All around the nation, people are suffering due to coronavirus, some from the disease itself, others from the incredible lack of income. And in the state of Michigan, the later seems to be worse than nearly anywhere else.
Take Steve Walker of Hastings, Michigan, for example. Walker has owned his own music shop for about 11 years now, Walker Music & Textiles Co. And for him, it has been an absolute dream. Walker has always had a deep love of all things music, as well as a love of sharing his gifts and talents with others.
So, in addition to selling musical instruments and paraphernalia, he also teaches lessons to kids and adults of all ages. And he and his wife have done well for themselves in the small community located about an hour west of Lansing, much of the community supporting them.
However, under Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s draconian stay at home orders, his music shop has been deemed a non-essential business. Therefore, it has been closed since March with absolutely no way for Walker to keep the business going, let alone pay his personal bills.
And so, much to the couple and the community’s regret, the Walkers have decided to close their doors for good.
As local news outlet WXMI-TV interviewed the pair, his passion for music and his failing dream was wholly reflected, as was his deep despair about losing it. Amidst tears, Walker said, “This is my dream. Shutting it down. Closing out this phase of my life. I won’t be a retail shop anymore, and it won’t be an inviting environment for kids to come and be loved and to learn music.”
Instead, the couple will be selling all of their belongings and moving out of the once-thriving community. They have ended their lease, put everything on sale, and are liquidating their assets.
Walker said, “This is who I am. People that know me, know it is. If you look on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll see what this means to people. And you’ll see what it means to me.” But the governor, not even 60 miles away, doesn’t seem to care about anything but destroying her state even more.
Walker continued, lamenting that he could not have kept his doors open just enough to survive as many of his neighbors were. He said, “I’ve been sitting here for 60 days watching my neighbors do business day in and day out. They aren’t thriving, but they are surviving. There’s no reason in hell I couldn’t have done the same thing. None. And that’s what makes me angry.”
And it should make him angry. It sure makes me angry, and it’s not even my shop.
Why are his livelihood and business somehow seen as less important than others in the community? What makes his dreams not worth the governor’s time?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
What’s even worse is that Walker applied for state grants, for unemployment, and everything else he could just to keep above water. And yet the state never gave him a dime.
The unemployment office never responded to his attempts to contact them. His application for a grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation was denied.
Walker says is intention is not to get a bailout from the government. He just wants to be able to earn his keep. But right now, he is being forced to sit on hands.
“I don’t want a stupid handout from the government, I want my hands untied so I can work.”
And by the looks of things, Governor Whitmer will make sure things stay that way for a good while longer. She just extended the stay at home order that is running the Walkers out of town until May 28 and has made no indication of how or when the state will begin any sort of reopening procedures.
Walker, like many others, lay full blame for the death of their dreams on the governor and her tyranny.
He told the news outlet, “I put the responsibility of that on the governor’s shoulders because if she had been reasonable, this would not be happening.” And he’s right. If she had just let up just a little and thought of basically anything else besides her bid to be Biden’s VP, she might realize that her state is dying.
But as Walker says, “Oh well. That’s the way it is. That’s life. And, I have to move on and deal with it.”
Only he shouldn’t have to.