An ailing father. A concerned daughter. A risky visit across state lines during a pandemic.
It could be anyone, but in this case, it was Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer who undertook a trip to Florida to visit her father, who is ailing.
Does this action deserve condemnation? Of course not. The governor is human, and she wants to be with her dad when his health is poor.
However, what does deserve condemnation are the governor’s many actions and orders that prevented the rest of us from making the same visits to our loved ones during the past 13 months.
How many photographs have we seen of people standing outside windows, on ladders, watching their own parents as they suffered and died in skilled care facilities? How many parents have been forced to choose who will be in the room as their beloved infants and children pass away due to cancer and other tragic conditions?
As someone who is privileged to hear from residents all throughout Michigan, I can assure you it’s not just a handful, or even a hundred. I have taken hundreds of phone calls, wept with hundreds of grieving and concerned daughters, sons, spouses, moms, and dads. There are thousands of families here in Michigan that have been prohibited from seeing their precious loved ones before they passed away, and I imagine they have something to say about this week’s headlines.
The governor — whose husband last year was more concerned about getting his boat into the water than about obeying essential COVID-19 restrictions — has deprived so many Michigan residents of their ability to provide love, comfort, and care to their family members, and yet she freely goes to Florida to visit with her own father when it suits her to do so.
That is more than unconscionable. It is sickening.
Although the governor has refused to share the precise dates of her visit, the fact that it comes at a time when she appears on national television to blame Michigan’s rising COVID caseload on people who are not following state guidelines is of interest. She blames people who traveled out of state and yet travels herself.
She bars Michigan residents from the sides of their dying loved ones but hops on a plane when she wants to visit her own.
It’s yet another case of “do as I say, not as I do” in the Whitmer administration. Indeed, in the Whitmer family.
The governor has made it clear what matters most, and it’s herself. It’s not the sobbing parent, the grieving child, the spouse whose loved one has just died alone while they watched helplessly through a pane of glass. For thousands of families across our state, the option to see their loved one for one last time no longer exists. And to our governor, those experiences are apparently dispensable and worth sacrificing.
But not her own. And that’s a double standard we need to keep in mind next time she places a COVID restriction on the rest of us.