It’s finally spring here in Michigan, and boy, spring has sprung. People from all over the state have joined together to protest the emergency financial management and union-busting legislation running through the Michigan Legislature. You can watch a live stream here.
I took some pictures and videos. One interesting video was the portrayal of corporate America’s takeover of state governments, particularly that of the Koch Brothers. Now, I don’t know anything about that, but here’s the clip nonetheless:
I stress again the value of public goods and the investment they are worthy of. It’s difficult to account for the greater societal benefit of things like education on very short term fields. It’s very easy to slash budgets. I suggest that we look at the benefits of having a more educated society today than that of one or two hundred years ago. Some things we might take for granted are modern medicine, automobiles, technology, the internet, a very wealthy middle class, etc. The list goes on and on. So why do we cut the things that brought us to our current status?
An article on the hyperlocal Trenton Patch talks about the suggestions the school district in Trenton, Michigan could do to save $3 million dollars in their budget. Some of these include making athletics fully pay-to-play, cutting buses and then charging for parking, asking the teachers to take a pay cut, increasing class size, and finally, reviewing health benefits. If you ask me, public school just got a whole lot more expensive.
JoAnn Watson, a Detroit City Councilwoman, spoke for a while at the rally. She talked about the importance of standing up with each other in solidarity because of the prices some people paid to get where we are today. While she never mentioned race, I feel she should have. One of the hardest hit populations of budget cuts is usually African-Americans, who were at this protest in large numbers, and the poor.
So what now? The money isn’t just going to magically appear, schools are not going to work without funding, and importantly, I don’t know if people are going to stand up to further divisions in class. If you have some solutions, please share it. For now, you can see the rest of my pictures here.