Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has started to receive some backlash recently and it is easy to see why. She issued an executive order that is causing Michigan residents to seriously re-evaluate her job performance. Her most recent executive order has expanded the current social distancing rules that were already put into place.
This has been a bridge too far for many. There are protests taking place and social media campaigns have already begun. They are looking to have her executive order repealed and some are even asking for an immediate recall election. This begs the question: how far is too far when it comes to an executive order that is issued during a state of emergency?
Whitmer is being accused of stripping the state’s conservative citizens of their constitutional rights. According to her, the order is more than justified and she has pointed to the virus’ continued spread as evidence. It is tough to deny the raw numbers. There have been over 1,600 deaths and at least 25,000 confirmed cases.
On the other hand, the current Stay at Home order may be overstepping the boundaries. No one can travel to their vacation homes, even if they are located in the state of Michigan. Michigan residents cannot use their own motorboats to go out onto the water. Larger stores have been asked to block off certain areas as a means of reducing foot traffic.
Those who do not comply with the order could be arrested or fined. We can understand why residents are irked by some aspects of this executive order. If a family is already living together and they are looking to travel together to their own vacation home, how are they adding to the risk factor?
This is a question that Whitmer is unable to answer. The motorboat aspect of the executive order is also baffling. Social distancing is important but we cannot think of any leisure activity that would offer the same amount of space. Unless you are the sort of person who cannot control your boat and you are crashing into your fellow water sport enthusiasts on a regular basis, it seems like a pretty safe activity from where we are sitting.
Whitmer also claims to have implemented the proper safety measures back on March 17. She made a big show out of going back and forth with President Trump over it but now we are wondering what all of the fuss was about. If she already put the necessary safety measures in place, why does she need to take any additional steps to protect Michigan residents?
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed one of the most restrictive stay-at-home orders in the country late last week in hopes of containing the coronavirus outbreak in her state — one of the hardest hit.
The backlash has been immense.
Michiganders, many from the more conservative areas of the state, believe Whitmer’s latest order went too far. They accused her of stripping them of their constitutional rights. Online, they pledged to protest, signed petitions calling for her recall and joined Facebook groups dedicated to having the order curtailed.
Whitmer’s executive action extended her prior stay-at-home order through the end of April and toughened it up.
At the time that the measures were put into effect, the state did not have any deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic. There were only 54 confirmed cases back in March. Since things have spiraled out of control since, it is fair to wonder if she actually knew what she was doing in the first place.
The same arc that has taken place in larger states has been replicated in Michigan. We can understand where the angry citizens are coming from but we somehow doubt that they are going to be able to get a recall vote started anytime soon. Whitmer is probably not going to back down just because a few of the state’s conservatives are not happy with her plan.
No governor is going to want to look weak and ineffectual in the face of crisis. Officials around the country have been given the chance to showcase their willingness to take control as the crisis has unfolded. When local officials are given the chance to flex their muscles, there are always going to be people who are unhappy with what transpires.
While some of these measures are definitely required, there are others that are not as necessary. Allowing politicians to assume this level of control can be dangerous. When Michigan residents are not being allowed to use their own boats or vacation homes, this is a sign that things have gone a bit too far. It is fair to wonder if governors like Whitmer will become addicted to their newfound power.
Once the nation has returned to a semblance of normalcy, governors and other local authorities must be ready to return to their normal duties. They must also stop to consider the needs of the voters who put them in power in the first place. Whitmer may have voted into her role but if she continues to abuse her power, she is going to find it difficult to win re-election once this is all said and done. She is not the only governor that will need to consider that aspect of the equation.