For the many of us who watch and participate in democracy on a daily basis, this past week was perhaps the most damaging and disheartening week for Michigan in many, many years. Yes, I said years. It is clear that the Republican agenda – their “in your face” agenda – is clearly working for them, even though their agenda is not in concert with the vast majority of people in the state. Their ongoing and relentless pursuit of demoralizing the LGBTQ community and their constant attack on most things considered good and decent is a result of having a majority at all levels of state government. And they have no compunctions about flaunting that on a daily basis.
Since January of 2011 when Rick Snyder and the entire team of Republicans swept into control of our state government, we have seen a constant and steady stream of regressive policies enacted that have now hit every possible segment of our state and every city within our state boundaries. They have embarrassed us from day one of the government takeover in 2011 and will continue to do so without caring for a minute what the long-term devastation they have caused and will continue to cause are doing and will continue do to this once great state. For those who said the GOP would get theirs in the 2014 election, you were right, but not in the way you meant it. They did get theirs and then got even more. How’s that for “we’ll get them in the next election”?
Have you had enough? Be honest with yourself. Have you had enough?
I’d like to think you have, but I am not convinced. In fact, too many of you are focused only on the 2016 election where you quite honestly believe the answer lies. You are partially correct, but just partially. With what Chris Savage so aptly labeled the “RFRA for Adoption” law that Governor Snyder signed last week, Republicans are joining legally, at least for now, the concept of church and state. It is now legal in Michigan to conjoin them for personal reasons, as this law allows ANYONE with a religious bent to discriminate against loving and caring parents. It will allow them to deny children homes with potential adoptive and fostering parents at the whim of that agency or individual social worker working for a religious agency. And in Michigan essentially half of ALL of the agencies have a religious affiliation. They can do this without any reason at all except to say it runs afoul of their person religious beliefs. Based on this, they can say no to you and to the needy and deserving child.
Remember them, right? The kids?
You could be a member of the LGBTQ community. You could be Jewish. You could be a mixed race couple.You could be a single parent. You could be Catholic. You could be white, or black, or Asian. Maybe you are obese, or have just had your hair dyed in a way that runs against someone’s particular religious “beliefs”. If you think I’m joking, I am NOT. You see, this law is so broadly written that it does not really need for you to have an excuse to deny a needy child a home and a loving family. Just say no and it’s done. Dead in its tracks. Again, it allows for the legal joining of church and state and it is all done with our tax dollars. Yup, this is sanctioned, and now law, using your tax dollars.
On top of that, this week in the Michigan legislature we saw a law signed by Snyder that allows a home with a truant child and receiving state aid to have that aid cut off if that child doesn’t report to school; an attempt to get that kid’s parent or parents to get that kid to school. So, if there is a household where one bad apple is causing trouble and not attending school, the entire family will be penalized. It’s actually worse than that but you get the picture. Who wants to place a side bet that that truant child will not be any more motivated because of this new, punitive law? How many families will this new law will devastate? How long before the state is forced into rethinking this law as many thousands of children will find themselves not fed, not clothed, and not able to meet the demands of the day?
How about their elimination of the Earned Income Tax Credit? That hurts only 600,000-800,000 families to help pay for the roads, giving that state a whopping $117 million dollars that apparently could not be found elsewhere. Oh, and that $117 million will not do much to “fix” the roads, something we all know is true.
Want more? I have plenty just from last week alone.
This upcoming week we will see a massive push for what is called the “Death Star” bill which will devastate (I am using that word a lot, aren’t I?) local communities in order to make sure that the corporate masters who enslave the modern day worker are paid back for their “donations”, donations made mostly in secret. This bill is endorsed by the current Speaker of the House and will be signed by the very same Governor who is lording over us now. Our laws now allow unlimited donations through PACs and other methods that were once illegal and are now embraced by Big Money businesses who are still enjoying the $1.8 billion YEARLY tax break that was given to them as a small token by the Republicans in charge who are supposed to represent all of us. We all know that is not happening. HB 4052 will be BIG government at its finest and will literally make local authorities like city councils and township commissions basically useless.
Of course (he says tongue firmly implanted in cheek), why would a local lawmaker know what a local community needs and wants? How would a local lawmaker have ANY understanding of how a project or an ordinance would affect their community when we have Big Brother state legislatures with an “R” after their name that have many paybacks to, well, to pay back? Make no mistake, these corporate benefactors must be paid back if Republicans want to continue to receive the all-important weekly, monthly, and yearly “paychecks” from these do-gooders of the corporate world.
Yes, we all know you can buy influence. We now know you can buy people, like a Governor, a Senator, or a Representative, not to mention an Attorney General, and a Secretary of State.
This is already way too long, so let me sum this up this way:
For those who chose to criticized me over my support for Proposal 1 (and, yes I am still harboring some ill feelings over that), and for those who told me I was doing a “Republican” thing by selling fear, answer just one simple question: Was I wrong?
I wasn’t. And I wasn’t selling fear, I was telling truth.
Now, we have some simple yet critical decisions to make moving forward. Will we wait until 2016 and hope and pray that finally the voters have had enough and will finally vote Democrat? We do have to work toward that for certain, but can we do nothing between now and then to force change? Can we not make a serious effort to embrace each other and charge, moving forward in civil disobedience? Can we not rally with our friends in the progressive/Democratic/activist movement and make a true and honest effort to get people to the Capitol to rally for change? Can we not stop this lunacy? Can we not make our voices heard so loud that they are forced to hear us and do things differently? Can we not stand behind and with our Democratic lawmakers and make sure we have their backs in every fight moving forward?
We can. We must. We better. Or else.
I don’t have all of the answers, but I do have the will, the fight, and the belief that what is happening in Lansing right now has to be stopped before November 2016. What this and the last legislature have done cannot be easily undone by a single election. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it can, because it cannot. We have an obligation, a mandate, to stop this insanity NOW. How we do that is up to us, but thinking that 2016 is some magic fix is foolish thinking.
Look at what was forced on us just the last two weeks alone and what could happen in the next two weeks and just believe that if we can find the courage – and the bodies – we can stop this. But not unless there are enough of us to do that.
I’m not convinced there are, and I am hoping you all prove me wrong. That is if you even agree with me.
I have had enough and I am hoping you have too. Are you with me? Time will tell.