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Voter Voices: "The direction our country is headed in is ... a dangerous one."

Michael Lynn, Jr.
Emma Winowiecki
Michigan Radio
Michael Lynn, Jr.

People in Michigan have some big decisions to make on November 3. So with the election just over a month away, we’re talking to voters across the state to hear what’s on their minds.

Michael Lynn, Jr. is a 39 year-old father, husband, and firefighter. He is the founder of The Village Lansing, a community-based non-profit, as well as the group Black & Brown 2A Advocates. Lynn lives in southeast Lansing, where he was born and raised.

“Growing up here, you know, it was a really diverse neighborhood. I mean, you had Black, white, Hispanic, Asian — you had every group of people that all co-mingled with each other, and there just wasn’t really any division growing up. Like, I had friends of all nationalities, all backgrounds. It’s like the last four years or so, it’s kind of turned different.”

“Sometimes you don’t always want to know that the person sitting next to you that you love and that you care about is...somebody who doesn’t care or doesn’t have empathy for other people.”

On the urban/rural political divide

“I went and bought a trailer recently. I was riding through the outskirts of Battle Creek, right off of 69. And that’s when I encountered all the Trump stuff and Confederate flags. And I was riding through that, and I was thinking, ‘Aw man, I don’t want to go buy this trailer from this guy. Like, what am I coming up on?’ And all of these biases crept out of me.

And then the guy was super friendly.

I felt ashamed that I was thinking all this when I pulled up. So, I made the transaction and it was all good. And I left and was like, ‘That guy probably in a mob would be very, very hostile. But by himself, he’s a sweetheart.’ You know? How can we get people to be more like that in an environment where they can stand up and say, ‘I’m not going to get into this mob mentality.’ Even my people, you know? Everybody’s got to stop that.

Have conversations. You come to find out there’s just one thing we disagree on and that’s just the most powerful thing in our conversation, and there’s so many other things we have in common.”

On leadership

“What’s keeping me up at night? The climate of the world, but most importantly the climate of our people. The Black and brown community is really hurting. And watching our leadership and the way that they handle it is scary.”

“The qualities I would look for in a politician is just not being a politician. We need human beings, people up there. I don’t want you to be a millionaire, I don’t want you to be somebody who’s been a career politician. I want you to basically be a spokesperson for the people.”

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Rachel Ishikawa joined Michigan Public in 2020 as a podcast producer. She produced Kids These Days, a limited-run series that launched in the summer of 2020.
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