A few weeks ago John DeWolf and Steve Kegolovitz just decided we needed a protest rally right here in Muskegon to stand with working families -- both here and in Wisconsin. So they threw one together. The event happened a few hours ago. Five hundred people came out of their homes for the rally and march. I think people are finally getting mad. 500 people.
Several people spoke.
Whitehall High School teacher Norm Kittleson gave a thorough history of how we got into this mess. It is more than just a few bad decisions in Michigan over recent years. It has been a consistent effort across the country on the part of our wealthiest citizens for the past thirty years -- to put the money in the hands of just a few people. It began on August 4, 1981 when Ronald Reagan fired the Air Traffic Controllers. It was intensified when the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to anonymous donations from corporations. Today, we are actually at risk of losing our democracy.
Jill Bott, retired teacher, shared her experiences with a health problem. Due to health concerns, her American dream that she has worked for all her life has vanished into thin air. And what does our governor want to do about it? Tax her retirement. So he can give more money to Wall Street Millionaires.
Charles Nash did a great job of explaining the new Emergency Financial Manager legislation that recently passed through the legislature. It could put complete control of local governments in the hands of an Emergency Financial Manager, no checks or balances. They could fire elected officials, override local ordinances, and nullify labor contracts. Every single Republican voted for this bill -- in both Chambers. Their talking point is that Emergency Financial Managers will only be used in the most dire situations. Tell me, then, why they are training 50 of these EFMs. (Please see the previous post on this blog for more information about this bill).
During the campaign, all they talked about was how we needed to cut taxes. Our working families just could not handle more taxes right now. So what is the first thing they want to do when they take power? They want to tax working families -- so they can give more money to the Wall Street Milionaires.
We talked about the demise of the film industry and the devastating blows to education and public safety.
Steve Markel reminded us of our unity and the only way out of this mess is for us is to stick together. "We Are One," we chanted over and over again.
This event was not advertised in the Chronicle. They wouldn't give that coverage. In spite of them, though, 500 people in attendance. Seems like our greatest tools to protect the middle class are social media, person-to-person contact, and the internet. We simply cannot count on the corporate media. But we can do this without them!
Last year, the Tea Party had front page coverage and a nice article because they had a group of about 80 people. It will be interesting to see how The Chronicle will cover this rally of 500 people -- right across the street from them.
But to be effective this has to be only a beginning, not an end. We must have a sustained, consistent effort to inform our citizens and let our legislators know we will not stand by while they ruin our state.
So stay tuned. There is more to come.