Detroit–Far from limping toward January, The Michigan “lame duck” state legislature is running roughshod over everything Michigan voters achieved on Nov. 6. The outgoing Republicans have enacted bills to restrict the provisions of ballot proposals (1. Redistricting, to end gerrymandering; and 2. Easing restrictions on voters) which had been voted in by healthy margins. They are also passing laws to restrict the powers of Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel, and to require unions to hold time-consuming and costly recertification votes every 2 years. The American Federation of Teachers (Michigan) is leading a lobbying effort, because bills micro-managing public education are on track to uphold Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ conservative agenda and to undercut the elected State Board of Education.
However, a lot of people in Detroit are talking about this in much broader terms, as a new and virulent form of voter suppression, leading to suppression of democracy itself. A couple of my friends who were participants in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s are determined to fight this–not by lobbying: our representatives are on the right side, though in the minority–but with a wide and sustained grassroots outreach so that young people do not lose hope in democracy altogether.
–Susan Van Gelder, December 17, 2018