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Let the 2024 Rally Cry Begin

Photo by Dyana Wing So on Unsplash

Over the past few years, tireless efforts have been invested in safeguarding democracy, whether by running for political office, volunteering for vital campaigns, or championing key issues. The commitment of individuals to causes like Voters Not Politicians, the Climate Reality Project, and defending schools from book banning has been commendable. However, fatigue has set in for some, worn out by the relentless barrage of political news, polls, and lawsuits.

This weariness plays into the hands of those seeking to dismantle democracy. Opponents thrive on our exhaustion, hoping we'll abandon the fight, disengage from civic responsibilities, and tune out the unfolding events. Make no mistake; there are forces at play within our own legislatures that harbor disdain for the very essence of democracy. Some envision a theocracy or authoritarian rule, viewing citizens as inherently weak and in need of control.

Nowhere is this more evident than just a couple of counties to our north in Ottawa County, Michigan. In the wake of the 2022 elections, a new, far-right commission, assisted by the dubious Ottawa Impact, has swiftly transformed the county's ethos. The purge of county staff, elimination of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion office, and marathon closed-door meetings raise critical questions about transparency and the true intentions of this commission.

The change in the county motto from "where you belong" to "let freedom ring" signals a shift toward an authoritarian regime. The impact of this shift is felt by concerned citizens, worn out by endless meetings and a palpable erosion of a sense of belonging in Ottawa County.

But what does this newfound "freedom" entail? It's a freedom fueled by fear—fear of phantom threats to parental rights, religion, and an unfounded dread of the "woke." Ottawa County's leaders propagate a narrative that inclusion and religious freedom pose threats, yet these ideals are the bedrock of a thriving and harmonious community.

In reality, embracing diversity and religious freedom doesn't diminish one group; it enriches the entire community. This is a call to action for every concerned citizen. Stand up against the hollow "freedom" peddled by fear. Demand transparency, question the motives behind closed-door decisions, and refuse to be worn down by the exhaustion tactics of those who seek to undermine our democracy.

It's time to reclaim our communities, our values, and our democracy. Attend meetings, ask the tough questions, and demand accountability. We all deserve better than to be steered toward authoritarian rule.

Let the rallying cry be heard: we will not surrender to fear. Together, we will safeguard our democracy and ensure that the true spirit of freedom, built on inclusion and respect for all, prevails.

Laura Goos

St. Joseph, MI


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