“Blaming China” – A cynical ploy to Divert Attention From Tasks At Hand

Jul 28, 2020 by

Stay in your own lane.

I note with interest that Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain) has called for reparations from China for the cost that the State of Michigan has incurred due to COVID-19. In a Detroit Newsarticle, he places blame squarely on China and is demanding they pay up.


Rep. Beau LaFave (R-Iron Mountain, MI)

I am sure this generated some PR for the Representative and perhaps a few toasts in bars among unmasked patrons searching for a scapegoat to pin blame. The ‘Blame China/China as Boogieman’ is old – a tired political ploy that has been pulled off the shelf and honed by the Trump Administration.

It does nothing to help the people struggling on multiple levels by the Covid pandemic.

It is simply political pandering at its worst – meant to divert Michigan voters’ attention away from the REAL needs that Lansing and DC lawmakers should be focusing on to address the needs of America citizens.

Focus owhat YOU Control 

Rather than supporting Governor Whitmer and her Executive Orders to control the spread of the deadly virus within our borders, instead this action/inaction follow the GOP “Blame China: playbook. This strategy was recently exposed in a Washington Post article: Republican strategy memo advises GOP campaigns to blame China for coronavirus.

Rep LaFave and his co-sponsors are clearly misguided. He believes the state should calculate its expenses tied to the COVID-19 pandemic and send a bill to China, where the virus first appeared. Rep LaFave cites his time at Wayne State University Law School when asked how he got the idea for the bill. “Individuals who cause death, destruction or loss of life can be held accountable in civil court” he said.

Based on this legal theory he should also send a similar bill to President Trump and his administration for their inept failure in preparing the nation for the pandemic. The lack of an adequate response by the Trump Administration is well documented. The list of inadequacies runs deep: dismantling the federal unit that monitors and detects American health threats, inadequate preparedness around the needs of first responders, health facilities NOT having the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) needed to handle victims, lack of respirators and adequate testing supplies STILL not in place nearly 6 months after the global pandemic began to hit our state.

President Trump squandered nearly two months of lead time to help the USA prepare for this pandemic and has been playing “doubting Donald” – first calling the virus hoax, a Democratic Party ploy, even suggesting it would magically disappear in the face of countrywide cases spiking and a rising death toll. All juxtaposed against those nations around the globe who HAVE followed science, data, and public health protocols to flatten the curve, and whose citizen’s deaths are nowhere near as high as those currently being experiencing in America. 

Whining and complaining about China equals inept governing: neither a strategy nor a plan. 

The citizens of Michigan should be demanding that politicians quit their pandering and offer real plans to address our citizen needs. Plans to:  • Open our schools safely, protecting the students, teachers,support personnel and the broader community• Address the businesses that are adversely impacted by this pandemic• Address the state’s flawed unemployment system that has falsely accused citizens of fraud and not gotten earned benefits into employees’ hands on a timely basis• Assuring that children in our urban centers and rural hamlets have the broadband access to technology for remote learning • Working to shore up health benefits for families adversely impacted by the economic tsunami that our lack of preparedness has unleashed.

The citizens of Michigan would be better served not with a PR move to send China a bill but with legislation to propel Michigan forward.  How about these for a smarter start? Investing in education, workforce re-development, research and development, infrastructure, and technology improvements – especially more broadband, big data, and AI. 

It may feel good to blame China, but it achieves NOTHING that helps the people of Michigan who are struggling, hurting, and dying.  

China is not without blame in this situation, and our national leaders should work to address their culpability. But Michigan legislators would better serve its citizens by supporting Gov. Whitmer and her science, data-driven public health decisions and passing legislation that gets Michiganders healthy and back to work.

We await legislation from the Representative that actually helps the people of Michigan. 

Tom Watkins served the citizens of Michigan as State Mental Health Director and State Superintendent of Schools.Considered a “China expert”, he has worked for more than 4 decades building cultural, educational, and economic bridges between our nations.  

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