A Son Speaks Up Against Mistreatment of Parents by Governor Whitmer

A wise person once said, “do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” I cannot in a million years imagine Governor Whitmer ever treating her parents how she has treated mine in the past year.

MEET MOM AND DAD

Jack and Marilyn Wheeler are my parents. Dad quit high school to voluntarily join the Marine Corp during the Korean War. He was a proud Marine and learned his trade of truck driving in the military. Upon his return home, Dad joined the Teamsters. He supported Mom, my two siblings, and myself on a trucker’s wage, and when times got tight, my mother would go to work part-time to help make ends meet.

When Dad retired, he enjoyed years of activity, frequently working out, managing the lawn, and taking daily walks in the neighborhood. He was always mingling with others, and he always had a smile on his face. He was known and liked by the community, and both my parents made many friendships.

Dad was always physically and mentally sharp. When my mom’s mental health began to fade, it was Dad that took care of her and kept their world running smoothly—cleaning, doing laundry, getting or making food, and managing all the trips to the doctors. It was not long before the late stages of dementia took hold of her, but Dad continued to care for her. He did this without comment or complaint.

He was always a hard worker, and, leading by example, he instilled a rigid work ethic in all of us kids. My sister is now a successful registered nurse, my brother a successful certified public accountant, and myself – an accomplished tattoo artist. He helped us do well for ourselves as responsible citizens of society.

Life was good for my dad and mom — until Governor Whitmer’s shutdown happened, and things were never the same.

THE TRAGEDY

My Dad was 84 years old and married to Mom for over 60 years when he fell sick. On May 5, 2020, Dad called 911 for himself. He was having trouble breathing. Thankfully I had seen him the day before; he was tired but otherwise seemed okay. That was the last time I saw him conscious.

EMS took Dad to St. Mary’s Hospital, and due to the COVID hysteria, he was hooked up to a ventilator—even though he tested negative for the coronavirus.

Because of the cruel lockdown orders of Governor Whitmer, we were not allowed to visit or see my Father until the hospital deemed him near death.

Finally, after a week alone in the hospital, my siblings and I were allowed to see him for a few minutes. It was horrific. He lay there, drugged to near unconsciousness, hooked to a ventilator, frail and unresponsive. The hospital tested him a second time for covid, and again it came back negative.

We made the decision, per his legal wishes, to take him off the ventilator. He made a mild recovery! But yet again, we were restricted from seeing him.

They tested him a third time for the virus, and again it came back negative. The hospital moved him out of the ICU and into another room by himself. However, it was here that he took a turn for the worse. And again, because he was near death, we were once again allowed to see my Dad. He was tested one last time, a fourth time, for the coronavirus, and once more, he came back negative.

My Dad died of heart failure on May 27, 2020, after nearly a month of being alone in a hospital without his family, because of the draconian restrictions brought about by Governor Whitmer. Yet, these restrictions extended beyond his death.

THE TRAGEDY CONTINUED

Dad’s funeral was limited to ten visiting people. Absurdly, we were forced to remain in our cars at his burial. He earned a military funeral gun salute, which, sadly, was also restricted. This was all due to the state’s shutdown.

Finally, my Mom was now without her caretaker and husband. Because of her advanced stages of dementia, her house was sold, and she was moved into a nursing home facility. To this day, nearly a year later, our family has not been able to visit our Mother because of the ongoing, unnecessary restrictions by Governor Whitmer.

I wish I could look Governor Whitmer in the eyes and tell her exactly what her myopic leadership has done to me personally, and my family. It has hurt us immensely:

My Dad died alone in a hospital, restricted from visitation from the people who loved him, for nearly a month. His funeral was limited to ten people, and the military honors Dad earned were denied. His wife, my Mom, was moved into a nursing home where she was denied visitation from any family or friends.

This all happened in the wake of my business having been forced to close.

All of this is due to the heartless, totalitarian decisions made by Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

WHAT NEXT, GOVERNOR? 

Sadly, and shockingly, we have all witnessed so many governors and politicians of our ever-dividing country, hypocritically, attending large political rallies or celebrations, all against their very own restrictions of large gatherings. We have seen them unmasked, violating their own mandates. We have witnessed them patronize the very businesses that they have shut down and deemed “non-essential.” And we all have heard about the “science” that has never been clearly defined or verified that supposedly justifies this dictatorial governing.

I genuinely believe, if this sad personal reality befell Governor Whitmer, she would quickly sidestep all of her very own restrictions to do what is naturally and fundamentally correct for the ones that she loves. Yet she denies us these very liberties.

As my father taught me, we take responsibility for our lives. And I am taking responsibility as a citizen of Michigan: we must tell our stories as business owners, family members, and concerned citizens.

This Governor is hurting our state more than helping, and I will work hard to make sure she never has a second term in office. I know this is what my dad would want. The America he fought for, the community he lived in, and the people he cherished deserve better than Governor Whitmer.

— Jay Wheeler