Pope’s Politburo: Is this America?

A politburo (/ˈpɒlɪtbjʊəroʊ/) or political bureau is the executive committee for communist parties.[1] It is present in most former and existing communist states (Wikipedia).

After consulting with no one before closing Lubbock six weeks ago, Mayor Dan Pope has decided a committee of 20 are necessary to decide when and how to open Lubbock. Their meetings are closed to the public, in fact, they were already meeting before their names were even released. It’s Pope’s Politburo.

That’s right, a confidential committee meeting in secret controls your life, liberty and livelihood.

The committee size alone leaves it looking more like a campaign steering committee than a working one.

Is this America?

It’s not the America we grew up with, but we’ve read about a place like this, and we called it the evil empire.

Let’s be clear at the outset who these people are: well-intentioned citizens with a strong sense of civic duty and excellent reputations.

The first quality, a strong sense of civic duty, was necessary in order for the mayor to manipulate each into fading the heat for him on a task that is his and his alone; and the second, excellent reputations, is exactly what the mayor is hoping to appropriate for himself and his rapidly evaporating political capital account. The committee size alone leaves it looking a lot more like a campaign steering committee than a working one.

We fault them not for serving, but this isn’t their job. Pope’s Politburo cannot, even with a unanimous voice, open Lubbock.  We don’t need your rules, mayor, but if we did, the council could draw them up in an hour. Oh, wait, the council can’t deliberate in secret.

But why would Pope’s Politburo meet in secret, unless there is something going on the city czar doesn’t want the people to know? What aren’t you telling us, Mayor Pope?

Perhaps businesses should join together in some sort of organization whose mission is to advocate for business at the city level.

Mayor Pope certainly acts the role of the city czar. Like any ruler of privilege, he ignored his own social distancing directives while being chauffeured by councilman Christian in mockery of Lubbock citizens who dared protest. You can’t get six feet away from one another in an automobile, certainly not in Randy’s Nissan.

But everyone knows the rules don’t apply to the czar.

And if Pope is the city czar, the evil Rasputin to this czar is a city manager who uses the might and power of law enforcement to close business. If you think business isn’t being closed at gunpoint, try telling the fire marshal to come back tomorrow with a warrant. The city has even gone so far as to encourage Lubbock citizens to spy on one another and snitch on each other to Rasputin’s secret police, the fire marshal office.

This is what we’ve become, Lubbock.

Ten days ago, we asked to interview the city manager as to why Lubbock has closed businesses the governor of Texas allows open. To date, he refuses to interview. Does Rasputin believe himself to be untouchable? They all are, until they aren’t.

Abilene, Amarillo and Midland are open … but our mayor knows better.

Is this America?

Nope, and it’s not Amarillo, Abilene or Midland either. They are each open to one degree or another, more than Lubbock. But our mayor knows better. And his work is being done in secret.

There was no disaster here. There was only fear of a disaster. There is unquestionably a threat. But the disaster in Lubbock is the one created by the radical and unnecessary near absolute closure of all business. A closure that did not take into consideration the law, the emotional and mental health of those sent home to wait to die or starve, the alcohol and drug addiction, or all of the lives that may be destroyed or lost because of financial ruin.

As you might guess, the city czar’s fortune is not at risk here. He’s made his; tough luck for yours.

This is a mayor who talks of citizens being “infected” with the “capitalist spirit” as if it were a disease.

Is this America?

It’s sure not Lubbock, not the Lubbock we know.

Mayor Pope wouldn’t know it; he’s not one of us, anymore than his Rasputin is. This is a mayor who talks of citizens being “infected” with the “capitalist spirit” as if it were a disease. Well, the city czar has certainly halted the spread of the infectious capitalistic spirit, hasn’t he? Would that Pope was as effective at killing the coronavirus as he is at exterminating small business.

Big businesses, on the other hand, like Target, are delighted Pope allows them to remain open and sell what ten thousand small businesses in Lubbock wish they could. And, oddly enough, even though shelf-space-shortages and restaurant closures have forced most of us into the grocery every third day, somehow those businesses have not become centers of infection. So why not trust small business?

Lubbock council members Joy and Griffith understand Lubbock and small business. Both have now spoken clearly and publicly that it is time to open Lubbock.

Sidebar: In the future, perhaps businesses should join together in some sort of organization whose mission is to advocate for business friendly policies at the city level. Lubbock business could use an organization like that right now. It’s an idea worth exploring.

Meanwhile, there have been no layoffs at city hall. The city of Lubbock is working … to keep you closed.

Would that Pope was as effective at killing the coronavirus as he is at exterminating small business.

Is this America?

It’s not. But it can be.

This nation has time honored traditions of how to deal with the edicts of despotic leaders. The first step is to ignore them like the mayor ignored the law when he shut down the churches. Ignore Pope’s rules the way Pope ignored them when he hitched a ride with Councilman Christian.

Mayor Dan Pope and Councilman Randy Christian appear to have no concern for Pope's social distancing rules on April 18, 2020.
Mayor Dan Pope and Councilman Randy Christian appear to have no concern for Pope’s social distancing rules on April 18, 2020.

Why not open Lubbock on May 1 whether city czar Pope has made up his mind or not? Use reasonable standards. People may stay home or go to work at their own risk, but let’s take back our liberty and let it be our decision.

Let Rasputin try to shut down 1,000 businesses. And let him attempt to leverage Lubbock police into doing his dirty work. Lubbock police are disinclined to the heavy-handed and anti-business tactics of the fire marshal office. Police are trained to respect civil liberties; it’s fair to say the fire marshal training doesn’t linger long over constitutional rights.

May 1. It gives the city czar time to put together his rules, blame them on Pope’s Politburo to avoid personal responsibility, and to “save” the city he has devastated by shutting thousands of businesses that needn’t be closed.

Liberate Lubbock by May 1 or Lubbock will liberate itself!

Here’s your plan to recover Lubbock, mayor: unlock the doors. There isn’t enough government to fix this, so get out of the way.

It is time for businesses and individuals to assert their right to pursue life, liberty and livelihood without fear-mongering and Rasputinesque city officials getting in the way.

Liberate Lubbock by May 1, or Lubbock will liberate itself!

You may also enjoy reading Enough is Enough by this author, as well as editor Terry Greenberg’s response to this column.