Hundreds of Michiganders gathered to protest the coronavirus lockdown, including a barber who defended his decision to reopen his shop in defiance of the governor’s stay-at-home orders.
“The government is not my mother,” the 77-year-old barber Karl Manke told the anti-lockdown protesters in front of the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing on Thursday. “Never has been. I’ve been in business longer than they’ve been alive.”
Since then, Manke has been visited by the police, had his business license pulled, and was insulted by Michigan’s attorney general.
“He’s not a hero,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said about Manke. “He’s not a patriot.”
Michiganders, along with many other people, have grown increasingly frustrated with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s lockdown orders but so far haven’t been able to change her mind via protest.
“They’re not optional,” Whitmer scolded Michigan residents earlier this week, referring to the stay-at-home orders. “They’re not helpful hints.”
Later in the week, Whitmer floated the idea of extending the lockdown as a way to punish protesters, whom she labeled as racist, because she argued they were spreading the virus to rural areas by organizing. She later walked back that claim and admitted she had no evidence to support it.