by AFEEFEH SEBLINI, Guest Writer
Or more accurately, why I’m rising. As a Michigan resident, there’s no doubt that I have first-hand experience of some of the problems that arise from over-worked and underemployed public services, poorly maintained roads, and a seeming inattention to the general public–and by that I mean “middle class” to low-income families and minorities.
It seems, however, that I am not the only one noticing the discrepancies between what we are promised during election time, and what actually happens once people are in office.
I get it. Being in public office is hard: the constant demands on your time, the piles of paperwork, always juggling the people’s wants with what the admin wants. Forget about what you want. I mean, I was senior committee president my last year of high school, so I am supposedly well-versed in the art of playing politics and getting stuff done. But I have to say, even I can’t spend every meeting messing around; at some point you have to sit down and get serious.
What we’ve been noticing, however, is that while things sure have been going in a certain direction, they seem to be going in, well, the wrong direction. How do we know? Because not only are things not getting better, they’re actually getting worse.
At first I didn’t know how to put it into words–it felt like I was merely blowing things out of proportion. When my fellow Social Justice League members brought up the Michigan Students Rise: March on Lansing, I was gung-ho, but also a bit unsure as to how to go about solidifying a demand. I knew things weren’t the best they could be, and I knew that some pretty worrisome things have been going on (Have you heard of fracking? No? Look it up. It’s not good), but what could I do about it? Even if I did march, what help would that do? I have an, at times, frustratingly low voice and an even softer foot-step. I felt my presence would go unnoticed.
Then I took a look at some of the demands that students from all over Michigan had added to the list, and I realized that this was far greater than myself. Not only were the issues being addressed quite serious, and most I entirely agreed with, but there was a wide range of them. So much so, many of us don’t even realize that we are being influenced by them. We cannot even comprehend the scope of the problems that may affect us, because we don’t realize we are experiencing them.
Furthermore, even if not every single problem relates to every single person, nor does every demand address every issue present in Michigan, drafting 10 solid items is an important first step. The final draft of the list of demands is one that quite frankly blew me away, for each one elicited feelings of indignation that the issue being addressed was even a problem, and relief (as well as a sense of gladness) that someone had the forethought to write it down. They are well-thought out, well-articulated, and I know that come March 26 at 11:30 am, they will be well-presented to the representatives outside of the hall, whether I am there to witness it or not. And I know for a fact that it really doesn’t matter that I’m not loud or that I am seemingly incapable of stomping. I know that it will be one of those moments that escape the suffocating dusts of history, one that will rise with the voices of hundreds and will be repeated by thousands. Because our forefathers had a certain idea when writing the Constitution, and as the years have passed, the American people’s representatives have added and modified it to fit the changing times.
Well, times have changed again. And I know that the Michigan that’s part of such a diverse America–the one that was among the first to be a free state, the one that gave birth to so much culture and revolution, that is home to such an astonishing scope of beautiful landscapes, animals, and humans alike–would never stand to be party to something that would harm it and its inhabitants. I know for a fact that this March, with the Michigan people making their way to the Capitol, will be the first step to putting things right–and making our state, and therefore our communities, a better place to live.