Originally published in the Ann Arbor News, Bay City Times, Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press, Jackson Citizen Patriot, Kalamazoo Gazette, Muskegon Chronicle, Saginaw News September 6, 2015
The Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan has this brilliant campaign called “be nice.” It is a mental health awareness, bullying and suicide prevention initiative that focuses on change through simple, daily actions. It is really where the rubber hits the road for making a real, positive difference. The primary audience for “be nice” is youth in schools, but certainly the principles can apply to all ages.
Still, not all people learn the same. I’m afraid the “be nice” approach might not resonate with many of us middle-aged men. Perhaps there should be a program designed specifically for us. Let’s call it “Don’t Be a D—.” Crude? Yes. Negative? Absolutely. But it may be exactly what is needed to get through.
Listen, Virgil Smith Jr. did what he did and he still has the audacity to show up for his job as a senator. Todd Courser is not only showing up, he is actively trying to take the system down with him. It is obvious that cajoling and appealing to better sense won’t dislodge either of these guys. It’s time to say to them, “You’re being a d—. Don’t be a d—. Do the right thing. Resign. Start over. Rebuild your lives. For yourself, for your family, for the state of Michigan.”
Oh. And apologies to my father, Richard. Growing up, I got into more than a few fights defending the honor of his nickname. People may call him Dick, but he was (and is) anything but one. Of course then, he is the guy who named me John, which has had its own set of issues …