Mark Schauer, Rick Snyder — January 21, 2014 at 7:04 am

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Mark Schauer marches & volunteers in Detroit, Rick Snyder releases a video


Walking the walk vs. talking the talk

Yesterday, as America celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. day, there was a stunning contrast between the schedules of Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder and Democratic candidate for Governor Mark Schauer.

As you would expect, both men attended luncheons to celebrate the day. Governor Snyder attended the Greater Lansing Martin Luther King Day 29th Annual Luncheon where he once again called on Michiganders to practice “civility”. Asked outright if he was referring to the odious and hateful anti-gay and anti-Muslim speech coming from Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema, Snyder couldn’t bring himself to mention Agema by name despite the fact that everyone knows that’s exactly who he is talking about. “I want to make sure I’m making a general statement that applies to more than any single individual. There’s not just one isolated case, and it’s better to be thoughtful to say: Let’s raise the dialogue across the board for everyone in terms of getting away from issues and topics like that.”

Governor Snyder may believe that there’s a sudden collapse in civility in our state right now and that it’s “not just one isolated case” but, of course, that is completely untrue. Nobody else is spewing the type of hateful rhetoric that Agema is perfectly fine with and it shows a continued lack of leadership and courage for Gov. Snyder to hide behind “everybody is doing it” language.

Gov. Snyder also released a one-minute video “Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day” where he takes a tour around the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Gov. Snyder didn’t actually GO to the museum yesterday. Rather, he filmed a slick promo for the museum to be put on YouTube yesterday. Lest you think this wasn’t a thinly-veiled self-promoting campaign video, here’s the final screen from it:

Meanwhile, Democrat Mark Schauer had a VERY busy day. Like Gov. Snyder, he attended a luncheon. His was with labor groups in Detroit, the men and women that, as Ed Schultz puts it, “take a shower when they get home from work”. But that was hardly all he did.

Schauer participated in the Southfield Peace March in the morning. After that, he attended the Southfield Peace Program. After lunch, Schauer spent an hour participating the National Day of Service helping board up vacant homes near the Cody High School in Detroit. This project is part of AmeriCorps Urban Safety Project’s Day of Service which was actually three days of volunteerism involving hundreds of volunteers.

What’s amazing about this project is that, for the people in these neighborhoods, a boarded up home is actually a GOOD thing. It represents a community taking control of their environment and securing their neighborhood. The number of vacant, often burned-out homes surrounding Cody High School is astonishing.

One of the young men that runs the program said the best part for them is when neighbors come out to help them when they are in the area securing homes. Once the homes have been boarded up, neighbors tend to be more watchful and vigilant which helps keep things under control.

The project involves the entire community including law enforcement officers who enter the home to ensure no people or animals are living inside before volunteers board it up. Mark Schauer spent an hour on this Day of Service participating in this incredible and inspiring project.

After that, Schauer participated in another march, the Detroit Rally & March for “Jobs, Peace & Justice”, also in Detroit. He finished the evening off at the M.O.S.E.S. 17th annual Fundraising Banquet. I have written about this amazing faith-based group that is creating positive change in Detroit HERE.

The legacy left for us by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. calls on everyone to step up to make the world a better place. Yesterday we saw two contrasting visions of what that means. For Governor Snyder, it was a luncheon in Lansing and a slickly-produced video.

For Mark Schauer, it involved meeting people in Detroit and participating in their volunteer efforts to make the city a better place to live. That, I would suggest, embraced the true spirit of the day and is something we should all strive to emulate.

[Photos by Anne C. Savage for the Michigan Democratic Party. See more images from the day HERE]