Photo of April 15, 2020, Operation Gridlock protest in Lansing, Mich., from CityPulse Lansing.

GUEST COLUMN: Are Lana, Ann, and Hank for community values or politics of division?


Times like these underscore the importance of certain values – community, compassion, empathy, and fairness.

The knowledge that we are all in this together is what gets people through tough times. Knowing that we are not alone and that our inconveniences, worries, or even suffering are shared and understood by others makes the going a little easier.

I have been encouraged to see Livingston County pull together as a community in so many ways. Groups are donating money for personal protective equipment and a business has decorated its windows to bring people cheer, for example.

That’s the Livingston County I know.

I was dismayed, then, to see some in Livingston County seeking to divide us with a dangerous rally at the Capitol in Lansing ostensibly about economic concerns, yet liberally decorated with symbols of hate and division.

Our Republican lawmakers – State Sen. Lana Theis and Reps. Ann Bollin and Hank Vaupel – have been silent about the rally.

I think the public deserves some answers from them. Did they support the rally, which flaunted social distancing guidelines? Did they think it was appropriate for Confederate battle flags to wave on the grounds of the Capitol near the monuments to Michigan’s Civil War dead and veterans? Did they think swastikas have a place in the United States? Did they think chants of “lock her up” should have been directed at Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the same governor who got nearly 40 percent of the vote here in Livingston County? Do they think the rally will worsen the pandemic?

The voters deserve more than some mealy-mouthed platitude about Americans’ right to protest. Voters are smart enough to understand their constitutional rights. They deserve straight answers from those who claim to lead.

Again, Lana, Ann, and Hank, do you stand with the values of community or with the politics of division?

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