King Pritzker Clutches to His Crown in a Desperate Power Grab

Written By Evan O’Bryan

When COVID-19 first emerged as a major issue in the news, Gov. JB Pritzker (D-IL) seized the opportunity to grant himself more power by declaring a state of emergency. Was Pritzker really under the impression that COVID-19 was such a major concern that he had to use these emergency powers? Perhaps in the beginning his concerns were legitimate, but after about 23 months, I think it’s obvious that his motives are not merely COVID-centric anymore: He wants to grasp as much power for the executive branch as he can before the COVID panic wears off (setting a precedent) because he is a corrupt, power-hungry control freak like so many other liberal politicians.

There has not been much opposition to Pritzker’s sinister attempt at a power grab until recently. Dan Ugaste, a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, and other Republicans are starting to push back, but the only problem is that many Democrats, which comprise a super-majority in the Illinois General Assembly, refuse to join Republicans in this effort. In a speech to the General Assembly in March, Ugaste urged other members to impose limits on the amount of time that a governor can declare a state of emergency.

This is exactly what should be done if we want to continue living  in a republic where “we the people” have a say in how public policy should be handled. In our form of government, the people should have at least some say in how we respond to the COVID threat. Yet as of even now, we have one guy making unilateral decisions, running the entire show in Illinois. What’s the point of having state legislators if they do not even have a say in how major issues such as COVID are to be handled?

One of the Democrats’ favorite things to say is that Republicans are “a danger to our democracy.” That is not even the slightest bit true, and yet this situation ironically shows what party, if any, is a danger to Democracy. There is a place for emergency powers, but Pritzker has taken abused those powers for far too long. The funny thing about Section 7 in the Illinois Emergency Management Act is that it does attempt to limit the governor’s powers, but fails miserably. It says that the time period in which the governor has access to these emergency powers will not exceed 30 days; however, the glaring problem in this section is that he can just declare the same emergency again when his 30 days are over, and then again and again. This 30-day rule doesn’t even remotely help limit the time Pritzker can have his emergency powers. Rather, it allows one-man rule over a state as long as he calls it “an emergency.”

The most concerning thing about all of this is the precedent that it sets. While the COVID restrictions that resulted from this debacle have clearly been very harmful to our state’s economic and social prosperity, this may just be the beginning of what a future governor, perhaps in Illinois or elsewhere, will do with this power. Sure, it made sense for governors to declare an emergency for COVID in the beginning. But not one elected official in the Illinois General Assembly tried stop him from declaring emergency after emergency initially. So now what would stop him from declaring an emergency about whatever he wants in the future? We have clearly seen that he can declare COVID a disaster despite the fact that COVID is not an emergency anymore. This sets a dangerous precedent of governors being able to declare a disaster when, in reality, there is no emergency.

Maybe in the future Gov. Pritzker will declare people who are unvaccinated a disaster since they would “put other people in danger.” What other things could he declare a disaster that would give him unbridled power to do whatever he wants? As you can imagine, the list might be quite long. Like I said earlier, I do think that the ability to declare something a disaster and give the governor certain powers is not only reasonable, but also important., Still, for things such as COVID, it does not make sense.

Emergency powers should only be used in situations where there isn’t enough time to safely go through the proper legislative processes. In the beginning of COVID, many people thought that time was of the essence for dealing with the spread of the virus. Fine. But after a certain point in dealing with this emergency, “We, the People” through our elected representatives should have the ability to make well thought out decisions for our state’s 13 million people – not just one person. Our system of checks and balances was initiated to prevent this type of corrupting unilateral authority.

We now know that this whole COVID situation is no longer an emergency, yet Pritzker refuses to give up his emergency powers. Perhaps much of the devastating economic and social effects of this emergency, not to mention deaths from COVID, could have been prevented if we had not allowed one man controlling everything, and not to mention, very poorly as well.

Corrupt politicians will take every opportunity to gain power, and we have seen this transpire throughout the entirety of COVID. Federally, we have seen lots of misuse of executive orders from both sides of the aisle, and I think that it’s time that we call these politicians out. It seems like every president pushes the boundaries when it comes to executive orders more than the previous one.

There are times when direct and quick action is needed. I get that. But governors and even presidents are abusing these powers in times of perceived danger. They are being used when time is not important; the speed in which decisions are made is not important; and when no imminent threat is remotely visible; I know its cliché to say, but our republic is in danger. Politicians are becoming bolder in their attempts to accrue power, and the American people need to let them know that enough is enough. In the case of Pritzker, two years is far more than enough. In the 2022 election cycle, we can do more than send a strong message, we can elect courageous lawmakers who refuse to allow these types of abuses to drag on and on.

Evan O’Bryan is a high school senior and aspiring political influencer who has been raised in the faith and Christian education since preschool. He is a staunch supporter of Christianity, the MAGA movement, and Conservative ideology. He enjoys challenging the mainstream liberal narrative with those who haven’t yet reached the truth.