It would seem that democracy died in in Detroit last week
Last week, Governor Rick Snyder declared a financial emergency in Detroit and appointed a Emergency Financial Manager to take control of the city. None of Detroit’s elected officials...and, thus, none of the people of Detroit...will have anything to say about how the city’s finances are run, how the city’s money is spent, what contracts for city services are put out and how union contracts are dealt with...or not dealt with. These decisions will be made, not by the mayor or the city council...the people’s elected representatives, but by a single individual appointed by Governor Snyder.
In other words, Fascism has come to Detroit and we didn’t even notice.
Detroit is not the first. A large number of Michigan municipalities of varying sizes have had their city governments replaced by Emergency Managers appointed by the state, including Flint and Pontiac. These are two of the largest cities in the state. And all of their municipal governments have been put under the jackboot, as well. Governor Snyder’s dictators are well and truly established.
There does seem to be one other element at work here...a racial one. It is estimated at the moment that something like two-thirds of Michigan’s African-Americans live under the dictates of an Emergency Manager and the vast majority of these communities...including Detroit...were heavily African-American and, therefore, governed by African-Americans. It would seem that one unfortunate consequence of Governor Snyder’s policy is that the white establishment of Michigan is telling African Americans that they can’t govern themselves. We’re certain that this racist notion never entered Governor Snyder’s head.
Or did it?
It isn’t as if the majority of Michiganders...white or black...are particularly wild about the Emergency Manager law under which Governor Snyder’s dictators operate. In the November elections, Michigan voters, by decisive margins, threw the law out. This did not faze such staunch Fascists as Governor Snyder and his puppy dog Republican legislature. They simply passed, with a few tweaks, a new Emergency Manager law in their lame duck session in December. And, thus, we are right back where we started from.
It would also seem that at least some of Governor Snyder’s constituents in Detroit seem to think that he was a bit hasty in appointing an Emergency Manager for the city. Indeed, there are even those who think he might have, well, cooked the books in order to justify such a appointment. We can’t imagine that such a thing would be possible. On the other hand...
Despite his best efforts...or perhaps because of them...Governor Snyder is wildly unpopular in Michigan as is most of the Republican establishment there. It may be that they’ve bitten off more than the voters of Michigan will let them chew. On the other hand, the R’s have been particularly zealous in finding ways to keep people who don’t agree with them from voting. So we’ll believe it when we see it.