Did we miss a memo about a change in America’s governance?

Illinois has been ruled by executive order since March 2020. At this point, we have lost track of how many times Gov. JB Pritzker has invoked emergency powers. Back in August, the running total of executive orders was 80.

One man is making the rules for 12.6 million residents. He has wielded power over businesses’ operations, suspended enforcement of laws, closed schools, limited the size of public gatherings and more.

Illinois’ emergency management act states the governor’s emergency powers are limited to 30 days. But our governor says that he simply needs to issue new disaster proclamations are they expire. Those two things obviously contradict each other, so which is right? That is a question that can be answered by the Illinois General Assembly.

Unfortunately, it’s a question lawmakers don’t seem interested in answering as the fall session of the General Assembly came and went with no action.

And even more unfortunate, this isn’t just an Illinois problem. Executive orders continue to be the law of the land in America, too. President Joe Biden’s latest executive order — requiring COVID vaccinations for employees of companies with more than 100 employees — will impact some 84 million people. That puts the power on display here in Illinois to shame.

When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, quick decisions and actions were necessary. That’s why we have provisions in place to allow for short-term expanded powers in cases of emergencies. But as this pandemic rolls toward its second birthday, there is little reason for rules to be dictated rather than debated and implemented by elected representatives.

This isn’t how America works. We are a nation built on checks and balances. Our system of governance divides power among three branches so that no one person or entity becomes too powerful. This idea is at the core of America. This idea is America.

So, unless we missed the memo declaring this is no longer the case, we have a problem here. And if America stays asleep much longer, such a memo just might appear.

America, we implore you to wake up.