January 25, 2012 - Whether folks know it or not, whether they see it or turn away, whether they want to believe it or not, there's an undercurrent of unrest in North Oakland County.
Long known for its lily white, hard-working, apple pie eating, American car driving, church going, I love Mom, the U.S. and Ronald Reagan Republican types the area is starting to generate some thinkers instead of the Stepford-like, go-with-the-flowers. Some folks are openly questioning the status-quo and challenging authority figures.
I've been sitting back and watching and connecting the dots, if you will.
It started kinda of small. Remember a few years back, when a group of men and pistol-toting mamas started gathering -- right out in the open -- for picnic lunches at Oxford's Seymour Lake Park?
That ruffled some feathers of the Oxford establishment.
Then an Independence Township industrial type (who must have listened to the advice told to Dustin Hoffman in the movie, The Graduate: "plastics.") starts promoting Tea Party activities and open promotes actual candidate debates during an election year.
People in Orion openly and brazenly question the action of the township board in regards to accepting a landfill's bid to grow and a million or so dollars in return.
And the coup-de-grace, in my mind, are school boards are no longer the straight-ticket-voting, groveling-to-superintendent-demands bodies these days.
People are looking around themselves, looking at the decisions of their locally elected (as well as regionally, and nationally) and asking questions. And, it is making some feel a little queasy.
Anarchy in the streets? Hardly. Will policy and practice change? Probably not. But it's good to have a healthy dose of skepticism. Skepticism promotes involvement. Our constitutionally limited republic, needs its citizenry to be involved. It also needs its citizenry to be educated. But we -- young and old -- don't need to be taught what to think, we need to be taught how to think.
It was the revolutionary thinking during the Enlightenment that led to the formation of this nation. Thinkers questioned. They debated. They challenged the establishment and themselves. They sought the ever-elusive, non-faith-based idea of truth (whatever that is). It was a time when both men AND women refused to "just" believe that God had appointed their king; that God had proclaimed who will suffer and who will live in luxury.
These folks of yore exercised a little used practice called Freethought. And, guess what? Freethought may be making a comeback right here in North Oakland County.
Reader Ewa Tomarke has established, and I quote, "A community of FreeThinkers and FreeThinker friendly people who prefer to form opinions on the basis of reason, independent of authority or tradition." The group is called the North Oakland County Free Thinkers, they have a website to start discussions and meetings to continue discussions.
"The purpose is to learn. To better function as a society. We want more tolerance. Today there is only a power struggle of who is right instead of looking for the truth," she said, adding people base their arguments on what they "feel" versus what they know.
The group meets for lunch on the first Saturday of the month in Oxford. For more info go to their website, www.meetup.com/NOCFreeThinkers
Tomarke said the group welcomes any who want to enter the discussion, and they are actively seeking educators and science-types -- folks directly involved in research and study groups.
Will free-thinking be silenced and intimidated? Only time will tell, but it should be interesting, indeed. What do you think, e-mail Don@ShermanPubliations.org
Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org