Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs is pushing back against the stay-at-home edicts that were issued by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee on Thursday.
Lee ordered all Tennessee residents to stay home after a supposed uptick in travel across the state that occurred over the past few days. He deployed Big Brother to track the driving habits of state residents in order to justify his power grab that will be in effect until at least April 14.
While many Tennesseans have made good faith efforts to remain at home, recent @myTDOT traffic patterns indicate that some citizens are beginning to disregard safer at home measures. This is dangerous, unacceptable, and a threat to lives in our state. pic.twitter.com/fTaljG4U8Z
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) April 2, 2020
“I want to take a moment to speak directly to every Tennessean,” Lee said during his daily news conference on Thursday. “April stands to be a very tough month for our state. COVID-19 is an imminent threat and we need you to understand that staying home isn’t an option. It’s a requirement for the swift defeat of COVID-19 in Tennessee.”
Jacobs believes that Lee’s heavy-handed executive order will stress the limits of democracy. He has warned frequently about the long-term impacts of this move to abridge the basic freedoms of the people.
“I applaud the governor for following through with his convictions and fulfilling his duty to protect the people of Tennessee according to his best judgement,” Jacobs said while appearing on Facebook. “However, I cannot applaud any government monitoring the movements of its people and mandating virtually everything we are allowed to do.”
“I understand this is a crisis, but an economic crisis also looms with millions of people out of work and no way to earn a living, many of them due to mandated government shutdowns,” he added. “We also have a looming mental health crisis as individuals struggle with depression and feelings of hopelessness and isolation, exacerbated by job loss — some have already taken their own lives.”
Jacobs says that his county will abide by the order but feels that the restriction of liberty is edging the nation closer to authoritarianism. He quoted former President Abraham Lincoln from his iconic Gettyburg’s Address, by saying: “Government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this earth.”
“Knox County will, of course, comply with this executive order,” he said. “However, with our response to COVID-19, I fear that we may be testing the very limits of President Lincoln’s notion.”
He has been one of the few county leaders in the state of Tennessee not to declare a state of emergency over coronavirus, which has enraged the alarmists. The former professional wrestler turned libertarian politico has remained skeptical of proposals to shut the entire economy down to slow down the pandemic.
“I understand what the president is saying because he is looking at the big picture. We are responsible for the local level,” Jacobs said. “We need a measured response because everything varies greatly and we’re all on a sliding scale. For example, what’s good right now for Nashville might not be right for us. And what’s good for us might not be right for Nashville.”
Jacobs is one of the new politicians willing to take a stand against government overreach during a period when mass panic has swept over the country. He has brought attention to unintended consequences caused by the societal lockdown.
“My message to folks is that this isn’t going to be easy, but we’re going to get through it and there is a tomorrow but please don’t lose hope,” Jacobs said.
“It doesn’t mean that we withdraw and certainly doesn’t mean that we isolate ourselves. We need to be more socially connected than ever and we can do that through technology,” he added.