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E-M:/ Yes, Michigan, there IS a Scrooge



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Enviro-Mich message from anne.woiwode@sfsierra.sierraclub.org
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      "vin-dic-tive: adj. 1. Disposed to seek revenge; revengeful. 2.
       Unforgiving; bitter; spiteful." (The American Heritage Dictionary)

Just before Christmas Governor John Engler announced that he is considering
vetoing legislation that would seek to designate the Dwarf Lake Iris as the
official Wildflower of the state of Michigan.  The timing is exquisite --
after the legislature has gone home, and in fact after many legislators who
voted for this bill are gone from Lansing forever.  Secure in his berth for
another four years, the Govenor could make this meaningless yet nasty gesture
of a Grinch with a heart still many sizes too small, or Ebeneezer Scrooge
before being saved by the effort of ghosts.  His spokesman's sneer could
practically be heard, even in the printed word, that there are just too many
official symbols for Michigan for this Governor to sign another into
existence. It will cost taxpayers something (perhaps even as much as the
dozens of self-promoting press releases the Governor's staff put out just in
the month of December!), and just how many symbols of the state do we need?

Indeed we have many symbols.  Why, we even have a State Soil!  Of course, that
was designated by the effort of the Governor's own Lt. Governor, Connie
Binsfeld when she was in the Senate. And what about the State Game animal, or
the State Rock, etc., etc.  But of course, Governor Engler did not seek to
veto the State Game Animal when it came up -- and I have heard no movement to
dethrone Lt. Gov. Binsfeld's pride and joy, though of course it is doubtful
that many other states even have considered a "state soil".

For the dozens who participated in the debate over what native wildflower
should be put forward as the symbol of the state we love, the attention to
wildflowers in Michigan as long overdue (the trillium was the alternative
offered by many).  Yes, there is a state flower, the cherry blossom, which the
Governor's spokesman is quick to point out.  Of course, John Engler no doubt
doesn't know, nor would he care, that this "symbol" of the state is not
indigenous to Michigan. An indigenous wildflower that grows in low swampy
areas along our Great Lakes Coasts -- a perfect symbol of the natural heritage
we are losing ever faster at the hands of this Governor.  Why I suppose it
should be no surprise that THIS Governor is seriously considering vetoing this
minor gesture to honor Michigan's wild lands and wetlands.

The Christmas eve newscasts or the Christmas Day papers offered this puzzling
and hurtful bit of vindictiveness -- was it necessary for the political
minions in the Executive Office to pass along just how petty their boss can be
on the very day when Joy and Christian's celebration of creation is intended
to inform all of our thoughts? Was this a distasteful little test to see just
who might jump and scream if the Governor's boys threatened to kill off this
hostage from the last legislative session?

Regardless of what inspired this vindictive little plot, we in the Great Lakes
State now have a definitive answer:  Yes, Michigan, there is a Scrooge.


Anne Woiwode



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