What is it called when a “government” consists
of one man who can do virtually anything he wants and the governed have
no voice or vote? That’s a dictatorship, and it’s what the LDN
inexplicably endorsed in a recent editorial on the so-called “emergency
Under this law, the governor can
unilaterally appoint a crony to rule absolutely over any municipality or
school district. This person can sell off, depose, fire, nullify,
eliminate, or dissolve anything he pleases with the excuse that it’s
financially expedient—and pay himself from whatever is left. Thus far
this law has been applied primarily to poor minorities (surprise!), but
there is nothing to prevent much wider application as the state takes
away resources and then blames communities for lacking them.
something has to be done,” says the well-heeled outsider whose
community is not yet hit. Something has been done. First corporations
have abandoned the communities that nurtured and supported them in favor
of outsourcing in pursuit of record-breaking profits. Second, the
state has gutted appropriations, especially to school districts, which
are no longer allowed to raise their own operating revenue. The
resulting flattened income cannot be “managed” by the wisest guru; the
only alternatives are to restore/replace the revenues or to slash and
burn. Of course, the powers that be like option two. In the process,
the most fundamental right of Americans, the right to vote, is simply
“But this will get them on a ‘sound’
financial footing,” says the all-knowing outsider. “Sound” here, means
destroying those communities or school districts by guaranteeing that no
one with the ability to get out will stay in them as they precipitously deteriorate. People
prefer to be somewhere where they can actually vote as the Constitution
guarantees. This accelerates a race to the bottom while destroying
democracy as we have known it.
“But there’s corruption in these localities!” says the superior
outsider. Quite possibly so—government and business are both prone to
it. Case in point: Petitions have been filed to place the overturn of
this law on the ballot, and there is no chance of eliminating enough
signatures to void them. So a Lansing law firm with right-wing ties has
filed a lawsuit claiming they should be voided because of the font size
at the top! By the way, one of the partners in the law firm sits on
the four-person board that will hear the suit. That sounds like
corruption on the state level to me—not to mention the height of the
ridiculous. But it’s a power grab that may work.
governor doesn’t want to run towns and school districts”, says the mind
reader. Probably true—he has his cronies for that. Quid pro quo is
illegal (just ask Rod Blagojevich, the Illinois governor doing fourteen
years’ hard time), and our governor is too clever to engage in it. He
just expects his managers’ eternal gratitude—and whatever else might
flow naturally and legally from that.
“But they’re ‘not
like us’ in those towns”, says the bigot. Jesus answered that one in
Matthew 25: “Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these
my brothers, you have done it to me”. The big shots in Lansing would
say we’re “not like them” too—we’re not rich enough, powerful enough, or
well enough connected.
It boils down to three simple
questions: Do we live in a democracy or not? Will we stand by while
the right to vote is taken away from others on the assumption that it
couldn’t happen to us? If that
assumption were true, would that make it OK?
So what can we, the powerless, do about it?
PAY ATTENTION-- What if the governor should decide that Pentwater
Schools are too small to be financially viable? Or that Amber, Summit,
Hamlin, Pere Marquette, and Ludington should be combined to cut costs?
Under this law, it can happen. We can’t vote it down because under this
law we have no vote, but we can make a lot of noise. We can also
support loudly those it’s already being done to.
* SPEAK UP—whenever and wherever you see voter suppression taking place, even by
shortening voting hours, providing fewer machines, etc.
* BEWARE THE GOVERNOR—He shares goals with the about-to-be-recalled governor across the lake in Wisconsin; he’s just slicker.
Hard times are no excuse: DEMOCRACY MUST PREVAIL OR THIS ISN’T AMERICA.