Photo by EMMA GROSSBAUER
Last Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence rode from an airport on Mackinac Island to the Grand Hotel using an eight-car caravan, breaking a century old tradition.
Mackinac Island has not allowed cars, except for emergency vehicles, to be driven on the island for over a century to keep the old-time and rustic feel of the quaint town alive.
This past Saturday, however, the tradition changed. Vice President Mike Pence was set to speak at the Grand Hotel, to which he was transported via an eight-car motorcade.
While Pence is the first sitting Vice President to visit the island during his term, many other presidents have visited–and none have travelled around the island in vehicles.
The Grand Hotel, a staple of Mackinac Island, was less than a mile from the airport Pence landed in.
“The idea that he needed the eight-car caravan proves that people in government tend to have elitist ideas about themselves; that they’re better than everyone else,” said Julia Neuvirth (‘21).
Many people are outraged by this occurrence, feeling as though Pence has disrespected a century-old tradition.
“It’s a place where you ride horses or bike everywhere and that has been going on for centuries. He came in and destroyed that legacy,” said Neuvirth.
Some have argued that Pence’s motorcade was necessary, as the safety of our Vice President is important and vital.
The ferry company that transported Pence’s vehicles to the island, Shepler’s Ferry, defended the actions in a tweet posted on Saturday. Others, though, feel as though the measures were a bit much.
“Just because he’s the Vice President doesn’t mean he should be given special allowances for things like that. I don’t see why he needed that much security,” said Elizabeth Shaffer (‘21).
Alma College students and Mackinac Island residents are not the only people expressing their concerns over this event.
Rashida Tlaib, Michigan’s 13th district U.S. Representative, turned to Twitter to share her views on the issue. “Disgusting. I am in such disbelief that this was allowed to happen. This Administration doesn’t care about the law (you know, the U.S. Constitution), so it shouldn’t surprise me so much that they don’t care about our history or traditions,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib.
Mackinac Island is a place that has prided itself on being traditional, somewhere that takes you back in time. Many believe that Pence’s actions ruin this facade and has hurled the quaint island straight into the 21st century.
“Mackinac Island is beautiful, cultural, rich. I think it’s a unique place to go. I think the whole experience there is centered around old-fashioned [life],” said Mia Arkles (‘21).
There has been a huge outpouring of negativity from various channels within the news, as some reporters claim that there was no need for such a motorcade to ensure Pence’s safety.
Some Alma College students agree.
“It’s not that I think his safety shouldn’t override this tradition, but I think there were other ways of going about his safety that could have been done without ruining a legacy,” said Neuvirth.
Many individuals feel as though the tradition that made Mackinac Island such a unique place will no longer be as special.