This article first appeared on Up North Progressive on April 15, 2020

Today the sheriffs of four counties in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan issued a press release stating they would pick and choose when and if they would enforce Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders.

“While we understand her desire to protect the public, we question some restrictions that she has imposed as overstepping her executive authority. She has created a vague framework of emergency laws that only confuse Michigan citizens.”

What motivated the sheriffs of these four counties to issue the line in the sand with the Governor? According to Jack O’Malley, the Republican State Rep for the 101st District and Curt VanderWall are behind undermining of the Governor’s authority, as articulated by Jack O’Malley in this Facebook video.

O’Malley talks at length about the video conference he had with Sheriffs Kim Cole, Ken Falk, Ted Schendel, and Mike Borkovich. The Ludington Police ticketed someone for violating the Governor’s order. Curt VanderWall and Jack O’Malley decided the best way to deal with that was to talk the local county sheriffs in O’Malley’s 101st State House District into defying Governor Whitmer’s orders. The reason O’Malley gives for this discussion is the orders are too confusing and Governor Whitmer is overreaching her authority.

There is nothing confusing about Governor Whitmer’s restrictions. She’s doing her best as the law allows to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the state of Michigan. The first set of orders didn’t slow down the spread of the virus fast enough, and it was necessary to require more restrictions. The point of staying home, keeping distance between each other, and proper hygiene is so more of us don’t get sick. All of these stringent measures are working.

So what is the motivation behind O’Malley and VanderWall’s convincing the sheriffs of the 101st State House District it was perfectly fine to ignore the Governor’s executive order?

Trump took to Twitter immediately after Governor Whitmer accurately described how incompetent his administration’s response was to the spreading virus in the United States. Trump’s method of handling the needs of the states is governors who are loyal to him get what they need. Governors who are not loyal are ignored. This is why states such as New York and Michigan, despite swiftly implementing best practices to stop the spread of the virus are struggling, while states loyal to Trump get everything they need. Trump exacerbated the problem by seizing orders for PPE supplies from states, running a classic soviet-style racketeering scheme to control supply.

Literally hours after Mike Shirkey required the state legislature to come to Lansing on April 7, 2020, to vote for a much shorter continuance of Governor Whitmer’s executive order, the state reps and senators went back home and began a coordinated attack on the governor demanding people go back to work as soon as possible. One of the most vocal opponents of Governor Whitmer in Northern Michigan is Curt VanderWall, the other elected official present at the video conference with the four sheriffs of the 101st State House District.

VanderWall barely waited hours after voting to extend Governor Whitmer’s EO to attack the Governor for overreaching and use powers she did not have to restrict nonessential businesses from spreading the virus. It just so happens that Curt VanderWall owns a landscaping “compnay” in Ludington, one of those businesses the Governor listed as being nonessential.

While VanderWall argues with his constituents there’s no reason people can’t go back to work right away without testing, Trump’s loyal followers echo each other like the brainless chuds they are: Whitmer is a dictator. Whitmer can’t lead. Whitmer won’t let us plant gardens. Whitmer won’t let us fill up our bass boats. Whitmer’s on the shortlist for the veepstakes.  

Governor Whitmer is struggling to save your life. She’s fighting with a spray-tanned narcissistic bully blaming everyone else for the disaster he could have prevented but chose not to because it would make him look bad, and now everyone’s out of work and the economy’s tanked and it’s making him look bad.

Jack O’Malley, Curt VanderWall, the entire Republican Party, and especially Covidiot Trump could care less how many of us die as long as they can breathe life into what matters to them most: Keeping their corporate donors happy. Jack O’Malley and Curt VanderWall are being selfish and dismissive of the real threat COVID_19 continue to be to the people of Northern Michigan. Demanding we go back to work while cases of the disease are still growing in some regions of the state is pre-meditated murder. Defying the Governor’s orders to keep us safe by convincing the four sheriffs of the 101st District to ignore businesses who violate the Executive Order will only mean more people are exposed, more people get sick, and unfortunately, more people will die in Rural Northern Michigan. It’s criminal that O’Malley and VanderWall have so little care for human life to put their constituents at risk. Profit over people is the GOP way.

If you would like to let these sheriffs know exactly what you think of their open contempt for human life in their counties, give them a call:

Leelanau County Sheriff’s Office Mike Borkovich: 231-256-8800

Benzie County Sheriff’s Office Ted Schendel: 231-882-4484

Manistee County Sheriff’s Office Ken Falk: 231-723-8393

Mason County Sheriff’s Office Kim Cole: 231-843-3475

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