Memo to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

I respectfully request that the Michigan 2022 gubernatorial election include truthful debates of real issues, and offer the following brief historical summary as an initial contribution:

In mid- March 2020 when the big pro and college basketball and hockey leagues canceled their tournaments (essentially leaderless under Trump’s reality TV misgovernment), Americans generally started to physically or ‘socially’ distance, shelter, and restrict contacts for public health reasons.

State governments stepped into the leadership vacuum left by federal covid dereliction.  The ‘reopen’ backlash that the governor’s opponent now says she will campaign on started immediately.

Incredibly, mask wearing (like vaccination later) became a divisive political signifying issue, independent of public health.  The era of big lies that the GOP now seeks to institutionalize had begun.

Within about a month, by mid-April 2020, emerging and still incomplete but utterly horrifying data started to show us covid is killing 3 (or maybe 4) times more Americans of color – black, latinx, indigenous People principally – than People from the old majority white population.

At precisely this point the irresistible momentum to ‘reopen’ the economy took on its seeming inevitability.  This was the beginning of the continuing corporate special interest, christian white nationalist-serving propaganda move that fuels the latest extremist right wing attacks on the governor’s common sense public health policies.

With the country reeling from the shock of George Floyd’s death during Memorial Day 2020 celebrations, the white corporate powers funding the republican death cult gambled with ‘other’ People’s lives in the face of covid.  Their real position was best expressed at one of the so-called Boogaloo movement’s heavily armed ‘reopen’ the economy stunts in Lansing: “When you look at the demographics [of who this pandemic is affecting], I’m not worried.”

By July 2020 the (for then) full scope of the horror of the federal government’s pandemic face plant became evident as the south and California in particular were overwhelmed.  By late August 2020 the virus was pretty much everywhere.  This horrifying public health mass catastrophe coincided with the historic summer 2020 racial uprising.  Democracy will stand or fall in November 2022 based on those epic shifting tides.

The debate the Republican candidate seeks to avoid, by lying about what happened in 2020, is and remains about the stark political and cultural splits between the future feminist, multiracial America that produced Governor Gretchen Whitmer vs. white ’reopen’ protesters’ death cult, ginned up by Trump & Devos.  Independent, Dem or otherwise, one of these forces has to defeat the other politically for us to move forward.  It’s essentially truth-based democracy vs. fascism with a variety of labels.

Under the crushing economic effects of the pandemic beggaring tens of millions, the governor’s Republican opponent seeks to serve only privileged whites fueled by corporate capitalist power.  Now they want to wield the power of life and death, by declaring that the disproportionate costs, which  “other” black and brown People and whites who are essential workers will bear, are necessary.  For corporate profit disproportionately enjoyed by white men.  That’s the real GOP agenda.

The current extremist GOP’s extractive, white supremacist, genocidal racial dynamic echoes that of enslavement, not coincidentally at all.  The 3 or 4 times greater mortality rate of the covid catastrophe corresponds (in the register of quantifying racist domination and accumulation-by-dispossession), to the enslaver states’ 3/5 clause in the original US constitution.  We are witness to a continuing mass racial crime, and now the Republican candidate for Michigan governor wants to capitalize on it politically by blaming Gretchen Whitmer’s defense of public health.

Some things are immediately relevant and so well known they don’t even need repetition: what Abraham Lincoln said about fooling People; what Josef Goebbels, George Orwell and Karl Rove said about big lies; what all honest public servants know about facts and their duties.  November 2022 will tell whether or not the voters in Michigan, like voters in Kansas on August 2, see thru Republicans’ deadly lies.

Chief Roberts, In-Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Powell – on your way Out and trembling after Kansans enacted the inevitable consequences of your arrogance and misrule yesterday – this movement is already coming for you.

(After Can Language Help Us Heal? , this is a revised excerpt in light of 8/2/22 MI GOP primary & Kansas abortion rights referendum victory.  In addition to Governor Whitmer, a voter-initiated constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights in MI will likely be on the ballot.)

Replies and especially direct actions to build movement power, or at least better arguments around race & class that work for us-not-them, are eagerly solicited: .

Tom Stephens is a volunteer educator for the Detroit Independent Freedom Schools Movement (DIFSM) and a Peoples lawyer in Detroit.