A large and raucous crowd has shown up for what organizers are calling "Operation Gridlock" at the Michigan state capitol Wednesday in Lansing.
People — both in their cars and on the sidewalks — gathered Wednesday to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order.
Organizers of the rally want some of the Stay Home restrictions eased and the state economy re-started.
Those taking part have been urged stay in their vehicle and practice safe hygiene. "Cars should be filled with only members of your immediate family. No carpooling since gas is cheap!" organizers told supporters, in a news release. "Stay in your vehicle so that the 'Whitmer police' cannot say you are ignoring the 'social distancing' order."
What is all about? As debate rages about the intersecting priorities of public health and economic vitality, the Michigan Conservative Coalition is calling for people to head out in their cars and display signs, make noise and be disruptive.
Organizers are protesting, among other things, what they say is irregularity in the rules that allows "dope shops" to stay open while "cigar shops" are closed. They're upset that the order applies to all of Michigan, instead of just hotspots like metro Detroit, and argue that amid a pandemic citizens can be trusted to keep themselves safe. “When did one size solve everyone’s local issues?" an organizer of the protest asked. "Governor Whitmer will put you out of business before allowing mere citizens to be responsible for their own behavior. That is madness.”
Meshawn Maddock, Chair of the 11th District Republican Committee and an organizer of the road rally noted that, "numerous outdoor jobs like landscaping, nurseries, excavation and lawn services are shut down. Heart surgeries are banned as non-essential, but abortion clinics remain open. Construction — including some road repair — is shut down, though other neighboring states aren't doing that.
Also raiding some ire: Easter and Passover services were effectively cancelled by a government order. "The madness needs to end before Michigan’s freedoms and economy are damaged beyond repair by power hungry bureaucrats," the group said.
Organizers are urging those who support the effort to reopen the economy regardless of any potential ill effect on public health to call your Michigan Representative, or Senator or even the Capitol. "We will remind the globalist elites in Lansing that it is a citizen’s right to make a complaint to, or seek the assistance of, one’s government without fear of punishment or reprisal," the group said.
Gov. Whitmer, meanwhile, isn't budging on her order, in effect through April 30, which says is science-based and designed to keep the deadly COVID-19 from spreading in Michigan.
Whitmer said while she supports the right to demonstrate, she doesn't agree with this action by the Michigan Conservative Coalition.
"This group is funded in large part by the DeVos family," the governor asserted at a news conference Monday. "And I think it's really inappropriate for a sitting members of the United States President's cabinet (Education Secretary Betsy DeVos) to waging political tax on any governor."
"I think that they they should disavow it, and I encourage people to stay home and be safe."