First episode of "Not Free America", a production of Breaking Through. This show is hosted by Mike Donovan, CEO of Nexus Services and one of the country's leading human rights activist.
This episode is the first of a daily update on what is happening in our country. Specifically the pandemic that we all know as COVID-19 This virus is deadly, and this pandemic will change the world. How will it change us? Will we lose our precious freedoms? Do we even still have them?
Get daily updates here from the front lines of the pandemic, as we discuss the virus, its affect on minority and socio-econmically disadvantaged communities, and the civil rights implications of our ever changing time.
MIKE DONOVAN: The America that we are living in right now, is not a Free America. Welcome to a special episode of breaking through radio. We bring you the Free State special that is going to be our continuing coverage of the Corona Virus, a pandemic in the United States and around the world. What's happening? What does it mean for our health and safety? What does it mean for our civil liberties? What is becoming of America and what can we expect on the other side of this pandemic?
That's what we're going to discuss. And we're going to bring you news and information each day that you need so that you can protect your family and stand up for your country. And that's really what we're talking about here folks. You know, I want to start just quickly by making an observation that the vast majority of the people who live in the United States of America right now are living under some type of government control of their basic constitutional rights.
It's about 90% of Americans when you consider the States that are under shut down orders and the States that have banned gatherings. And so we are talking about a significant change in the law in this country and what governor, state executives, and the president can say we can and can't do. And I think it's just a really important thing to gut check when we're going through crisis -- that we don't give away things that we'll never get back. And oftentimes constitutional rights or protections from government abuse are the kind of things that when you give them away, they don't come back.
I'm going to start today like I'm going to start every day -- by telling you that the Corona virus pandemic is not a hoax. It is real and it is spreading through our country like a wildfire. It will affect everyone and almost all of us will certainly know people affected and will likely know people who die.
This is a very serious disease. It is not, in my belief, a ploy or a ruse to grab the constitutional rights of Americans. But I do believe that is exactly what has happened and I do believe that the future looks -- in my mind circumspect. I think we have to really think about who we are as Americans and what it means to be an American because I think we're all going to have to make some pretty tough choices. You know, tough choices related to -- what does our economy look like on the other side of this disaster? What does our government look like? What does our healthcare system look like? You know, who has to answer for the tragedies that we're about to experience and walk through… the same tragedy as you see in Italy. The same you see in South Korea or in China.
And the reality is that that's coming to America. Nothing about this podcast or our time together should be taken as an indication that I don't believe in the pandemic or the dangers of the pandemic. I believe this is one of the single biggest human crises we've seen in our history as a country. That said, it is in those times that the value of being a free person is realized. You know, when I was a kid, my grandmother used to tell me that in good times everybody's your friend, and in good times everything's fine. It's when bad times come around that you really begin to understand who your friends are, who's going to be there for you. What does it mean to be alone, to be in crisis? And many people that live in the United States of America have not felt that -- Not at a level where there's a question about whether the government is going to be able to meet their needs.
I have news for you folks. This government is not able to meet our needs. This government does not have the resources stockpiled to be able to provide hospitals with enough respirators to keep Americans alive. And in this pandemic, we know that there are many, many people who will die because we do not have the equipment necessary to keep them alive. It is unconscionable. How do we fix that on the other side of this crisis? And as we see the apex approaching in places like New York and Detroit and New Orleans, we will learn important lessons about what happens when the darkest times of humanity meet the most desperate.
How do American law enforcement agents respond? For example, when people rush a hospital because they don't want their family to die alone? How is it, do you think, that the police will respond when people decide they don't want to be in their houses anymore? It's a difficult test. Everything is a test upon another test upon another test, isn't it? And I think the tests for all of us as Americans trying to not get sick, trying to take care of our families, trying to take care of our parents… I think for us, the test is not so much in what we will do in response to this crisis. The question really is, what will we give away?
In my time as an American citizen and a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia or the state of California or Colorado or elsewhere… I've never known my governor to be able to tell me I can't leave my house. I've never known my governor to be able to tell me that I can't go in a certain group of people to a movie or walking down the sidewalk. I've never known my governor to tell me that my church must close and I'm not allowed to assemble. Now I want to make this very clear. I don't believe people should be assembling and I believe people should be staying at home, but I don't think the governor of your state has the authority to tell you that you have to.
Specifically, let's talk about Virginia. And these orders exist in the majority of these United States. These orders, which almost all of them are patently unconstitutional, but in Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam issued his executive order -- well, he's actually got to executive order 53 in executive order 55 -- and in those executive orders, he restricts assemblies… and then the latter one, 55, is a stay at home order. The governor cites the Commonwealth of Virginia’s emergency services and disaster law of 2000 which is in the Virginia code section 44.14 6.13.
And in that statute it says the governor is empowered to, “proclaim and publish such rules and regulations and to issue such orders as may in his judgment be necessary to accomplish the purposes of this chapter. Now the purpose of the disaster statute is to confer upon the governor emergency powers in order to ensure that preparations of the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions will be adequate to protect the public peace, health, and safety and preserve the lives, property and economic wellbeing of the people of the Commonwealth.”
That's Virginia code section 44 dash one 46.14 82 -- The legislature conferred upon the governor in that statute for such a time as this, unlimited and unbridled power. The governor, his only restriction according to this statute, is his judgment.
Think about that for a minute. This is a man who appears in his medical school yearbook and either blackface or KKK outfit. This is a man who stood up and said it was him in the picture, then stood up and said it wasn't him in the picture. This is a man who single-handedly has mishandled very specific things in his tenure as governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and we have given him authority that hasn't been taken by any governor in the history of the Commonwealth since the time that the Commonwealth was ruled under martial law during the civil war and after reconstruction.
We are giving way too much power. It doesn't matter if a governor or the president doesn't abuse the power. Once we give the power away, we will never get it back. We're Americans. We fight Wars, we fight disease, we fight tyranny… The thing that unites us through all of our struggles is that we are a free people and it is the people of the United States who get to choose. The America that we are living in right now is not a free America. And when you allow your basic civil liberties to be abridged, that will never stop. And when you give away something as precious as your Liberty, well, it's kind of like virginity. You don't get it back.
Now, I believe in the constitution of the United States of America. I believe in the constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I believe in the promise of what it is to be an American and that is to be free. That is to have the responsibility. It's harder to be an American. In some places in the world you do what they tell you and you get by. The promise of the United States is that we won't do that to you here and the challenge of the United States is we won't do that to you here. You have to work. You have to figure it out. It's everybody working together. We don't get it right all the time. In fact, we never get it right. That's the whole point. We're constantly trying to get better. But when we give away our liberty, we're never going to get it back. I don't know what the United States looks like on the other side of this folks, but I know that the principle of what it is to be an American means the same now as it did ten years ago and will mean the same thing ten years from now. And that is to be a free person. Let us not slip into something incredibly un-American out of fear.
Fear is an incredible debilitater. But it unites darkness. And in that unity, horrible, horrible things can happen when free people don't stand to be free.
We're going to be doing these updates daily. Join me tomorrow when we discuss martial law. What is it? What is habeas Corpus, and has it been suspended in Virginia and across the United States? The answer might not surprise you. Thank you for joining us and we'll talk to you tomorrow. Thanks.