Lansing demonstration deepens divisions, extends state of emergency
By flooding the streets around the Michigan capitol and worse yet, disregarding social distancing by mingling in large groups around the building, the ironically named group “Michigan United for Liberty” effectively moved our state further away from their stated goals. Refusing to wear any personal protective equipment such as gloves or masks only serves to further spread the Covid-19 virus and will surely extend Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay safe, stay at home” order. Politicizing the event with images of swastikas, confederate flags and calls to recall, or worse yet, lynch the governor can only further divide us.
After weeks without federal direction or coordination, Gov. Whitmer took decisive action to protect residents both from the spread of the disease and its economic impacts. In the wake of historic job losses, she prevented compounding the problem with a wave of homelessness by placing a moratorium on evictions. She negotiated with insurance companies to eliminate co-pays for testing and treatment for Covid-19 so cost would not be a barrier to care. Easing restrictions on our travel and personal interactions now, just as the curve is beginning to flatten, would be reckless if not criminal.
To be sure, we are no strangers to mass demonstrations in Lansing. Michigan United frequently stages direct actions in and around the capitol. But we prepare thoroughly and have marshals to maintain order and keep everyone safe and within the four corners of the law. Wednesday’s demonstration, by contrast, blocked roadways so badly that ambulances could not enter Sparrow hospital nor could medical staff, already overworked by the pandemic, either leave or be relieved by the next shift.
We at Michigan United were horrified by the threat this demonstration posed to frontline medical staff and the public at large. Moreover, we stand in direct opposition to this DeVos backed organization’s efforts to inspire residents, particularly those in rural communities, to act against their own self-interests for safety and prosperity. We will continue to reach out to them through our MI Hometown Voices campaign to unite everyone across the state and promote our general welfare.