Red State Blues

I’m so sad about Michigan.

In addition to the plans I’ve made to donate and volunteer for national organizations, I’ve been thinking about Michigan. I love Michigan, I have faith in Michigan, and I absolutely took it for granted we’d vote blue, like we always do. It broke my heart when that didn’t happen.

Michigan welcomed my immigrant family with open arms and made us better people, and better Americans. And, like many others, I completely turned my back on it when I hit California in my 20s. I am grateful to live in a sea of blue, but I have been up every night thinking “What can I do about Michigan?”

I spent hours awake last night starting a list of specific commitments I can execute in the next two years to ensure the pendulum swings in the direction of progress. I hope my many many friends from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, I’m not going to list any more because we are warding off depression here, feel motivated to do the same. It’s just a start, but I have to hope it’s something.

1. Read and subscribe to the local newspapers. Not just the big-city paper, but other-side-of-the-state papers that will give me a broader snapshot of what is going on in my home state. What real people outside of my bubble think/feel/need.

2. Follow MI journalists and politicians on social media, and err on the side of conservative. I have a beautiful, entertaining news feed that is entirely NY- and LA-based liberal writers. I need to hear perspectives other than my own.

3. Gather my other forward-thinking LA friends from Michigan, part them from disposable income, Research local/county/state election and candidates, support progressive politicians with donations, time, fundraising efforts.

4. Make sure EVERYONE I know in Michigan hears from me about voting for progressive candidates in local and state elections, and on voting days, bug them until they leave the house for their polling place. I will do whatever I need to do, if that means a Zingerman’s gift basket to every house. Or one brownie. At least.

5. Write to the state superintendent of schools and ask to sit down and discuss racial and gender tolerance in schools. Is there a state policy? Is it clear? How are the cases going to be handled? Fundraise for teacher training or implementation, if need be.

6. Contact the high school, middle school, grade school guidance counselors in my parents’ school district and ask if there have been post-election incidents, what can be done to reach out to families who are being targeted, and ask how tolerance is being implemented, systemically.

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