A Michigan man with a passion for music and teaching children has seen his life’s work wiped away with the stroke of a pen by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
Steve Walker, the owner of Walker Music & Textiles Co. in Hastings, Michigan, wept as he spoke with WXMI-TV during a recent interview in which he said Michigan’s lockdown order had forced him and his wife out of business.
Walker puts a very human face on Whitmer’s broad lockdown order, and for him, Walker Music was more than a business, it was a dream come true.
Unfortunately, that dream is dead, at least for now.
Through tears, Walker told WXMI-TV that the closure of his business will have far-reaching implications for him and all those with whom he shared the gift of music.
“This is my dream. Shutting it down. Closing out this phase of my life,” he said. “It 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.”
Walker opened his music store 11 years ago and was well-liked in the small community of Hastings, which is about an hour west of Lansing, where Whitmer and other lawmakers reside and continue to draw their paychecks.
He lamented Michigan’s overreaching treatment of small business owners like himself.
Per the lockdown order, music stores have been deemed nonessential by Whitmer.
“This is who I am. People that know me, know it is,” Walker said. “If you look on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll see what this means to people. And you’ll see what it means to me.”
“I’ve been sitting here for 60 days watching my neighbors do business day in and day out,” he said. “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.”
Walker applied for grants from the state in an attempt to keep the business afloat, but that effort proved fruitless.
His landlord has agreed to release him from his lease and now he is liquidating his inventory.
“For our future, we’ve decided that the best thing for us is to close,” Walker’s wife, Nancy, told the TV station. “So right now we’re having 20 percent sales off for the next two weeks, and then we’re only going to run our sales for about six weeks.”
Walker blamed Whitmer directly for killing his dream.
“I put the responsibility of that on the governor’s shoulders because if she had been reasonable, this would not be happening,” he said. “But oh well. That’s the way it is. That’s life. And I have to move on and deal with it.”
The musician and soon-to-be-former businessman also made it clear he never wanted anything from his government but his right to the pursuit of happiness, which he has been denied, thanks to Whitmer’s lockdown order.
“I don’t want a stupid handout from the government, I want my hands untied so I can work,” he said.
But Walker will be forced to find another way to earn a living, and Whitmer and other Democrats will apparently continue to go on deciding what is and isn’t essential — which apparently does not include music.
Thomas Jefferson would probably disagree with any such assertion.
“Do not neglect your music, it will be a companion which will sweeten many hours of life to you,” the country’s third president wrote in a letter to his daughter Martha in 1790.
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