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Questioning the governor’s moves not ‘hindering’

“Those who hinder versus those who help,” the title of Saturday’s Speak Out column, is itself a sad commentary on an unnecessary dichotomy. The point made in Speak Out was, essentially (no pun intended), if you’re not for the stay-at-home strategy as concocted by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, you are against the health and safety of your friends, neighbors and community. The choice is either agree with the entirety of her decisions or be considered a reckless non-conformist at odds with health care workers, vulnerable at-risk people and even your own elderly family members. Why does it have to be this way?

There are people who have just as much concern for coronavirus transmission as you, yet thoughtfully disagree with some of the executive orders and Whitmer’s irrational statewide imposition of them. They feel she has failed as a decision-maker responsible for the well-being of much of the state beyond the borders of Oakland, Wayne and Macomb counties. They argue that her all-encompassing directives — ignoring data that indicated vast disparities and levels of virus activity in regions of the state beyond those three counties — has caused much unnecessary harm to far too many people in this state. Her overreaction, they say, will result in many sad stories of stress-induced health issues, stress-related domestic violence, health-related trauma resulting from the abeyance of most non-coronavirus-related testing and treatment, and non-recoverable loss of hard-working individuals’ life works.

And it could all have been avoided had she prudently allowed the safe conduct of individuals and commerce in many, many areas of the state. In such areas, in those many communities, she could have emphasized the dangers that might still befall them should they conduct themselves in an unsafe manner. She could have even mandated that they practice certain behaviors, such as wearing masks and social distancing, yet still permitted the conscientious conduct of life and business — thus avoiding the unnecessary harm to people and livelihoods that she has caused.

Believing that she had such an alternative but failed to implement it does not — should not — put people at odds with those who share their concerns about the unmitigated spread of the coronavirus. It shouldn’t have to be either/or. It needn’t be “hinder or help.”

P.S. At the risk of being considered a “hindrance,” should it not be possible to wonder if, along with the governor’s concern for our health and safety, there might be more to this than she would ever admit? It is one thing to lock down an entire state, irrespective of locales, where such action is unwarranted. It is one thing to communicate directives and their rationale to the citizens of that state. But it is quite another thing to appear on numerous nationally broadcast Sunday talk shows and trumpet your actions to a nationwide audience. Unless you might just possibly be wanting name recognition that enhances your personal aspirations far beyond just the confines of your state. To use a matter of such tremendous suffering and hardship to so many for such a selfish end would be despicable. It would be enough to make one wonder who might be the real “hindrance” here — and who she is really “helping.”

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