I am a strong believer in helping to rebuild grace and civility in our public discourse. But this doesn't mean there is no room for strenuous disagreement at times. Related to the recent actions of our Governor, I more than understand that this crisis is new for her too - and will extend to her a measure of grace that she has been unwilling to extend to Donald Trump.
But statements like this are concerning:
Governor Whitmer said the stay-at-home order won’t last forever: “I want you to have your freedom."
Let's take that sentence apart. The Governor does not give us our freedom. If we, by mutual consent, believe that our current emergency warrants a temporary suspension of some of our freedoms, that is perfectly fine. It is just part of living in a modern society, and I support it. But such action should only be taken within the boundaries of a deeply seated ethic of government restraint.
This statement seems to me a proverbial "Freudian slip," and I I fear the Governor tipped her hand recently by asking for 70 more days of emergency powers all at once. She may end up needing - and being granted - all of those days, but she should never have wanted it at the outset.
Someone with a serious concern for preserving American freedom would have asked for two weeks at a time, with an understanding that she would begrudgingly ask again in two more weeks if needed, and so on. All limitations on our inherent freedoms should be preceded by an intense reluctance to do so. Such actions should be like a very bad tasting medicine.
My fear is that yesterday's comment by the Governor - "I want you to have your freedom" - betrays her real beliefs about what is happening, and a complete misunderstanding on her part about the nature of her powers. In the end, it really shouldn't matter what she wants in terms of our freedom. We have our freedoms whether she likes it or not, regardless of whether for a short time we come together to restrict them for the common good.