My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
~Adlai Stevenson, speech in Detroit, 1952
The safety to be unpopular is a freedom we don’t always think of, but something we might well consider. It strikes me that in our relentless drive to get everyone on the same page, we’re not able to get anything done. There is a lot to be done and a lot of places we can find common ground to make our schools and communities better and protect the natural resources that make Michigan the place we love.
If it’s total agreement you’re looking for, that’s probably fascism. Democracy is messy.
Speaking of messy, you’ve no doubt noticed bigger booms over the last few days, That’s due to a new law in Michigan that allows the purchase of any federally allowed firework. The messy democratic process is already at work:
City officials across Michigan have scrambled in recent weeks to try to stymie the party in the sky — limiting when residents can set off fireworks in light of a change in state law that allows a more powerful category of explosives to be sold and used in the state.
Warren Mayor Jim Fouts blasted the state law, saying “pyromaniacs” are terrorizing the community, scaring children, pets, seniors and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder with the louder explosions caused by the more powerful fireworks.
“The state has legalized these ‘consumer fireworks’ and people are going gung ho,” Fouts said. “People, who were hesitant to do illegal fireworks now are empowered.”
State legislators approved the looser fireworks legislation, which went into effect in January, to keep residents from taking their money to other states to purchase fireworks not available here. The new law forces communities to allow the fireworks on the day before, the day of and the day after federal holidays, such as the Fourth of July.
Warren, Grand Rapids, Ferndale, Novi, Birmingham, Royal Oak and other cities across Michigan are already creating ordinances to ban these fireworks during other times of the year.
Here’s hoping you have an explosively fun and very safe Fourth of July! Here’s many more Fourth of July photos from Michigan in Pictures!