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Jeffrey Polet is a writer and professor in Holland, and sometimes writes at Front Porch Republic. A West Michigan native, he is married with three children. The views and assertions of guest columnists do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

When does freeway construction put us on a road to nowhere?

In Detroit, they paved Paradise Valley, and put up I-375. The people who lived in the way? Collateral damage, as always. Why can’t we consider the human cost of coddling the car?

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Traffic-jam thoughts on the road to incivility

There’s nothing like a powerful steel chariot to make a person feel strong, free — and rude.




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Young people? Blow up the political system, for your own good

Grandparents vote, and politicians know it. That’s why older people get far more attention from policy-makers. Younger ones would be wise to remember this.




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To a voter with principles, sometimes voting is the right thing to (not) do

Make all the jokes about “none of the above” you want, but if you really hold your beliefs true, it’s difficult to make some choices in the voting booth.




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In praise of place: A small town isn’t a backwater, and Holland is a marvel

Where did you grow up? It may be a bubble, but it’s a Grover’s Corners, too, full of lives worthy of respect and attention.




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Three cheers for the red, white and blue – or maybe just the hometown

It’s patriotism season. A few thoughts on how this seemingly simple emotion is far more complex than we might think.




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Aptly named Common Core hollows out learning

Here’s a revolutionary concept for education: It isn’t, and shouldn’t, be just about “college and career readiness.” Maybe it should just be about itself.




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Will ‘Holland, Michigan’ be fed into the ‘Fargo’ wood chipper?

This local isn’t popping popcorn for a movie set in west Michigan, given how other towns have fared at the hands of Hollywood.




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Even fire services should withstand budget review, but good luck with that

Heroes or sacred cows? Police and firefighters do important jobs, but their mythology can make it difficult to be realistic about their costs and benefits.




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What’s that sidewalk snowplow pushing? Complacency, alienation, obesity…

It comes in the night, disrupts our sleep, blocks the driveway and rips the grass, and leaves in its wake what it touches at its point. I refer, of course, to the sidewalk plow. When I was a lad in Holland, Mich., […]

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Propaganda obscures American military’s true role

Football abounds in war metaphors. Bo Schembechler was often referred to as “the General.” Players think of themselves as soldiers, risking body and life to move the line forward. So it should not surprise us when the sport becomes increasingly militarized, not […]

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At college, gaining the world but losing a home

As the cost of college continues to rise, the value of a college education, considered economically, will undergo greater scrutiny. While college graduates provide the state with more specialized labor, and make more money than non-graduates, some of these benefits are more […]

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As college year begins, too many are majoring in drinking and sex

September brings with it autumn, the return of football, cooler temperatures, and thousands of young adults to college campuses. Michigan’s state constitution insists that “Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means […]

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