This is Democracy


Lansing is different from many of our surrounding sister cities. In fact, Lansing has a characteristic that makes it completely superior to any other city in Michigan. Lansing is the capital city of our state. That makes it a destination for those with a cause, elected officials, those with an agenda, fundraisers, special events, farmers markets, city announcements, holiday events and an occasional music concert. Today it was the destination for “Storm the Capitol”, a group of protestors unhappy with Michigan’s new governor’s budget. Whether for or against this cause, I find great power in a group of like-minded regular folks coming together to support each other. It has strength. As one protestor’s sign read: “This is Democracy in Action”. And it’s true. In our country the people have a voice. They have a legal right to let their opinion be heard. Whether it’s burly, leather clad motorcyclists protesting a law requiring helmets, or tea party groups advancing on the Capitol grounds protesting the over extent of the government. This group was mostly made up of union folks. Some were protesting on behalf of Wisconsin’s union groups that are losing their collective bargaining rights. A few were from the private sector showing concern for the hard-working middle class. All in all, this group; gathered together in anger and frustration, displayed absolutely no anger. They cheered. They rallied. They smiled at each other. There was an elderly gentleman walking around with a shovel, making paths for people to walk on. I walked around this cheerful crowd listening to their conversations and asking to take some photos of their signs.
After awhile I left the front of the Capitol area and continued my walk on the surrounding streets. At one point I stopped at one of the many architectural finds to take some pictures. After I snapped the picture I heard something rustling below the window. Thinking it might be a rat I was pleasantly surprised to find a duck. This one however was stuck, unable to fly straight up. After contemplating what to do I decided my fear of birds would never let me crawl down there and pull him out. I was just about to leave and hope the duck would find food to survive when a couple that had just left the capitol lawn turned the corner and was walking my way. I explained the situation to them and without even thinking twice the gentleman of the couple climbed down the hole and grabbed the duck, stopping to let me take his photo and comment on how beautiful the duck was. He agilely climbed back out, confirmed the duck was safe and politely said goodbye. I guess it didn’t occur to me that mingled in the crowd was fire safety people, police officers and emergency workers; the very people who keep us safe and rescue us when we are in trouble. It was that duck’s lucky day for sure!

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