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Has Michigan Always Been So Regressive and Anti… Well, Everything? [OPINION]

iStock via Thinkstock
iStock via Thinkstock

I should probably disclose right up front that there’s a libtard snowflake hot take headed your way. That was your trigger warning, so you only have yourself to blame for getting butthurt about what you read from here on out.

I’ve always considered myself to be what people refer to as a “hater.” I have very specific preferences when it comes to music, and enjoy making fun of bands that I think are corny, of which there are many. The same is true of movies and
TV, although I’m less picky with those. I’ve always worn that like a badge of honor, but my haterism is mostly exclusive to entertainment media. It’s pretty harmless overall, and is done in the spirit of having fun and a few cheap laughs with friends.

What I’ve been starting to realize is that I’m not a real hater. Most of the stuff I crack wise about is irrelevant and there for strictly for our enjoyment anyway. No big deal. I have also just realized that I am, however, surrounded by actual haters — people who hate on things that do matter, and in ways that hold us all back as a society. Let me explain where all of this is coming from before I get too far ahead of myself.

The last few weeks I’ve been spending an unhealthy amount of time digesting Facebook comment sections from local news affiliates, mainly those of WNEM TV5, but also some from MLive, abc12, some of our radio stations, and some comments on news stories in local Facebook groups. My overall feelings about what I’ve observed in these slimy gutters of human interaction are best summed up by this question — “Have these knuckle-dragging cavepeople always lived here?”

Seriously, some of the issues these comment section aggressors are against are mind-boggling. And not only are they against them, but they’re like really against them. These are mostly things I didn’t even realize were up for debate anymore. I’ll share with you a some of the most baffling comments on a couple stories so you can get a taste of what I’m talking about:

Headline: DTE activates Michigan’s largest solar array in Lapeer

Pretty straightforward, right? Solar energy, it’s clean, it’s sort of free… who could be mad at that? Michiganders, that’s who. Check out some of these comments:

“Michigan’s largest solar array could power your lights…if the sun is out, and it could produce a whopping 45 megawatts. Compared to the fermi 2 plant that produces 1200 megawatts, and it’s still needed because people need their power at night too.”

 “So stupid!! Destroying a beautiful piece of property.”

 “And how much nature and farmland had to be destroyed for that?”

“Ugly.”

Pretty crazy, right? Sure, it’s not as powerful as a nuclear plant, it’s also not going to destroy everything around it if and when it fails. The old, “people need power at night” bit is always good for a laugh. I’m not sure if a solar plant like this can store solar energy on a large scale as of yet, but even if they can’t, they can use it in the daytime and be less reliant on other sources. Where’s the harm in that?

It may be “ugly” to some, but it’s a lot less ugly than a couple of smokestacks or nuclear silos or any other source of energy you’ve ignored to this point. You don’t have to try very hard to see the benefits of solar. It takes much more work to find something petty to hate about it. Yet still — those people exist and they’re our neighbors.

Headline: Monuments sought to commemorate blacks who served Confederacy

WTF is that? This is clearly a troll move by a couple of race-baiting Southern politicians, right? Let’s even set aside your stance on the ridiculous monuments to the Confederacy —  who were literal traitors that seceded from their own country and went to war with it to keep slavery alive — you have to be able to see this for what it is. No one could support a monument to commemorate that time the Confederacy made black people fight in a war against their own freedom, right? Wrong. Guess who… South Carolinians? Nope… well actually, yeah, but also — it’s Michiganders again:

“I’m all for it. People need to know their history! Blacks that fought for the Confederacy were probably the ones that was treated good and more and likely was freed by their owners! Read the history and learn it.”

“They should be recognized.Like the ideal.”

“Why can’t we have monuments to both confederates and blacks? Put them up together and let people see how each were significant! We need a clear history on this country.”

The majority of the comments were people that just didn’t understand what was going on at all saying things like:

“I thought the Confederate statues were all coming down because people were so offended by them. But now we want more? I think, umm . . . I mean . . . WHAT!?”

“Oh hell no! If you take away one or all you don’t get to put up new to suit your poor me attitude! That stuff is over let it be done!!!”

“Of course. but they want to tear down statues and flags of white confeds. yeah, u make sense. if the south whites can’t have their flag or statues, then the blacks don’t need to have theirs. history is history and u can’t change it nor erase it coz u destroy it’s monuments. hope the whites fight it in the south”

To that last guy — the whites already did fight in the south. Spoiler alert — they lost.

Why is Michigan so filled with these people who think what the Confederacy did in the Civil War was something noble that should be commemorated? Michigan was on the winning side, you guys. It’s literally the darkest time in American history, and we shouldn’t be honoring the Confederacy in any way. I don’t know why it’s so hard for so many Americans, especially Michiganders, to get past this. Well, actually I do, but I don’t like the answer.

I could keep going all day on this stuff. These are just two small examples of the abundance of thinly veiled racism and “make America 1950 again” attitudes that now make up the lion’s share of what Michiganders posting in response to what they call fake news.

Have I just been blind to the fact that it has always been this way in Michigan? Are the reasonable people just quieter? Is it a combination of both? I really have no idea, but I do know how the election turned out… and that says a lot. Everything that been brought to the surface since then has made me feel like I’ve been monumentally naive all these years. Perhaps I’ve just had blinders on. Either way, I feel embarrassed to be surrounded by this many people who still have so far to go… a feeling that will be amplified as soon as I have to start writing about the Kid Rock Senatorial campaign like it’s not a joke. Sadly, it won’t be. He could win in Michigan.

If you made it this far — thanks for reading. I guess there’s no real point to this article. I’m just growing increasingly more frustrated with what I see as willful ignorance and wanted to vent. Maybe you feel the same way and, hopefully, reading this let you know you’re not alone. In Michigan these days, it’s easy to feel that way.

If you read this whole thing just to bash me in the comments, first of all — congratulations! That’s almost 1300 whole words you just read… and no. This didn’t count as a book. Second of all — have at it. It’s a free country. Just know this — back in the 1950s, there used to be a bunch of ads about which brand of cigarettes doctors and dentists recommended. They were on the wrong side of history. Don’t be them.

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