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Monday, October 31, 2011

We ARE The People

This is the text of a speech given by Anne Pawli at the WATP event held on Saturday, Oct. 29.
     We are a diverse coalition of organizations, the old, the young, the retired, the unemployed, students and workers, who understand evil is afoot in Michigan.  We were promised the American Dream but woke up in a nightmare, where elders' pensions are taxed, the poor are left hungry and homeless, teachers and other public employees are scapegoated as parasites on the system and working class women and men are told to downsize their plans for a secure retirement.  We are here because we know if we don't unite and face our foe together, we will be picked off and trampled underfoot one by one by one.  It has already begun.   
    We are nonviolent.  We treat each other, and those who do not understand the urgency of our cause, with dignity and respect.  As MLK said, “Don't bring your opponent to their knees, bring them to their senses” and that is exactly what we intend to do.  But let's be clear: nonviolence does not mean we acquiesce to the outrageous policies coming out of Lansing.  We will stand together, arm in arm, back to back in support of each other, and we will stand toe to toe against the 1-percent and politicians who do not believe the shared burden of sacrifice pertains to them.  We will not go quietly into that good night.
    We are a voice for those being forced to bear more of the burden of Lansing's misguided policies than they can possibly shoulder.  We are demanding our voices be heard by those elected to represent us.  WATP invited Sen. Goeff Hansen, Rep. Holly Hughes and Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright to attend today's rally.  We expected our representatives would have the moral courage to face their constituents and defend or justify their votes on legislation which will hurt the most vulnerable among us.  We hoped they had solutions for the terrible problems their new policies will create.  All three legislators said they had prior commitments.  Only Rep. Hovey-Wright felt compelled to change her plans so she could join us today.   
    We are angry, but we will not let our anger control us.  We cannot afford to be paralyzed by our rage.  And so we are here today to harness our outrage into action.  The powers in Lansing think we are distracted, asleep, hopeless and helpless.  They couldn't be more mistaken.  The sleeping giant has awakened.  We are going to organize, educate, motivate and irritate if we have to, our neighbors, friends, relatives and coworkers.  We are going to make sure what happened last November doesn't happen in 2012.  We are the people.  We have the power.  We are watching.  We are listening. And we will vote for our best interests Nov 6, 2012.

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