Guest column: Michigan Republicans endanger my pregnant wife at work in the state Senate

October 06, 2020, 6:53 AM

The writer, who is married to state Sen. Mallory McMorrow, D-Royal Oak, reacts to the lack of a mask mandate in legislative offices, committee rooms and on the floor. This is adapted with permission from a Twitter thread.

By Ray Wert

Michigan’s Republican Senate leader, Mike Shirkey, puts my pregnant wife in danger every day she goes to work.

Now he wants to put you and your families in danger too.

Sen. Mallory McMorrow and this commentary's writer. (Photo: Facebook)

We all now know Covid is dangerous and deadly. All of us can protect each other with a simple cloth mask that's apparently so destructive to personal freedoms Republicans won't even think about immediately extending the governor's executive order mandating wearing them.

Instead, Sen. Shirkey and his Republican colleagues have a fanatical belief that their freedom to put our health and safety at risk trumps our freedom to be healthy and safe. They’re like C+ political science students who’ve read the Federalist Papers for the first time.

Because Shirkey doesn't require Republican colleagues to wear masks, they don't. The consequence is they put mask-wearing members like my wife at risk when she goes to work in the Michigan Senate to represent the more than 280,000 Michiganders in her district.

So every day, I turn on my TV and watch the results of this freedom-as-a-suicide-pact on display as Republican state senators regularly flout mask-wearing. Every day, they increase the risk that my wife and our unborn daughter might get sick.

(Graphic: Michigan Department of Health and Human Services)

Before throwing away Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's mask order that keeps all Michiganders safer, maybe Shirkey, Michigan Senate Republicans and the state party should show they can lead by example and keep my wife and her colleagues safe first.

Thankfully, David Coulter, the Democratic Oakland County executive is leading by example by issuing a weekend order requiring residents to wear masks or facial coverings when leaving home.

A month before Election Day, this is an "it is what it is" moment for Michigan Republicans.

Ray Wert is the former head of storytelling for General Motors, executive director of content at Gawker Media and editor-in-chief of Jalopnik, an automotive news site. He now runs storytelling for a self-driving car company. He and McMorrow married in 2017.

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