All this year Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Christina Shockley has been talking with people from all walks of life about what three things they think we can all do to help the state. Christina spoke with Thomas Lynch. He’s an author, poet and undertaker.
Thomas Lynch begins by urging Michiganders to be better citizens. “For me,” says Lynch, “I think that means swearing off of the TV from five o’clock in the evening until at least ten o’clock at night.” Lynch recommends spending that time going to other sources for our news and information.
Of political discourse, particularly that on cable-news programs, Lynch adds, “It seems to me very much like big-time wrestling with suits on, and I think we’d all be better citizens and have less of the nonsense and codswallop that passes for news if we just kept the TV off.”
Mr. Lynch’s second idea for Michiganders involves seeking out and recognizing our commonality. “One of our great assets and treasures is that we live in an ethnically and religiously diverse place,” says Lynch. However, noting that Michigan is home to some of the most segregated cities in the country, Lynch adds, “I think we intuit all of our differences and amplify them far too much.”
Lynch encourages Michiganders to seek out places and people that they are unfamiliar with and learn more about them. He says, “People of faith should be comfortable in other faith traditions,” adding, “Faith makes us more in common than apart.”
Not only does Lynch suggest that Christians should spend time in mosques and Muslims time in synagogues, he also thinks this idea of visiting places that may seem foreign should apply geographically. He says, “People who live in the exurbs and suburbs should spend more time in cities and city people should get out to the suburbs more to see how the rest of their fellow pilgrims live.”
For his final idea, Lynch wants Michiganders to read more to their children and grandchildren. Lynch wants to make sure that he gets to read to his grandchildren in the future, so he’s been recording himself reading some of his favorite stories. “I think we should read more,” says Lynch, adding, “I think we should do more poetry. I think poetry has its own sort of remedial values to the culture.”