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A follow-up to the American Patriot Rally that was held in Grand Rapids last week

May 25, 2020

Last week, I wrote about the American Patriot Rally that was held in downtown Grand Rapids, where anti-lockdown protesters filled Rosa Parks Circle and defied the Stay-at-Home order of Gov. Whitmer. 

Today’s post is a follow up, with some new information about some of the people who spoke at that rally.

First, the people who organized the rally have created their own blog, which has been live since May 8. The blog does contain a post about the Grand Rapids Rally, with all of the obvious biases, referring to the event as a “smashing success.” This particular post is instructive to read, in terms of how the writer reflects on what happened and how the rally was framed.

Second, one of the speakers at the rally was US congressional candidate, Mike Detmer, who is running for Michigan’s 8th district. Detmer is running against an incumbent, Elissa Slotkin (D), but based on the campaign finance data so far, Detmer doesn’t seem to have much of a chance and is behind several of the other Republican candidates running for the same seat. 

Detmer is running on a far-right platform, with little information on the issues and virtually no sourcing of his positions. Detmer claims he will protect Michigan jobs, provide better health care access, push for more border security, supports gun rights, is anti-choice and claims he wants to support US military veterans. Detmer’s entire issues page is based largely on rhetoric, with few facts and no clear proposals.

Lastly, the person who led the prayer at the American Patriots Rally is Bernadette Elizabeth Smith. Bernadette and her husband Phillip, are co-pastors at the Eternal Word Church in Grandville, Michigan

According to Bernadette’s Facebook profile, she has been involved in some of the anti-lockdown protests in Lansing, also in a ministerial capacity. Bernadette and her husband Phillip have both been supporters of President Trump, with Phillip giving an invocation at a Trump rally held in Grand Rapids in 2016. Bernadette was also featured in a GOP video that was tweeted, where she claims in 2018 that unemployment for African Americans is the lowest it has ever been. Bernadette’s husband Phillip, right after Trump was nominated as the GOP candidate in 2016, tweeted this:

How do we know if the illegal Mexican immigrants aren’t a Trojan Horse sending their army ahead for a future conquest?

All of this is to say that the kind of people who were involved in the American Patriot Rally in Grand Rapids last week, are people who embrace who a White Supremacist ideology, promote xenophobia and use the US Constitution to justify their own brand of free market fanaticism that will likely result in a spike of new COVID-19 cases in Michigan.

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