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Open Letter from a Teacher: 'I Will Remember, and I Have a Voice'

Letter from a School Teacher to Michigan's GOP Legislators

Letter to the Michigan Republican legislators (all except one) who voted to grant Governor Snyder the authority to dismiss locally elected officials and place in charge of school districts and municipalities his personal political appointees: 

I can describe myself in many ways.  I am a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt. I am a third generation immigrant.  I am Catholic. I am educated and hold a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. I am an educator. I am a reading specialist.  I am a citizen. I am a voter.  I am a union member. I am a homemaker. I am a swimmer.  I am a camper.  I am a reader.  I am informed.  I am a Michigander.  I am an Ann Arbor teacher.  

As I contemplate the actions of Michigan’s new Republican governor and his Republican supporters in the state house and senate, I am astonished, I am appalled, I am disheartened, I am discouraged, I am furious.   I feel unrepresented, under attack, disenfranchised.

When you place corporate interests above the legitimate needs and concerns of the people in your state, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you choose policies that force thousands of children into poverty (Who, with any sense of morality, can do that?)  in order to INCREASE corporate welfare, I will remember, and I have a voice.  

When you abandon the principle of governance for the common good in favor of showering the elite with more privileges, I will remember, and I have a voice.  

When you disseminate propaganda rather than fact-based information and seek to manipulate the public rather than to represent them, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you choose to make my vote meaningless and cynically go about the business of disenfranchising Michigan’s citizens in favor of gubernatorial dictatorship, I will remember, and I have a voice.  

When you gut the public schools, one of the cornerstones of democracy, I will remember, and I have a voice.  

When you defund and devalue my school district to such an extent that it cannot maintain excellence, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you take away my right to bargain my own labor, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you require professional preparation for teaching, ongoing education to maintain a license, and hold me accountable for the progress of my students, but are unwilling to pay me a professional salary, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you use democratic institutions, structures and processes to get yourself into office and then join an extremist governor in destroying democratic institutions, structures, and processes so that the citizens of Michigan are stripped of rights and representation, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you spend my hard-earned tax dollars on your own ideologically-driven agenda rather than on the common welfare, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you further reduce my modest livelihood and thereby circumscribe the opportunities of my children and grandchildren, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you abandon the citizens of Michigan to the tender mercies of corporate rule, I will remember, and I have a voice.  

When you choose to circumvent democracy in favor of paternalism, I will remember, and I have a voice.  

When you protect the privileges and wealth of the few at the expense of the many, I will remember, and I have a voice.  

When you prey on the most vulnerable among us to serve up ever more wealth and privilege to the elite, I will remember, and I have a voice.  

When you decide it it my job and the job of other hard-working Michigander’s to sacrifice even further in order to protect the wealth and privilege of the elite at all costs, I will remember, and I have a voice.

When you attack my family’s welfare, I will remember and I have a voice.

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