by Scott McClallen
About 250 protesters braved a downpour of rain Thursday to object to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders on the Capitol lawn.
Protesters clad in rain gear brought signs wrapped in plastic to share their displeasure with the first-term Democrat’s response to COVID-19.
Signs read, “We the people, not you the dictator.”
“Small business is essential,” read another.
This was the smallest of the past three protests within the last month, dampened by heavy rain and less advertising as Facebook removed two groups this week in which anti-quarantine residents often posted events and frustrations.
Michigan United for Liberty, one group that’s page was removed, dubbed their event as a “Judgment Day” aiming “to convey to our lawmakers, state officials, and the public that the people of Michigan will passionately defend our freedom and prosperity,” the group said in a statement.
Lightning shot across the sky as J.J Stempien, a West Bloomfield resident, stood next to a friend who was yelling support for letting hairdressers return to work while carrying a pair of cardboard scissors.
“I think that the cure is worse than the virus,” Stempien said. “The virus is certainly real, and it is deadly, but only to that higher-risk [groups].”
She recommended sheltering those who are most vulnerable and letting healthy people develop herd immunity.
“This is the first time in history we’ve ever quarantined the healthy,” she said.
Extending lockdowns “will cause more suffering and death from child abuse, domestic abuse, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, suicide, and loss of livelihood,” Stempien said. “There’s going to be way more suffering and death from those things than from the actual virus.”
Larry Schlenker lives in Jackson County and is a month away from turning 80. He said he worries how shutdowns in the United States could affect other countries.
“The shutdown is destroying the economy,” he said. “If we stay in this mold for very much longer and we go broke, it’s going to affect the whole world. As an example, our farmers feed the world.”
“I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime,” he said. “I’ve seen other countries fall through bad leadership and socialistic programs.”
Duncun Lemp lives in Wayne County and delivers pizzas.
He came armed with beef jerky and a rifle to protest “governmental overreach.”
Lemp said Whitmer’s executive orders criminalizing gatherings of friends and families were “a complete violation of every principle of freedom that I have ever been taught.
“I’d like to think of all the mothers and fathers that are in hospice care that were going to die naturally this month anyway,” he said. “They’re dying scared, old, and alone because their family can’t see them.”
He’s lucky to have a job, he said, but he knows many people have been forced out of work via state mandates.
“A lot of people can’t work,” Lemp said. “A lot of people are scared of how they’re going to feed their children. So I have to stand up for my state.”
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Michigan Protester” by Jazmine Early.