What Michigan Gov. Whitmer Needs Is An Anger Translator

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer/ Image Courtesy of CNBC

If you’ve lived long enough — and I have — then you probably know what it’s like to care about someone who doesn’t care about themselves. You keep trying to rescue them from the flames of their own self-destructive behavior, maybe feeling like some kind of hero, only to watch them pull away and jump headlong right back into the pit. But rather than let them catch fire, you figure it’s up to you to keep jumping in after them and pulling them back to safety, no matter how many times it takes.

Until that one time.

Because sooner or later that time comes when you decide, you know what? Fuck it. And fuck him/her. I’m out.

She’ll never say it publicly because there’s no way she can if she wants to get re-elected, but I’m betting Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is starting to feel that way about all her efforts to keep her constituents safe, despite the threats and attempts on her life and the constant barrage of attacks from the Republican idiot fringe in the legislature who think liberty and freedom of choice means freedom to not only risk your own life but the lives of others. I mean, she’s got a family too, right? How long is she supposed to expose them to all this bullshit?

So now her new strategy to combat the pandemic has shifted. Rather than resorting to locking everything down again like she did earlier when the pandemic got out of control, the Governor has decided to forego trying to save Michiganders from themselves. Instead, she is simply urging folks to act like they have some sense and maybe consider the fact that we could all be done with this if we just did the right thing a little longer. If you’re going to a restaurant, eat outside. Keep wearing masks.

Etc. Etc. Etc.

And some are listening and responding appropriately, which is nice to see. While others are essentially saying, “Yeah, well, maybe. We’ll see. It’s nice out, y’know?”

What Gov. Whitmer needs is an anger translator like the hilarious character created by Keegan-Michael Key for President Barack Obama. While she calmly tries to explain why we should care enough about ourselves and others to take the necessary precautions, her translator could say something like, “You know what, bitches? Yeah. You’re right. You ARE grown, even if you don’t act like it. But OK. So here’s what we’re gonna do, because I’m sick and tired of catching hell for trying to save lives. We’re gonna let you do whatever the hell you wanna do, all right, sweetie? That’s right! You’re freeeeeeee you little brainless Ted Nugent wannabes! Whoopeeee! Party ovah heeyahhhh! And if you decide to romp around and party without a mask and then you catch COVID and die? Oh well! Liberty sucks sometimes! I guess you’ll have to wait and see whether your checkout elevator is going up or down. Best of luck. Toodles. Gretch out.”

But of course she can’t say that because COVID doesn’t just kill the stupid and the inconsiderate, it kills the innocent too. Who knows how many unsuspecting folks have been put in the hospital or in the ground because they got too close to someone who just didn’t give a damn? And who knows how many health workers can withstand yet another COVID spike and endless stressful days and nights? How many will quit and walk away this time if the vaccine doesn’t put a lid on COVID in time?

How long is too long? Probably until we get what we deserve.

Longtime Detroit-based journalist, musician and writer. Co-founder of Detroit Stories Quarterly.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store