If you have ever visited the beautiful Mackinac Island in Michigan, you know that cars and other motorized vehicles are not allowed and have not been for over a century. Visitors and those that live there get around on foot or by bicycle for the most part. However, there are a few exceptions.
And one of those exceptions happened last weekend when Vice President Mike Pence visited the island to attend the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference. After arriving, a motorcade of eight SUVs made sure that he arrived at the conference’s location safely. People lined the streets to see him pass, wish him well, and welcome him to the island.
However, it would seem that not everyone was pleased he was given access to vehicles during his time there. And by not everyone, we really just mean Democrat Representative Rashida Tlaib. She seemed to be the only one to voice her disapproval.
Now, Tlaib is from and represents the state of Michigan. However, her district is far from being close to the island. But apparently, that didn’t stop her from letting her distaste for the situation known on social media.
She wrote, “Banned for a century, and here comes the Trump Administration trampling all over it, like they do the U.S. Constitution.”
And she continued, saying, “This video of cars driving on our beautiful #MackinacIsland makes my stomach turn.”
She must have missed the very first vehicle of the motorcade, which very clearly says “Mackinac Island Police” on the front doors.
Obviously, the Vice President is not the only exception to be made. In fact, the Island, like most other communities, employs ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles on a regular basis. So to say that cars on the roads there is a rare appearance is just an outright lie.
No, they don’t swarm the island and show up in high numbers. But they are there nonetheless, even if they are only used in cases of emergency or life or death situations.
And this case is no different. In this day and age, secure vehicles are a must for any high-profile government official moving from one location to another, primarily if their appearance is known by the public. Walking along the miles of roads or riding a bike unprotected is just not feasible for a man such as himself in the world we live in.
But that doesn’t stop naysayers from complaining and bringing up the fact that presidents in the past who have visited the island seemed to abide by the laws in place. The most recent was former President Gerald Ford in 1975. He rode in a horse-drawn carriage. If Ford could do it, why not Pence?
Well, for starters, those were different times. And before the attempted assassination of Ford later that same year. I bet my life savings that if his visit to Mackinac Island had taken place after Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a devoted Charles Manson follower, had tried to take his life, he would have been in a vehicle as well.
And let’s not forget about the constant threat of global terrorism that meets each day of the 21st century. The difference between now and then, Pence and Ford, is that since then we have a whole new breed of assassin out there.
One that is willing to bring down Pan Am Flight 103 and all of its passengers. One that spends weeks, months, and even years planning organized threats such as the hijacking of airplanes and their use to kill over 3,000 people just because of their nationality.
The days of taking a leisurely horse ride through the streets of Mackinac Island are gone. In their place are hours spent in preparation, mapping routes, and predicting every possible outcome, all in the hopes that everything simply goes as planned.
The sad fact of the time is that security is always an issue and not one to take lightly. Tlaib, given her background, of all people should know this.
The senator who represents Mackinac Island, Wayne Schmidt agrees. He said having vehicles on the island for the vice president was not an issue and that “it’s the nature of the security these days.”
Many others were fine with it as well, saying, “the wonderful vice president… can’t walk from the airport.” Yes, the island has an airport.
I’m sure if Tlaib’s precious Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris took a vehicle to the island they would be praised not scorned.