if you are not interested in Michigan, politics, an utterly unqualified and uneducated opinion, or soapbox temper tantrums.
If you’re still here, hello. How are things?
First of all, if I wasn’t scared enough every time I have to cross the Mackinac Bridge (which, thankfully, is much less often since S.’s parents moved from the Upper Peninsula to New York), now would-be, alleged (emphasis because, well, it’s important to recognize this is all conjecture) want to blow it up. The whole story seems sort of vague right now…men from Texas,then in Michigan, arrested in Tuscola county, loads of cell phones they were hoping to ‘sell,’ , pictures of the Mackinac Bridge and the possibility they might blow up it up, I mean, it wasn’t even on the front page of the local paper. The Today show did something on it that I heard while curling my hair and to me it sounds pretty circumstantial at this point. Possessing photos of a tourist spot, and the possession of a whole bunch of cell phones, well, it doesn’t exactly paint a person guilty as charged. We’ll see what comes of all of this.
Now, what I was HOPING to do was find some reaction from Dick DeVos, and use said reaction to segue into the rest of my post, but as hard as I’ve looked (at least five minutes on google) I can’t find any sort of response from DeVos on this issue, which is wildly disappointing because I was looking greatly forward to some good ol’ boy, hard core republican, smoke em’ out of their holes rhetoric to move this post forward. Alas, I’ll have to use a scene from Friday night, instead.
So, Friday night, I was out with A. and several of her friends at a local martini bar. There we were, in the downstairs section of the bar, lights dim, fancy glasses full of lemon drops and cosmos and appletinis, Billy Joel and Elton John and the like on the stereo, unwinding from what seemed to be, for most people, a hellish kind of week. At some point politics came up, as it always seems to when people drink too much, and A. turned to me and said “Why do we hate Dick DeVos? I knew we would vote democrat, because that’s what we do, but I didn’t realize until reading your blog that we really hate him!” She said this convivially, because we always vote the same anyway, and I responded with some trite answer while knowing that I really had to put some thought into the subject some day when drinks didn’t keep magically appearing in front of me.
It would be, really, ridiculous to say I hate Dick DeVos. I don’t know him, we don’t grab coffee on Saturday afternoons and call each other Sunday mornings with a particularly difficult clue from the New York Times crossword puzzle. And I can’t articulate off the top of my head a dozen well-thought reasons why you shouldn’t vote for him. I can say, well, he’s donated millions to Bush’s campaign. Isn’t that enough reason? But more than likely it isn’t. But, every day I look through the search engine terms used to find my blog because it’s hilarious to realize someone found my blog by searching things like “how to describe a descriptive essay” or “Hemingway sucks totally,” (and, as a tangent, for those of you girls continually finding this site by searching ‘pro ana diet,’ there will be a special post for you soon! Watch for it!) , the majority of those finding my blog right now are finding it through terms like “Dick DeVos and his stance on education,” and “Will Dick DeVos cut my retirement benefits” and “Who is Dick DeVos,” so it seems to me that many of us don’t know Dick DeVos, and so for the purposes of our upcoming election, it’s time we learned more about him than what his television commercials would have us believe – that he single-handedly rebuilt Grand Rapids during a time of desperation and if he becomes governor he’ll Put Michigan Back To Work.
I’m going to begin on the surface, with what I know about Dick. As I read more and learn more and do more research, I’ll share my findings with you. Here is what I do know, so far: DeVos has donated millions of dollars to Bush’s campaign, he’s strongly pro-life, against stem-cell research and he wants to reduce health benefits for teachers. Personally, for me, that’s more than enough to vote for Jennifer Granholm, but I realize it may not be enough for the general public. As S. pointed out last night, Granholm really hasn’t done a lot while she’s been in office, either. Apart from the Cool Cities act, she’s sort of wishy-washed her way around the governor’s mansion for four years, but I think this is because for so long she was hamstrung by the policies Engler left in place. Another four years could very well give her the time she needs to make a lasting impact, and I’m willing to give her that time.
Of course, though – I have a job. And in a state that is losing thousands of young people a year because it simply can’t support them, in a state whose auto industry is falling further and further behind foreign competition, in a state where every other house is for sale and the jobless rate keeps skyrocketing, well, I blog from a position of privilege, and I recognize this. I will say, though, that our failing economy is NOT Granholm’s fault. It takes decades for a state to hit a recession as hard as the one ours is experiencing, and it coincides directly with the rise and fall of the auto industry. I have many complicated and confusing feelings about the auto industry, but they are for another post on another day – in the mean time, over the next several months, it’s vital to determine for Michiganders what is, and is not, important to us. Certainly jobs are vital. But let’s not forget that we also need to protect our Great Lakes, our rivers and our land (both the Au Sable river and the area around Big Bay in the UP are in danger right now), let’s not forget we need to provide better public education and better health care, and let’s not forget Detroit, while we’re at it. Jobs, I know. They are first and foremost what we need to focus on. But while we do so, let’s make sure we are voting because a candidate gives us an actual plan for growth, and not because he relied on his personal fortune to out-advertise his opponent. Let’s learn more.
Up tomorrow – another meme! Hurrah!