Controversial stay-at-home measures in Michigan that launched a street protest in Lansing are proving that the cure is worse than the disease, says a conservative activist.
Thousands of Michiganders participated in a street protest last week (pictured at left) dubbed “Operation Gridlock” to oppose measures imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. She became famous overnight for nonsensical rules that banned fishing, for example, but allowed kayaking during the virus outbreak.
Whitmer has also been criticized for deciding what items are “essential” for leaving your home, like basics such as groceries and medicine, but stores were literally roping off items the governor deemed “non-essential” such as garden seeds and hardware supplies.
An 'absurd' policy in New Jersey
New Jersey's governor is being criticized for closing every state park in The Garden State to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Jeff Stier of Taxpayers Protection Alliance says that is a foolish rule for New Jersey, where he lives, and where much of the state is rural and open.
"In western and northwestern New Jersey, which is really rural, you can't go to a state park and a hiking trail where -- on a regular day -- it's not crowded," he complains.
He calls the rule "absurd" when the state is home to "huge" state parks where people could abide by social-distancing rules if permitted to do so.
Despite the outcry, Whitmer described her stay-at-home orders to CNN as “one of the nation’s more conservative” compared to other states.
Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan, says public anger comes from the fact that 80 percent of the state’s cases are concentrated in three counties, all of them in and around hard-hit Detroit.
“You've got, at last count, about a dozen counties in Michigan that don't even have one case in the northern areas of the state,” he tells OneNewsNow. “And yet [Whitmer’s] imposing a one-size-fits-all policy.”
Glenn spoke to OneNewsNow last week, when some counties did in fact show zero confirmed cases, and the state’s newest figures show 25 counties have cases still in the single digits as of Sunday, April 19.
In all, 52 Michigan counties had 50 or fewer confirmed cases heading into the weekend.
After the protests last week, Gov. Whitmer defended her actions by suggesting Michigan has the third-highest death rate in the U.S. and thus the controversial measures prevented even more.
According to the Statista.com website, Michigan’s fatality rate ranks sixth with 24 fatalities out of 100,000 residents.
According to Glenn, the Republican-led legislature is attempting to balance the virus outbreak with the reality that employees are losing their jobs and business owners are turning off the lights.
“Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mike Shirkey has said that the governor is threatening the lives of far more people in Michigan with these restrictions,” Glenn says, “that will have dramatic economic impact on them and their families, especially low-income families, than is posed by the disease itself."
CNBC reported in an April 16 story, in fact, that Michigan and Pennyslvania are reporting the worst unemployment numbers: One out of five workers in those states have filed for unemployment, the news network reported.
That grim reality mirrors much of the United States, where 3.2 million unemployment claims shattered a record in late March, which entirely flipped record-setting U.S. employment records and a rallying stock market.
Yet this new push for cites and states to ease lockdown restrictions, and to open more businesses, is facing claims that doing so puts profits above lives. During a Colorado protest last week, health care workers wearing scrubs and masks count-protested by blocking automobiles involved in that event.
A columnist for The Miami Herald joked online that newly opened beaches in Florida will "thin the ranks" of GOP supporters who "value money over health."
Facebook, the social media giant, is taking down announcements of protests in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska at the request of the state's governors, CNN reported Monday, citing a spokesman for Facebook.
Back in Michigan, Glenn says the state legislature must decide whether to extend the governor’s declaration, which is set to expire Thursday, April 30.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with a sidebar story.