentucky statutes. This lawyer and former Attorney General, who surely should know what the law is, confidently violated it, and his oath of office. It is not a matter of King Andy Governor Beshear not knowing what the law is. According to him, compliance with the law is for the little people. Progressive Democrats in power need not be confined by law.
If he finds another crisis and gets another chance, which parts of the constitution do you think he will violate next? What liberty would he endanger because he knows best?
Next time, we should elect someone who not only knows what the law is, but who also takes an oath of office seriously, and not with a knowing smirk and fingers crossed.
Peter Hill © February 28, 2022