LETTER: Walberg's Leadership is Inadequate, Driskell is One of Us
To the editor:
My name is Ava Hajratwala, and I’m a senior at Saline High School. Like many students in Saline, the racist events at the beginning of this year, first locally with that infamous community meeting and then nationally with the murder of unarmed Black people across America, were a wake-up call. Before then I was a fairly typical Zoomer - my political opinions learned mostly from my parents and expressed through uninformed tweets. That all changed in mid-March, when I, inspired by the intensifying Democratic presidential primaries, began educating myself on politics. My attention eventually shifted to local elections, where I was forced to encounter a hard truth: our house representative, Tim Walberg, no longer represents the beliefs of the 7th district.
I’ll start with the obvious. Especially recently, Saline has been accused of intolerance. We’ve heard the viral story of racial harassment on the varsity football team, but some of us know the narrative runs deeper; we can’t keep a tenured teacher, one of the only Black teachers in the district, employed due to racial discrimination. Homecoming floats have come under fire for suspicion of racism. Yet our Congressman remains silent and won’t call out racism when he sees it. We need to elect leaders who will address inequity. Congressman Walberg, who failed to comment on a Proud Boys rally outside his office and again in his district just a few days ago, certainly won’t address inequity anytime soon.
Our representatives play a critical role in shaping our home. Congressman Walberg’s past votes and statements contradict the district’s values in plenty of ways. For one, he voted against the Violence Against Women Act, a tone deaf vote largely on party lines. He has repeatedly supported abolishing the Department of Education. And, perhaps most importantly to young people like me, his approach to the looming environmental crisis is the equivalent of “Jesus take the wheel.” Suffice it to say, Walberg’s leadership is inadequate.
What Saline needs is a representative that has spent years speaking to the people of MI-7 and amplifying their concerns. Gretchen Driskell is that representative, and above all, she is one of us.
The trouble is, I’m 17 and can’t vote this November, and that means I, not to mention dozens of other politically active students, have no chance of representation without help from like-minded voters. Saline needs to hold its leadership accountable and vote!