• Jeff Utsch

What Gov. Doug Ducey Should Have Told Arizona

This “pandemic” is not what it was first made out to be. That much should be crystal clear to all.

It still poses risks, yes. But, the sooner society adapts to the newer information, the better-off we will be as community, state, and nation.

The problem: too many of our elected officials hate to be wrong and would rather double-down on a mistake than change course. They are subject to massive pressure from a mainstream media ready to dictate, then shame. Mark Twain’s assertion that, “It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled”, has never been more accurate

Against that backdrop, a true leader, one trusted to balance the interests and rights of seven million residents, could have made a huge impact and blazed a trail for 49 counterparts.

Alas, the opportunity has passed. The pity? Our leaders do not know their history. In America, time and again, we have seen that if we are to err, let us do so on the side of liberty. History has not been kind to those who do otherwise.

I am not a speechwriter; I do not formulate views in order to appease or assure reelection; I am but a citizen-historian who celebrates spine and laments capitulation. Below, I offer the speech an enlightened, fearless governor could have given.

Citizens of Arizona.

I am humbled to be your governor in this time of crisis and trial. I do not take lightly the demands of the office and decisions mine to take.

I am liable to make mistakes, like anyone else, but always act with conviction gleaned from the best information in my reach. Though they are mine alone to take, I do not make my decisions alone.

Safety in council is a principle I live with. I have sought counsel, not merely of the best medical experts, but also of economists, historians, attorneys, business leaders, ecclesiastical leaders, and others.

As a consequence, I am able to take a holistic approach to the crisis in which we find ourselves. I complement this compendium of expertise with earnest prayer in hopes that God will give me the insight and wisdom to select the best path.

In the past 6 weeks, we have asked Arizonans to comply with restrictions to save lives and serve our fellow man.

You have done exceptionally; I couldn’t have asked for more.

You gave of your time, talent, energy, money, freedom and livelihoods to protect not only the ones you love, but strangers, alike. I am awed.

These sacrifices have not been in vain.

We have flattened the curve and slowed the spread of this virus until today—and now we know more about it. The initial models that foretold doomsday were flawed.

Our decisions to this point are logical and sound. We acted on the strength of the best information in our reach. Our well-being at moments of uncertainty mandated nothing less.

But, there are other priorities, as well.

When it becomes clear that a reaction is more detrimental than a virus’s effects, it is time to make a change.

As such, the State will continue to make recommendations to businesses, churches, families and individuals, but – and here is a seminal change — you will be able to choose how you want to live your lives.

Each of you has had a lifetime at being an expert at making decisions. Those are the decisions that have made our nation great.

You are worthy of the liberty that our forefathers bought at such a dear price. Time and again, It has affirmed that you are responsible and trustworthy to take your own path.

So, if you want to stay locked down or shut in, that is fine.

We have many in a higher risk category and if this is your choice, we will help you in every way that we can.

If you want to resume living as you did previously, we will not stand in your way. We must remember that it was, first, you, the private sector which made drastic changes because of this threat — starting with the National Basketball Association.

Each business may now choose its own responsible path, according to its own unique circumstances.

I offer, in support, the words of Abraham Lincoln:

“(I) am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong.”

Your governor, my friends, has had more light shed upon him.

It is always best to let liberty have a seat at the table. In our nation, it always has. This was, and is, our first principle and as governor I subscribe solemnly to the view that the first and primary role of government is to protect your unalienable rights.

Temporary restrictions have their moment but must be used only in the most exigent of circumstances.

To extend these restrictions, based on what we know now, would set a horrible precedent. With freedom comes opportunity and without opportunity there will be more devastation within our state than this virus will cause.

While there will be critics of these decisions, I must look out for the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness of all our citizens.

What I have learned from my business career, a student of history and as your governor is if we are to err, let us do so on the side of liberty.

For, in liberty, we have found our greatest friend.

It was the greatest friend of our forefathers whose inspiration it was.

It was the greatest friend of the slave who was freed from bondage

It has been the greatest friend of extending– and saving– lives at home and abroad

It has been the greatest friend to our health care system, whose innovations have been miraculous

It has been the greatest friend of prosperity for the most

It has been the greatest friend of our right to worship as we see fit

It has been our greatest friend in allowing people to reach their full measure

It has been the greatest friend of those wanting to express themselves and find truth

And it will continue to be our greatest friend as long as we cherish it and hold it dear.

Therefore, I will stick with my friend, liberty, who has been faithful to us through many generations.

To safeguard liberty into the future, I will be calling a special session of the legislature to discuss areas in which I do not think our Revised Statues provide sufficient guidance on the powers of the executive and what should be considered a state of emergency.

The statutes, as written now, are vague and lend themselves to abuse by a governor disinterested in liberty.

We face a daunting task with a fulcrum that is hard to define. When, we must ask, ought the protections of our Constitution be subordinated to the health and safety of our people?

We will take as long as we need to make sure we get this balance right so we are more prepared in the future to take on any challenge that confronts us.

It is with a firm reliance on providence and the great American spirit that still dwells among us that gives me great optimism towards the future of our state. Thank you for all you have done, and May God bless you all for your efforts in passing this test so well.

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