Hey there - big things have been happening today!
To answer Julia (and Christopher)'s question, I'm from Michigan. Currently, the political situation in good ol' MI is "business-ruled oligarchy," with our new governor Rick Snyder and Congress ignoring and abusing the citizens. They're also trying to bust the unions, and are hurting the middle class by doing so.
What I mean to say is, they've eliminated all business taxes, and they're replacing that money by attacking teachers. I don't want to get into all the minuet details of how exactly that's happening, but it is happening - as the child of a teacher, it's scary as all get-out. As a high school student, it's scary. As a citizen, it's scary. If you're wondering about why I feel this way, check out some of the things that have been written on it; check out the laws that are taking away from my education.
ANYWAY, my point is that I went to a rally at the capitol building today, held by the Michigan Educator's Association in Lansing. That's the state teacher's union, of which my mom is a member. I thought it would be sweet to go to an actual protest, and hold a sign and whatnot.
The rally started with a huge picnic at the MEA headquarters, which was sweet. Everyone wore red, and it was a huge festival-type thing. The people were all nice, although we encountered a pretty weird situation at one point. This dude walked up to my mother and me, and started asking all these questions about what was going on. He said he was from out of the area, and was interested in the details of what was going on. We talked to him for around 20 minutes, and it started to seem a little strange. All of his questions were very professional sounding, and they did a good job of getting us to keep talking. Once he left, my mom told me that she was pretty sure he was recording the conversation; he was fiddling with something in his pocket the whole time (his jacket pocket, weirdos), and the leading nature of his questions suddenly made sense. We saw him talking to other people later, presumably doing the same thing with them. I know we both answered his questions intelligently and well, but it was a bit unsettling that he was (illegally) recording us. Oh well...we sounded too knowledgeable to be used for slander.
At 3-ish, everyone headed down to the capitol building lawn. By the time we had found a parking space, the protest was in full swing: a massive sea of red, with people lining the streets and waving signs. There were tables set up with petitions to recall Snyder from office, and people leading cheers. We stood by the road for a while, waving our signs and encouraging people to honk for us. It was surprising how many people took pictures of us - they seemed to like our signs!
At 4, people began speaking. There were about 10,000 people by that time, mostly from the teacher's union. However, there were also lots of United Auto Workers members, and Teamsters driving their semis around the block honking. The candidate who ran against Snyder was there, and his speech was pretty great. It did get slightly boring after a while, but it was really hard to not get caught up in the spirit. A reporter for some website interviewed me, and said there'd be some quotes from me in her final article. I'll definitely be putting a link up when it's published!
All in all, it was really cool to do. I had a lot of fun, and I felt really important. I've heard that protests "don't do anything," but I disagree. I went out there with 10,000 other people, and told my government that they haven't been listening. I felt like I was part of something big, and like I was taking an active role in determining my future.
I've gotta say...protesting does wear you out!! I have to go get some sleep - have a good one!