Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News
October 27, 2013
Credit for the initial observation goes to my friend, Mert. Growing up in Michigan, it seemed like Richard Austin was the de facto Secretary of State (which is what Michigan calls its department of motor vehicles). He was the guy with his picture on the wall, so he must be the guy we elect. And checking Wikipedia, true enough, he served from 1970 to 1994. He may have been a fine fellow and done some good things, but from a general citizen point of view, going to the Secretary of State office back then was a decidedly unhappy experience. So was there a great hue and cry to stop the existence of the Secretary of State? To obstruct it? To defund it? To kill it? Well, yeah, probably. (We were no less prone to emotional reactions back then.) But did we listen? No. No instead we elected leaders to improve the situation and now — again from my general citizen point of view — dealing with the Secretary of State office is not so bad. I think there’s a lesson there somewhere….