Michigan farmers, millennials, Yoopers, conservatives: What’s on your mind?

Monica Williams edits Guest Commentary for Bridge Magazine.

How much better the silence, or at least that’s what my Detroit Public School teachers often told me when I was younger. It wasn’t until years later that I figured out that it isn’t necessarily so.

If you’re a rural farmer, a person of color, a woman or a millennial, you may feel your voice and your views often are dismissed. In fact, how many times do you wish you had spoken up, said more, stood your ground? Here’s your chance. Bridge Magazine wants to hear your perspective on Michigan’s critical issues. 

The Guest Commentary feature of Bridge is perhaps our most democratic part of the publication, because anyone has an opportunity to reach a wide audience of intelligent, informed and receptive Michiganders. Of course, we’d like you to have some expertise or knowledge in the subject on which you’re writing — government, policy, health care, environment, education — but a doctorate isn’t required.

Unlike our news stories, Guest Commentaries aren’t written by our staff members. They also do not reflect the opinion of Bridge Magazine, its owner, the Center for Michigan, or its donors. Rather, the Guest Commentary page is where individuals with no connection to the publication can raise their voice, which can and should counter the stance of the owner, any sponsor, editor or reporter at Bridge.

Bridge’s Guest Commentary page has always been an open forum and we welcome the opinions of all readers but we want to hear from more of you. We urge more people of color, Yoopers, northern Michiganders, Detroiters, millennials, conservatives and women to write sharp, thoughtful analysis for Bridge. (Ditto goes for Democrats, seniors, downstaters and men.)

We want — need —  to provide the broadest possible range of opinions — from the left, from the right and, somewhere in the middle. We’re nonprofit and nonpartisan; our sole agenda is to provide provocative, thoughtful, fact-based opinions on a variety of vital state issues. 

We are at a critical juncture in the history of our nation — and our state. I’m a Detroit native and a veteran of the mainstream media and know all too well how journalists have missed the mark and marginalize (or underestimate) those who don’t look, think or speak like us.  Very few political journalists saw Trump’s victory coming. He wasn’t off-base: He had a silent majority that the media overlooked. We’ve relied too often on polls, office reporting, and sources who espouse values and views that align with ours.

Bridge Magazine wants to diversify the chorus of voices who contribute to public discourse. It’s time to crawl out from our echo chambers, for it is in reaching and hearing the views of others that we can find common ground and work together to move this state forward. Fact-based journalism is for everyone.

We’re open to new and provocative ideas. In the past few months, thought leaders have written Guest Commentaries that explored alternatives to flunking lagging third-grade readers, what it’s like to be a 7th-generation commerical fisherman; pondered whether we need a tax increase; accused the governor of using citizens as pawns; made a case for Line 5; and taken us to task for the use of the words “anti-abortion.” 

The only unifying characteristic is that all our commentaries have a point, are intellectually stimulating and are relevant to Michigan.  

Have something to say? Take a look at our guidelines and pitch or send me your fresh opinion or sharp analysis to mwilliams@bridgemi.com.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

If you are interested in submitting a guest commentary, please contact Monica WilliamsClick here for details and submission guidelines.

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We are a nonprofit Michigan news site focused on issues that impact all citizens. In an era of click bait and biased news, we focus on taking the time to learn both sides of a story before we post it. Bridge stories are always free, but our work costs money. If our journalism helps you understand and love Michigan more, please consider supporting our work. It takes just a moment to donate here.

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Comments

Cindy
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 9:14am

It seems that the Governor may be using "people" as leverage with the budget...and so cruel. However, I suggest that the entire budget is a "people" budget and Republicans had no care for the "people" for over forty years! They have passed budget after budget not addressing the needs of Michigan's children, the infrastructure, the healthcare needs, the retraining needed when corporations close or leave for China, Mexico, Germany, etc. It seems disingenuous to now cry foul when the budget submitted was not accepted. I personally liked the idea that the legislature should rewrite our tax laws so that we have a graduated income tax charging the wealthiest and most blessed among us to share what has been given them year after year. We have amazing amounts of monies going to a very few in even the smallest of towns. This, while most are working two/three jobs to pay insurance premiums, mortgages, and education costs. Reality should force its way into this discussion.

Burt Vincent
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 10:31am

We could start with simple justice. The courts have become crude interpreters of the law and favor the government and the well connected. Government has the authority to collect taxes but no responsibility to do the correct thing with them re: the lottery for education scam where general fund contribution was reduced by an equal amount as lottery contributed. In other words money collected may trickle down a few schillings where it was promised but the lions share is lost to the thieves who collect the money. And by the way did anyone report on the missing 12 million dollars accountants couldn't find when project main was initiated. They just adjusted the books. Try doing that in your own business. Corruption runs rampant and will continue to do so as long as the court system protects those in governmental positions of power.

Arjay
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:52am

And I feel that the government should operate more like a store, charging every citizen the exact same amount of income or property tax. After all, we each have one life to protect, educate, and provide for. Want to have 8 kids, fine, but realize that it takes 8 times as much to educate 8 as it does to educate 1. The same applies to everything the government provides. The US Constitution provides equal opportunity, not equal results.

LOL
Sat, 10/19/2019 - 7:05am

You might be happier in Sudan.

Bones
Mon, 10/21/2019 - 10:02am

You can't expect libertarians to understand history or economics

Barry Visel
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 10:33am

Perhaps Bridge could pull some of the feedback you get from the “comments” section to write additional articles based on different perspectives. For example, I often comment that we don’t need new or more taxes, rather we need to eliminate some of our tax expenditures (which generally benefit higher income individuals and corporations the most), yet I never see any stories explaining tax expenditures and how they cost the State revenue.

I would also suggest that “stand alone commentary” absent a side-by-side different perspective on the same topic is not that helpful.

Chris Duco
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:40am

Exactly.

Post GOP Domination
Sat, 10/19/2019 - 7:07am

What do you want to cut? Who is stopping you from posting? Why play the victim card?

Chris Duco
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:39am

Unless Bridge starts publishing multiple counterpoint opinions to every partisan opinion they publish, Bridge will create a reputation as being a partisan rag. You obviously think a diverse point of view is represented but I have, as of yet, to see an article that comes close to my point of view. Then again, my point of view is very centrist. We can’t have a reasonable centrist point of view getting published in this hyper extremist environment, now can we?

duane
Mon, 10/21/2019 - 1:46am

Ms. Williams,
I am not one of those, “If you’re a rural farmer, a person of color, a woman or a millennial, you may feel your voice and your views often are dismissed.,” you are asking to hear from.
I will break from your model because I don't want to hear from just those like me, I don't want to just hear from those I think haven't hear, I want to a diversity of perspective. I Like the Bridge format because I only hear not see who is talking. Your approach is approach is flawed, it is no different than the long history used by the media, it reinforces the divide we are facing today, it feeds on the discouragement of addressing problems/issues collectively. A position piece is by nature drawing a line for people to take sides on by asking for position article, and is creating targets for personal attack.
Your article is neutral, only looking for writers, and yet we read in the comments about the evils in one Party. What do you expect when a writer sets a position for others to comment on? You may delude yourself that such pieces will allow or even encourage others to see different perspectives, much like that recent series about people from different parts of the state. I am only guessing what you want such articles to achieve, so I offer alternative approach.
This approach is proven help people work together and better appreciate other perspectives. It designed to problems solved, to address issues , engage people and learn by listening to others with differing perspectives, you need to create/facilitate a structure conversation. It starts with a purpose or problem statement that all will understand and can be reminded of to keep the focus on the desired outcome. There needs to be guidelines; no personal attacks, all comments are directed at the host/facilitator, there are no comments about past grievances [history can be changed so no purpose in dwelling on it], comments about others ideas or remarks will be limited to how they can be made better and never about why they won’t work such as tried and failed, the facilitator will be the arbiter on the conformance to the guidelines. There will be two added tools; an action board where ideas offered that don’t fit the topic but maybe used for a future conversation [this will minimize comments creating distraction], and there will be a consolidation of ideas/summary at the end of the conversation for participants and others to for reference. Plan to have a short window for the conversation [week to ten days] to focus efforts and keep people engaged. I would also encourage include a brief reasoning behind an idea, limit to 150 word per comment.
If you want to hear different perspectives you ask a question, don’t tell others what to think, and listen. I have found asking the right question and listening yields a wider range of ideas and a better opportunity to find the best one.
Your desire for ‘expertise’, I would much rather hear creative thinking from those outside the established subject matter ‘experts’, the ‘experts’ tend to a group think on problems and issues.

Monica Williams
Mon, 10/21/2019 - 5:45am

Duane,

Thanks for writing in. I like your suggestions for facilitated conversation and am giving that serious thought.

We appreciate you reading Bridge and hope you will continue to do so.

 

duane
Mon, 10/21/2019 - 9:20pm

If you need more detail about that type of conversation or if you have concerns or see problems, please let me know.

Bones
Mon, 10/21/2019 - 10:07am

A wealthy white Boomer male interjecting himself in a conversation to explain why his viewpoint is more important than marginalized voices or experts? Flawless lack of self-awareness

duane
Mon, 10/21/2019 - 9:36pm

Why not a poor kid that learned how to facilitate creativity in a group of strong willed people?
Why are you so preoccupied with money and can't ask or won't challenge the idea?
Will you only listen to the poor when they are poor or will you consider those who have work their way out of being poor?
Why does a person's status matter so much you can't hear their ideas?