The phrase “the Arrogance of officialdom” is said to come from the sage words of Roman statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero. I am quite sure neither the mayor of Dallas, Eric Johnson, nor the Dallas County judge, Clay Jenkins have read Cicero, but they are surely examples of what Cicero was warning us about.
Yesterday I was honored to be a part of a rally in Dealey Plaza, downtown Dallas, advocating for the complete reopening of the Texas economy. I was honored to be a part of the event which featured Shelley Luther, the recently jailed and released salon owner who stood for her right to earn a living wage.
Today, I read the disgusting, cowardly opinion commentary of the Dallas Mayor, Eric Johnson, in the abysmal Dallas Morning News.
“I don’t know Shelley Luther, the owner of Salon à la Mode. I don’t know her life or her character beyond what I have read in court documents and in countless news stories. And because our city attorney has pursued litigation, I have avoided commenting on the details of the case.
But I will say that I have been troubled by the reaction to this spectacle. The intense reaction we have seen is endemic of the larger devolution into partisanship during this COVID-19 response.
I ran for mayor in part because I wanted to leave behind partisanship and focus on solving problems. Partisanship offers a reprieve from nuance by providing for the tantalizing convenience of a simple us-versus-them narrative featuring white hats rather than shades of gray.
In this made-for-TV conflict, state District Judge Eric Moyé is either the honorable hero or a sinister villain for sentencing Luther to jail time for contempt. Some may have made heroes or heavies of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, Gov. Greg Abbott, Attorney General Ken Paxton or me.
We’re all characters in this story to varying degrees, but it’s not really about any of us. It’s about all of us, and it’s about fear. We’re all afraid right now. We’re afraid for ourselves and for our loved ones and neighbors.
That’s why I see no value in all the hubbub over a hair salon. We can’t afford to make martyrs out of those who flout the rule of law. And we can’t send the mixed message that public health guidelines are critical unless it’s unprofitable for you to follow them. That is an affront to those who follow the rules and act responsibly in these incredibly challenging times.
We are going to have to continue living in uncertainty, and we will have to learn to make our peace with it, even as we look for treatments and cures and push for increased testing, contact tracing and public health measures.
Bravado, haircut photo ops and partisan antics are not cures in this fight of our lives. Put down your arms. Only love and empathy will see us through.”
I find this a most offensive and condescending letter.I find this a most offensive and condescending letter, @DallasMayor Johnson. Its arrogance produces a grand stench in my nostrils. #ShelleyLuther Click To Tweet
Mayor Johnson, it is the epitome of cowardice for you to write this letter after the rally held on Saturday. If you had any understanding of what leadership is, you would have been there yourself. Let me educate you a little on civics: laws are passed by a duly elected legislative body of representatives of the people. Edicts, mandates, decrees, and orders are not the way we operate in a Constitutional Republic.
Shelley Luther did not break any law and neither Governor Abbott, Clay Jenkins, nor you have the enumerated right to dictate to us and suspend our unalienable constitutional rights, especially over a virus that has a 99.6 percent recovery rate.
The arrogance of your letter produces a grand stench in my nostrils. The fear, panic, paranoia, and hysteria have all been produced by a lack of leadership resulting in an unnecessary burden upon law-abiding citizens of Texas. You, nor any other elected official, have the enumerated power to determine who or what is “essential.” You are not responsible for protecting our health, your charge is to protect our rights, freedoms, and liberty. While you are at it, fix the doggone roads and reduce crime.@DallasMayor, you are not responsible for protecting our health, your charge is to protect our rights, freedoms, and liberty. While you are at it, fix the doggone roads and reduce crime. Click To Tweet
Public health guidelines? That is correct, give us guidelines, and we can adjust our lives to accommodate, but idiots such as yourself have taken the state with the 10th largest economy in the world and turned it into a massive jumble with unemployment claims of over 10 percent. There are some 2.1 million Dallasites, and if my research serves me correctly, there have been less than 200 COVID-19 related deaths. Any death is tragic, but consider the number of citizens in Dallas who are now unemployed, businesses that may never recover, and the long-term effect that has upon the quality of life, not to mention the uptick in suicides.
Again, all of this over a virus with a 99.6 percent recovery rate.
Standing up for the indomitable individual entrepreneurial spirit of Texans — Americans — is not bravado. Standing up for our individual unalienable rights, freedoms, and liberty should not be partisan. Since April 19, 1775, and October 2, 1835, Americans and Texans have understood that we are not subjects, we are free people.
Perhaps, Mayor Johnson, you should read Thomas Paine’s 1776 pamphlet “The Crisis.” I will leave you with his immortal words:
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”
The spirit of Texas is the spirit of sacrifice, not subjugation to illegal martial law and house arrest. As a young 26-year-old wrote from The Alamo, “Victory or Death.” Mayor Eric Johnson, choose on which side of the line in the sand you will stand. If your letter is any indication, we all know which side you have chosen…that of cowardice.