My last post here at Eclectablog created a bit of a stir, and certainly got many of you thinking, which is a good thing. I wasn’t necessarily looking for approval, but I was looking for reaction, and I got plenty of that, most of it supportive and some if it negative and, in my mind anyway, regressive in its tone and temperament. When someone suggests that the way to “show them” (whoever “them” are) is to NOT vote and NOT rally or show up, well your priorities are very much displaced and way out of tune as to how you get “their” attention.
Some of you also suggested that I didn’t demonstrate how to get involved, which proves to me that it must be true that blog posts should not be longer than five paragraphs (something I disagree with) because people do not take the time to read beyond that, which I also believe is not true. But I digress. I did offer some solutions and if you read the entire piece you will find it hiding in plain sight.
I do not have all the answers but I do have plenty of ideas. They all include a massive movement of civil protest and civil disobedience, the likes of which this state has never seen before. I’m talking about the kind of protests and push backs that makes national news. I’m talking about at least 50,000 to 75,000 people to start and to build upwards from there. And I mean way upwards from there.
Sending a message to our legislature and our Governor is more than just re-Tweeting and liking something. It is much more than hitting a send button on your e-mail account as you send a message to a lawmakers, all necessary and something you need to continue to do, but that is an appetizer to what really needs to be done.
Since the debacle of last week, this week continues a finely honed Republican tradition, begun about 4 ½ years ago to see just how nitpicky the legislature can and is willing to be. Bills that would limit local control to set minimum wages or prevailing wage would be abolished. Legislation is being proposed that would change the minimum wage for workers under 20 years old so that they would only make 85% of what someone over 20 makes AT MINIMUM WAGE. Nice, right?
How about a bill that would redefine a collective bargaining agreement and what a Union leader in the public sector, especially in Public Education (SB205) can do during working hours and how that compensation can be distributed, even though the Union and the school district have agreed how this will be paid for, and many times the Union picks up that cost anyway. In fact, if there is a grievance or a serious issue in a Public School that requires immediate attention, the Union leader at that school currently has to take time away from the classroom to allow for due process to take place. Even when a substitute teacher is allowed, which is all the time, and even though the Union picks up this cost most of the time, this new law would take away the already bargained-for rights in the public School system. Why? Is this a rampant problem? Is this a serious financial issue? No! Not in the least. So it falls into a GOP formula of forcing laws upon all of us that do not solve a problem. Instead, they look to create a problem that never existed, sincerely.
We still have no roads plan that looks like a plan in any way. We still have no legislative leadership on how to, in the long term, fix the roads, rebuild infrastructure, or to expand anything that resembles a mass transit system. All of these are things the data show millennials mandate they have in order to move and make an investment in a community they will move to.
There is a $2 billion plan to expand I-94 in Detroit over a three-mile section of roadway that would displace residents, would require the demolishing historical buildings, which would create havoc and chaos during what is estimated as a three to four year construction process. Most outside the Governor’s office and the Michigan Department of Transportation don’t think this expansion is even necessary. The money could actually be used for other projects in Michigan that are necessary, but at this point our Government is not even considering that path. Why? Because most of us don’t know about this and therefore no one is really fighting this beyond PIRGM.
The budget the Governor signed today places a much greater financial burden on the middle class (again), eliminates further assistance for our friends and neighbors who are most in need to assistance, and even though there was in increase in the Public School budget, we are still behind where we were before the Governor gave businesses $1.8 billion dollars in tax cuts, most of that coming from school funds.
We have extremely serious issues in Michigan that we are not addressing. We continue to see an on-going and sustained attack on the vast majority of the residents of this once great state who are being beaten to a pulp because the GOP majority has serious debts to pay to people like Dick DeVos, the Koch Brothers, and many, many others, many of whom remain secretive because of a GOP-backed law, signed by the Governor, that allows larger and larger donations that do NOT require transparency or accountability.
The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Americans for Prosperity, the Michigan Restaurant Association, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Right to Life Michigan, and a long list of special interests, well-funded and well-organized, are ready to continue to pounce on your rights, your civil liberties, and your freedom to live and breath (literally) in a society that was once protected and enshrined in our constitution.
We are about to see a law passed that will requires that the State Constitution, the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence be taught as a mandatory subject in K-12 schools. That would be fine except that law will allow for some sections NOT be taught and that ALL religious references in those documents be taught implicitly.
I am NOT joking and I am not going to sit back and take it any longer. But I cannot and will not do this alone. I do a three-hour radio show daily and I do it all by myself. I have no producer, no engineer and no assistance. My time is spent writing, planning, contacting and speaking to groups and organizations, and I love that. I also love to go to rallies and events that fight against the insanity that has become state government. But we need about another 99,999 people who want what I want.
I refuse to believe that those who believe in LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, the rights of the poor, the middle class, and the disabled and infirm do not have the will, the people, and the time to demand change. I refuse the believe that good, sound people believe that not voting and not showing up sends the message that we have had enough. And I, furthermore, do not believe that our opponents will eventually reach critical mass and that the change we want, need and demand can then be ignored forever. But they will unless we show up.
So, those of you who have active groups and influence in those groups and are waiting for the right time to pull the proverbial trigger, NOW IS THAT TIME.
Have you had enough? Do you need more examples? Are you angry yet? Are you willing to make some short-term sacrifices for long-term gain? Isn’t it about time we send the message, with our feet, that we will not and cannot tolerate the corporate agenda any longer? And be clear about this if nothing else: the reason the State GOP, the Governor, and the rest of the Republican cabal is getting away with all of this is because we are letting them. This is our fault. So put aside your individual “agendas”, stop criticizing me for telling the truth, wake up to what is really happening around us in plain sight, and let’s all get to work.
Sadly, the list above I can probably do on a weekly basis, and I didn’t get to all of it in this one, but it’s out there. Don’t get discouraged. Get mad. I am and I’m ready.