(The following essay first appeared in the Spring 2003 edition of Impact.)

Printed below is part of a letter we received, along with a gift, from long-time Mackinac Center friend Bill Griesinger. Bill is a former St. Joseph resident temporarily working in Brazil. I think you’ll find his words as inspiring and encouraging as we do. Bill kindly allowed us to make minor edits.

Dear Larry and Staff:

"While my gift will not rank among the largest contributions to the Mackinac Center, I can assure you it ranks as high as any in terms of my gratitude and appreciation for, and inspiration from, the work that you do each and every day to advance the cause of a more free and civil society."

"My appreciation is even more pronounced after 18 months in Brazil. It is amazing to encounter fairly intelligent people here who really do not grasp either the meaning or importance of individual liberty in their daily lives. They see no harm or danger in turning to government for "solutions" to problems large and small. ... This is why the work of the Mackinac Center and other freedom-promoting organizations is so vital."

"Although your talented staff probably needs no reminders of the importance of their work, its significance was certainly underscored by the frivolous lawsuit filed by the Michigan Education Association against the Mackinac Center. This despicable ploy illustrates the fragility of some of our basic liberties. It is a stark reminder of how organizations like the MEA are bent on forcing their ideology on others at all costs, not through debate and intelligent discourse in the arena of public opinion, but through the use of force and coercion of the state to achieve their ends."

"While reading my Mackinac Center packet, I was practically moved to tears of anger and astonishment by the political maneuvering of the MEA against the Mackinac Center. Why? Because all at once, all rolled into one, I was reminded of the work done and risks taken by our founding fathers, of the price that so many paid, even death, to secure and maintain these rights for us, and of the vigilance necessary to continually preserve and guard against the erosion of these rights by the MEAs of the world. ... At the same time, I was reminded of how thankful I am to have the Mackinac Center advancing individual freedom and individual responsibility."

"Injustices like the MEA lawsuit are clear reminders of the constant vigilance we must keep to advance the cause of freedom so eloquently defended by the Mackinac Center. I appreciate most the clarity of your arguments and the consistency of principle with which you make them."

Dear Bill: We appreciate your eloquent clarity and commitment to freedom, too. With your help, we are winning.

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Joseph G. Lehman is executive vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.