I was born and raised in Michigan, left as a young adult, and recently returned as an older adult. While I am relieved to be back again, to walk and live among all that is nature once more, I am dismayed at the fall of the culture here. Or, in more Christian terms, the fall of Michigan man into baseness, selfishness, and corruption. When I was young, Michigan was considered “progressive,” and it relished its own high-mindedness. Not that this progressive attitude was necessarily one with Christianity, but it was something; it was better than shrugging ones shoulders and letting greed and selfishness simply take over.
If the state’s progressive attitude had its foundation in God, in the (in fact) ancient notion which Christ and His followers preached and exemplified–of considering all men equal in God’s sight, of therefore treating all persons with respect and fairness (poor or no), freely treating the sick, etc.–then it would prosper. But, considering that the state’s “progressiveness” appears to have disappeared along with its economy, its foundation appears to be based on the other master people choose: money. (The God we “trust” in seems to be the currency the motto is printed on.)
The idea for this post came about from my husband’s recent job search experiences. Never in my imagination, even with my life experience, would I have expected the degree of lying and deception by prospective employers, and the poor working conditions, that we have found in Michigan. I am at a loss after having discovered that employers here don’t have to provide a lunch break for full-time workers. Hopefully most do, but workers have no recourse if they don’t.
My husband took a full-time job recently, believing it was better than it was (based on what he was told), and knowing we were getting desperate financially. It’s relatively far away, so he has to spend time and money (on gas), to get there and back, even though he’s being paid a few pennies over minimum wage and he’s not allowed to have a real lunch break. His “lunch” is only 20 minutes long and he’s not allowed to go to his car to get any food. There is no microwave and you can’t take anything with you to your station. So he can hardly eat anything at all, and he can’t really use the bathroom; he has a digestive disease so this is really bad. If he misses any time within the first three months of work, he’ll be fired, and there is no holiday pay at all. If you know anything about Scrooge, you might realize that he was better than my husband’s 21st century employer.
What has happened to America? It’s as if we have traveled back to the 19th century, or to some place like China. My husband is starting to shake and be malnourished just so he can get paid a minimum wage for his work at a manufacturing plant in the United States. Woohoo! America is not the greatest anymore (even if it ever was). There are workers in smaller Western countries that have a much better quality of life than we do here in the United States (statistics can show things either way, but my husband converses with people from Germany, Australia, etc., where they have enviable lives, opportunities).
In any case, more on employee conditions in Michigan later (another post). Upon researching that subject, however, I found that the people running Michigan are quite corrupt. What a sad state of affairs. The state loses its main economic base, and the people don’t have the moral fabric to rebuild. Perhaps the moral fabric is a primary cause of the economic collapse. One could make that argument concerning the auto industry itself, no doubt, but I’m sad to find that it’s a state-wide problem. In an article published just yesterday, The Best and Worst Run States in America: A Survey of all 50, Michigan came in at number 34. That’s better than being at the very bottom anyway . . . right? Not in every way, no: “The government of Michigan is notable for its corruption and lack of transparency. According to a study by the Center for Public Integrity, Michigan is the most corrupt state in the nation . . . “.
According to the above article, Michigan was one of the few states to have many more people move out than in in recent years, but considering its economy, this was no surprise to me. But the most corrupt state in the nation? That did indeed come as a surprise. It may help explain the corruption and ethically lax attitude of many employers here, however. If you’d like to find out more, here’s the CPI report: State Integrity 2015: Michigan Gets F Grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation.
Other pertinent reports/articles
The Best and Worst States for Workers with Disabilities
U.S. Ranks Alongside Indonesia and Thailand on Workers’ Rights (I don’t agree with all the interpretations of the data used, but there’s still useful information here)