In many ways it is a happy Monday. The sun is shining. It’s a beautiful day in NE TX with a bright blue sky, a gentle breeze, and lots of flowers. I love to see the wildflowers that are now decorating the small fields I pass in my walks with my dog.
I think of this quote from Emerson, every time I see a new flower, and I smile.
Okay. Now to some serious business.
Since I’m from Michigan, and have many relatives still there, I have a vested interest in the state, and I deplore what’s been happening there in the past two weeks with protests.
First, it was just people in cars and trucks driving around the Capitol building, honking horns to signify that they were against the strict lock-down measures Governor Whitmore put in place. That I could live with. That was a protest by people who wanted to get back to work, letting the governor know their discontent via a peaceful, and non-threatening, protest.
Then last week, armed men and women stormed the Capitol Building and went face to face with guards, ramping up the protests to a whole new, and frankly scary level.
In an opinion piece for NBC News, Mallory McMorrow, state Senator, Michigan’s 13th District, shared her concerns. Instead of trying to paraphrase the essay, I’ll just share some paragraphs that resonated strongly with me. And I do encourage you to read the entire piece.
But then, there I was sitting at my desk on Thursday while protesters with rifles sat up in the gallery above us, yelling and trying to intimidate us as our sergeants-at-arms watched to ensure fingers weren’t on triggers, and as Michigan’s speaker of the House said “ … there’s nothing more American … ” and as the president of the United States tweeted, “these are very good people” — with no acknowledgment or condemnation by either of the swastikas, Confederate flags, noose, misogyny or threats of violence.
Everyone has a right to express themselves and let their voices be heard, and I will defend that right to my dying day. But this was different. It was dark, it was threatening and it was hate-filled. The more we allow such extreme, hate-driven views to speak with the loudest voice, the further away we move from fighting through this thing together.
What we desperately need now in my state is to unite around supporting our front-line workers, protecting families and fighting this virus together for the long haul. Instead, political leaders from the president of the United States to state Republican leaders fan the flames of fear to give voice to hatred, intimidation and threats of violence — and to gear up for November, instead of fighting this virus now.
In addition to weapons, protesters had Confederate flags swastikas, and a noose hung on the back of a truck. There was also a sign calling the Michigan governor a tyrant, with the text “Tyrants Get the Rope.” There was even a Trump “bridge” float.
Michigan had the highest rates of new cases of the virus for much of April, third behind New York and New Jersey, even though the population is much less. In her response to these staggering numbers, Governor Gretchen Whitmore may have gone to the extreme in her lock-down orders, but isn’t it better to err on the side of caution? Wasn’t it better to be strict and see the numbers of new cases go down? Michigan is now number 7 in the list of the most corona virus cases.
When McMorrow’s wrote that Michigan Sen. Marshall Bullock lost 27 people close to him, family and friends, to the virus, I wanted to weep. I can’t imagine the heaviness of his grief, and he is not alone. Others are losing friends and family members, often without being able to say goodbye, and that just makes the grief harder to bear.
Something else I’ve found very distressing is the rising chorus of people saying that the elderly and infirm should go ahead and die to save the economy. That sentiment isn’t anything new. Long before the Jewish genocide, the Nazis persecuted people they deemed unfit, including the infirm and those who were too old to be a productive member of German society. And now that so many members of the Republican party are openly supporting that Nazi philosophy, while leaders of the GOP excuse the behavior, or just look the other way, I wonder where we are headed as a country.
That’s all for me for today folks. I’m going to go out and smell the roses. I hope you have a good week. Stay safe. Stay well. Stay happy.