Thursday night I was invited to sit on a panel at a local bar/restaurant, an event sponsored by the local public-radio station, ostensibly to ask the grassroots what they were thinking about ahead of the Mackinac Policy Conference next month. I know the other panelists and the radio people, so it was a good time. Here we were; pic by my Deadline Detroit editor, who attended:
With any public radio-summoned audience, I always expect a higher level of discussion than you’d get from, say, mall walkers, but you still get the full spectrum of humanity, if you know what I mean. The No. 1 issue we discussed was road funding; Michigan’s have been neglected for years, and are at a crisis stage. This means a big tax to raise the $2 billion a year they will require for the foreseeable future, and the governor has proposed a 45-cent-per-gallon levy. That’s a hard swallow even for people who believe in it, and for Republicans? Of course it’s a non-starter in the legislature. We took a show-of-hands poll and found most in favor, with a few opposed.
“The governor has said that if you oppose this, you need to state what your solution would be, so would anyone like to offer one?” I asked, calling on one of the raised hands.
“The roads aren’t that bad,” he said, to guffaws from the room. Then he explained that the problem was people not calling the state highway authorities when they came across a bad patch, and anyway, he mostly drives on I-696, recently resurfaced, so he doesn’t see a need to pay so much for all the other roads awaiting action.
And if that isn’t the truest distillation of a certain kind of voter, I don’t know what is.
Anyway, and in line with the last thread’s comments, I was approached afterward by a woman with hollowed-out, imploring eyes. She kinda looked like Andrea Riseborough in this role (“Nancy,” in a film of the same name, weirdly enough), only with more hollowing and more imploring:
Her voice was low, but I picked out “greatest threat to health in our lifetimes” and a few other phrases. Thankfully, she just wanted a few seconds of time; the handout she pressed into mine would explain.
It was all about the radiation dangers of 5G internet.
So y’know, this stuff is going around. Put a pin in that, and then consider this:
Trump falsely claims Democrats support murdering babies.
"The baby is born, the mother meets w/the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully. Then the doctor and mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby."
The crowd respond w/angry boos pic.twitter.com/DgVgw5IZ0f
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 28, 2019
We’re hearing a lot about civility these days, here and in Michigan, but my line is drawn: If this is the sort of rhetoric you support and cheer, I’m not going to be civil to you. And there are a lot of people who do, so where are we?
I fear there will have to be a 9/11-scale event to shake all this bullshit out of our skulls. I also fear it’s way too late for that. Although some people keep trying, like this lady; I encourage you to go over to Twitter and read the whole thread:
Thread: As a NICU nurse, I served on the “Bereavement Team.” We were a special team of Nurses tough enough to help new parents go through the worst day of their lives. Parents of babies who had fought so hard for their tiny little lives and weren’t going to make it… 1/ https://t.co/2ZzDAEziyi
— Julia Pulver, RN (@VotePulver) April 28, 2019
Oh, well. At least the NRA is suffering some public embarrassment. It’s the little things.
And now it’s a chilly but sunny day. I was going to lift some weights but instead I think I’m gonna put Wendy in the car and head over to Belle Isle for a walk along the river. Hope all have a good week ahead.