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Thomas Gallatin / Apr. 16, 2020

Michigan Residents Protest Extreme Lockdown Orders

The pandemic-induced shutdown and infringement of Liberty has tension boiling over.

In Lansing, Michigan, thousands of people descended on the state capitol to join in “Operation Gridlock,” a drive-in event aimed at shutting down traffic to protest Democrat Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extreme lockdown orders. “Our governor and her allies are infecting all of us with their radical progressive agenda,” asserted the Michigan Conservative Coalition, which organized the protest. “Dope stores? Open. Abortion clinics? Open. Churches? Shut down. Local businesses? Going broke! People always say: ‘Conservatives never protest because they are too busy working.’ Well guess what. You’re not working — so it’s time to protest.”

The organization’s founder, Marian Sheridan, argued, “We can get this rally done and stay within social-distancing guidelines. Citizens are quite frankly tired of being treated like babies. As adults, we now know what needs to be done to stay safe.”

The fact of the matter is Gov. Whitmer brought this protest upon herself. Whitmer perhaps hoped to make a splash after being floated as Joe Biden’s possible running mate, so she enacted an especially heavy-handed lockdown order, clearly crossing over constitutional boundaries protecting individual freedoms and rights. So extreme and arbitrary have been Whitmer’s orders that four sheriffs in the state publicly announced their refusal to enforce them.

Like many other state governors, Whitmer early on ordered social-distancing restrictions with the goal of flattening the curve of infections. As weeks have passed, state residents have become increasingly concerned and agitated about the lack of any plan to address the economic consequences of the prolonged shutdown and the failure to issue a timeline for starting up again. In response, Whitmer doubled down and expanded her original lockdown restrictions. She banned the sale of “nonessential” goods such as clothing, seeds, and car seats, prohibited boating, and restricted visits to other residences. For example, under her new orders, retailers are required to block off sections of the store selling what she has deemed “nonessential” items.

Her tyrannical orders evoked a rebuke from Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who argued, “Several recent measures provide marginal benefits at best, while substantially heightening frustration and resentment. Sensible instructions to practice social distancing, wear masks, and stay at home already do most of the work to reduce the virus’s spread. By pushing too far, the governor undermines her own authority and increases the likelihood people will not follow reasonable guidelines.” He added, “As a federal official, I do my best to stay out of state politics. But I have a constitutional duty to ensure states don’t trample on the rights of the people. Whitmer’s latest order goes too far and will erode confidence in her leadership. She should immediately reassess it.”

Michigan hasn’t been the only state to see protests, either. Residents of Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Virginia have also begun protesting the China Virus shutdowns. The longer these state-mandated shutdowns continue, the more Americans will grow disgruntled — especially as they’re forced into the unemployment line because they’re not allowed to work. What many of these governors may not appreciate or realize is the ticking time bomb they’re sitting on. If people aren’t allowed to go back to work soon, these currently small protests could quickly explode into a wildfire.

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