As America’s governors look for ways to safely restart the economy, at least one governor may be taking the awesome power of that office too far.

As someone who worked as a political appointee for more than one governor, I have great respect for the state’s constitutional authority vested in our governors.

Governors are chief executives but they can’t legislate. That is the job of the state’s legislature. The people who elect the upper and lower legislature in state houses are the same folks that elect governors.

For the most part, our governors from coast to coast are doing well managing this crisis. They are all scrambling for resources to respond to the pandemic.

Many have worked well with the Trump Administration, federal departments, and many have deployed National Guard troops to help in a variety of ways. Most governors, Democrat or Republican, seem to know their duties, responsibilities, and, most of all, their authority.

However, when a governor issues an Executive Order telling you what you can or cannot buy from Target, Walmart, Piggly Wiggly, Vons, Safeway, or any other store, he or she has lost it !

Take the governor of Michigan. The executive order issued goes too far. So, you are at, say, Super Walmart getting formula, milk, bread, baby food, wipes, bleach, tortilla chips, and some Oreo cookies, and you decide to buy a garden hose. You put the hose in your basket.

So, you maintain your social distance in the store and at the check stand, you got your mask on and gloves. You finally put your haul on the checkout conveyor belt.

It’s all good — and then hold it! You can’t buy that hose! That hose made your entire trip nonessential! So, when will the state police or highway patrol arrive to issue a ticket? Will you be jailed?

What a misguided rule.  While working as the executive officer in one of America’s larger law enforcement agencies, there was a term used to describe a dumb law or action — “Felony Stupid.” Obviously, a highly technical term. It can and should be applied here.

This virus is killing people. Too many are gone too soon. Governors have immense power, wielding it should be carefully measured and vetted. Great or even good governors vet policy with staff or focus groups. Apparently not in Michigan.

Staying at home, social distancing, and wearing personal protective gear is a must. But if you have to go to the grocery store and you want to purchase something, say hair color or Just for Men, let’s hope the wise governor in your state hasn’t decided hair color is nonessential.

We have a lot of freedom as Americans. That freedom was hard to come by. Many gave their lives to earn it and keep it. We need to stay at home, wear the protective gear, and maintain social distancing. Nobody disputes that.

However, when a governor tramples your right to buy something nonessential, she has gone too far. A repeal of a misguided executive order is in order. Governors do great work. Even the best can make an error. It takes a real leader to admit she erred and reverse course.

Stay healthy, America. If you go to the store for an essential trip, buy a puzzle, book, toy, or hammer — just to show the governor that puzzles, books, and toys are essential to help you maintain your sanity while you’re locked in your apartment, mobile home, or house.

Image Sources

  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer: Office of the Michigan Governor