How Can We Celebrate Independence Day When Democracy Is Dead In Michigan?

The Michigan State Capitol Building. Democracy no longer welcome.

The Michigan State Capitol Building. Democracy no longer welcome.

Who will celebrate Independence Day in Michigan this year?

How do you celebrate freedom, when democracy is dead?

How can freedom ring out, when oppression sits heavy on the people’s shoulders, from the shores of Lake Michigan to the shores of Lake Erie, and everywhere in between?

Is it freedom when laws are written and put into immediate effect, with no civil discourse, no opposition and no public input allowed?

Is it freedom when laws are enacted in the dead of night – laws that remove power from communities and people; laws that give more and more power to a single man; laws meant to eliminate checks and balances; laws designed to dis-empower any and every one who might attempt to stand in the way of the Michigan GOP and Teaparty agenda?

Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder (best described as an out of control, power-hungry dictator) working in unison with a controlling and oppressive Teaparty majority in the state’s House and Senate, has successfully removed virtually all power from the people of Michigan. A battering ram of assaults on democracy have been shoved through the state legislature, and a string of laws enacted, for which the only purpose has been to completely undermine Michigan’s constitution and it’s long-established system of local and state government.

Over the past two years Michigan’s Teaparty regime, under the leadership of Rick Snyder, has worked around the clock to undermine freedom, removing democracy from cities, towns and schools. It began with the takeover of Benton Harbor, where the state’s governor-dictator first removed all elected officials, placing a hand-picked emergency manager over the people of the city. Public property was seized and handed over to private corporations. An official spokesman was appointed to “represent the city” while the voices of citizens and their elected representatives were silenced. Media and press were directed to speak only to the single official in charge of “speaking for the people” and the script was written, not by the people, but by the regime in power. What happened in Benton Harbor is the kind of thing that happens in other countries, something that could never happen here in the US… but it did happen here, and after Benton Harbor came Pontiac, Flint, Ecorse…

The people of Michigan mounted an offensive against this attack on democratic freedom. Thousands of citizens collected signatures to get the state’s “Emergency Manager” law put on the ballot in November of 2012. A corrupt government and a corrupt court system fought against the voters, launching a full scale propaganda campaign, in an effort to keep the law from being put to a vote. Governor appointed “judges” declared that the font size on the heading of the petitions was too small and attempted to nullify the signatures of hundreds of thousands of registered Michigan voters. The people continued to fight back and after many legal battles the law was finally placed on the ballot. In November 2012, Michigan’s PA 4, otherwise known as the Emergency Manager Law was repealed by a legitimate majority of voters, during an official statewide election. What should have been the end of the Teaparty’s attempt to overthrow Michigan’s system of government, however, was not the end at all. The Teaparty regime simply wrote the law again and put it into immediate effect, an act which was clearly against the will of the voters.

If you don’t know that democracy is dead in Michigan, you should.

If you don’t know that Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder believes that Michigan represents the ideal Republican model government, you should.

Certainly in Egypt, in Turkey and in many other countries around the world there is cause to celebrate today. Here in the US, however, our freedoms are being eroded and independence being replaced by dictatorships and Theocratic rule. The Muslim Brotherhood has nothing on the gun toting, violence spewing, racist and religiously bigoted Teaparty fanatics which have infiltrated both our state and national governments. They have risen to power while peddling fear and sanctimonious BS on one hand, and enforcing Fascism, mixed with religious oppression and fanaticism, on the other. In Michigan, where the Teaparty has legalized religious discrimination (your doctor no longer has to treat you, if doing so is against his or her ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’) and attempted to legalize violence and bullying “for religious purposes”, where they have launched assaults on women’s health and reproductive rights, thrown out the democratic election process, gerrymandered districts to ensure minority rule, paved the way for the corporate exploitation of workers, locked the public out of the capital building and pepper-sprayed and maced peaceful protestors, all while pushing through laws that the voters clearly do not want, where they have sold off public utilities and allowed for extortion rates to be levied on the poor for access to things as vital as water and heat… in Michigan, there is nothing to celebrate.

Independence and freedom have not been gained, but lost – no, not lost, but STOLEN; taken from the people against their will… Open meetings acts have been violated, court systems corrupted, legal processes undermined and the people ham-strung. Michigan’s citizens are now living in a faux democracy, where some still pretend that elections have meaning, yet they must know deep down that regardless of is elected, the state’s dictator retains the right to laugh in their faces. Only the Governor now has the right to determine who will govern Michigan’s cities, towns and schools. Only HE has the right to appoint or remove any and all local officials.

Michigan is the best example you can find of Republican lies and hypocrisy. The state is now ruled more by a king and his hired court, than by a democratic voting population. Still Republicans complain about the Federal government and the encroaching “nanny state”, even as the governor they elected pushes ahead, removing all political enemies from power, leaving a puppet government in place across the state. Even as they go to the polls and vote for more Republicans, pretending that it matters one way or another, now that their party has nullified the laws that once ensured the right of the people to duly elect their own representatives. Michigan’s elections are nothing more than symbolic gestures, a hat-tip to yesterday, when they were still a free people with rights guaranteed under the state’s constitution. Sure, they still have elections in Michigan, but what is the point, when all elected leaders are now subject to removal by the Governor, at his whim? There are manufactured “emergencies” in nearly all major democratic voting precincts, imagine that… More than 50 percent of Michigan’s minority population now lives under an oppressive dictatorship, while those in wealthier rural communities are able, for the moment, to go along pretending that they retain the right to democracy and freedom.

Democracy is gone in Michigan. No city, town or community is excluded from Michigan’s Emergency Manager Law. For the moment the law is being used to further the political agenda of the Teaparty and GOP, hence the targeting of minority communities like Benton Harbor, Flint and Detroit. Once all of the dissenters are silenced and their voting rights removed, EM will advance itself to all communities, especially those with public assets which are desirable to private interests. Just as all 16 of Benton Harbor’s public parks have been seized, with little fanfare or media attention, rural communities will eventually find themselves raped and robbed in similar fashion. Just as municipal water supplies have been seized by the state and handed over to private investors, rural communities will find that (once the threat of minority and urban voters has been “handled” via EM) attention will turn to their own water supplies in short order. Those retirement communities that sat quietly by watching, even cheering, as the rights of others were removed in steady progression, will find all eyes focused on them, maybe even sooner than they realized. And as for the rest of the country, ignoring the demise of democracy in Michigan will leave you ill prepared for the assaults which are soon to come your way. Michigan is merely the testing ground, where the kinks are being worked out and the agenda is quickly being perfected.

Fireworks and parades in Michigan? It’s as if we no longer understand what we’re supposed to be celebrating. If we did understand our own history, we would be in mourning today for that which has so quietly and casually been stolen from the people residing in our own Great Lakes State. Independence Day in Michigan can best be observed this year by holding a death march, a funeral procession, a farewell send-off to the freedoms once enjoyed there, the right to local governance, the right to duly elected representation, the right to vote and know that your vote matters… Thanks to the Teaparty, taxation without representation is back in full force in Michigan, as is religious oppression and dictatorial rule. Independence Day should make us more aware than ever that it is time for a new Boston-type Tea Party, in this case, however, I propose it takes place in Michigan not Boston, and that it involves sending every last Teaparty – GOP representative sailing into permanent exile.