My friend and I recently walked down to the park in the town of Midland. The scene was full of life. Arts-and-crafters lined the pavement, selling their goods. Musicians on the stage warmed up their instruments. Lawn chairs were strategically placed all over the park; old couples held hands; and children ran through the maze of people and picnic baskets.
In this lively setting, my thoughts were not political. Yet I would soon encounter a situation that caused me to see our political system in a different light.
Amid the happy throng, a group of red-shirted individuals caught my eye. Their clothing and clipboards read, “Recall Governor Snyder.” I kept my gaze low and hurried to get safely past without stirring up a conversation, since I didn’t consider an evening in the park to be an ideal time for politics
My companion, however, had a different idea.
“How many of you are picketing statewide?” he asked.
The red shirts eagerly flocked around.
I was annoyed.
By the end of a frustrating conversation with these picketers, I was almost ready to reconsider my generally scrupulous support of the First Amendment and the state constitution, which allows a recall of the governor.
After reflecting, however, my attitude changed. I don’t profess to know if Gov. Snyder should be recalled. Nevertheless, I realized that what actually annoys me are people always complaining about what’s going on in our country and claiming to know what’s best for it, but doing nothing to change it.
Thursday evening, I witnessed one of the attributes of freedom and democracy. Even though we participate in the age-old game of incessant whining about government, as citizens of the United States and Michigan, we can criticize and take action. Whichever way we choose, whether peacefully picketing, blogging, voting or running for office, we still have a say in decisions that affect our future.
As Americans, we all have different ideas about who should run our country and how it should operate. In spite of reading various editorials stating that attempting to recall Gov. Snyder is too negative, I think the recall volunteers honored our democratic system by not only knowing, but also exercising, their rights as citizens of this nation.
In a classic American scene — a walk in the park, a band warming up, young entrepreneurs selling artwork — another great theme of freedom appeared: passionate individuals devoted to a cause and committed to shaping their own future, instead of allowing someone else to form it instead.