So, the battle is over, isn’t it? The elections are done and a new party is set to take over the governing of our state. Now what happens next to us, to the Michigan economy? These are some big questions that the new administration will have to answer quickly to avoid a backlash response from a political-weary populace who are tired of job loss, work consolidation, pay freezes, and general workforce uncertainty.
I believe that we are now at a time in our state’s history not unlike the soldiers who returned from the war. Stories are told that after Lee’s surrender at the Appomattox courthouse in the Civil War, battalions of soldiers, Union and Confederate, were released into the countryside, left to their own devices to find their way home.
Imagine the thoughts that were going through their heads as they trudged the many miles back, away from the frontlines and battlements to their war torn towns. I tend to believe that their thoughts were probably very similar to what many of us cycle through our heads on a daily basis; “What will my life look like now? Where will my next job come from? Where will I be living in the next month, the next year?”
We have all just come through an economic war. One way or another, this great recession has affected us. Many of us are suffering from symptoms similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which experts describe as:
“An emotional illness that usually develops as a result of a terribly frightening, life-threatening, or otherwise highly unsafe experience…people may develop PTSD in reaction to events that may not qualify as traumatic but can be devastating life events like divorce or unemployment.”
Our new state leadership needs to be sensitive to the fact that the decimation of the workforce has been traumatic. They must be aware of the fact that the workforce is expecting them to rebuild our confidence, bolster our courage, and guide us in a direction that will renew our faith in the belief that better days are ahead.
The words of American Revolutionary, Thomas Paine, to the battle-weary soldiers of Valley Forge, are a fitting call to all incumbent and newly elected government officials:
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”