Last week, Benton Harbor, Michigan was subjected to a hostile government takeover by a single individual. Just over a month after Republican Governor Rick Snyder signed legislation that gave broad new powers to emergency financial managers appointed by the state of Michigan to run struggling cities and schools and the ability to terminate union contracts, it has finally happened. One of these emergency financial managers fired the entire democratically elected city government and took over as the virtual dictator of the city.
How can one man be given so much power? Because Republicans say so. Republicans are now declaring war against cities they deem unfit for democracy. With the power to wipe away elected officials and the power to basically abolish unions, these emergency financial managers are nothing more than unelected puppets that run cities the way Republican governors want them to. But there’s also a double standard here. The city next door to Benton Harbor is St. Joseph and its budget isn’t much better. Yet the predominantly white St. Joseph still has its government while the predominantly African American Benton Harbor gets taken over. Sounds like blatant racism to me, but it’s worse than that. This is also a vendetta against poor people. The per capita income of St. Joseph is $33,000 while its only just over $10,000 for residents of Benton Harbor. If it’s not clear that Republicans hate poor people and people that aren’t white, it should be absolutely crystal clear now.
But the Governor has eyed Benton Harbor for quite some time now. He now wants to develop the shoreline and to do so he’s basically selling the shoreline to the highest bidder. Plans to build a golf course over the children’s park, for rich people no doubt, are already in motion. Sorry citizens of Benton Harbor, its probably going to be a members only course, meaning only rich white guys can play.
Of course, you know what this means, right? It means Republicans have found a way to declare their sovereignty over whole cities, and one would also assume, any town in the state. Republican governors across the country are, no doubt, are taking notes from Governor Snyder on how to declare yourself King, one city at a time. Republicans have complained relentlessly about government “czars” but in a pure act of hypocrisy have appointed their own, except this time its for real.
We’ve seen people rise to power through emergency powers before. After being granted emergency powers of his own, Adolf Hitler quickly became the dictator of Germany. Governor Rick Snyder and many Republicans like him are using what they term as fiscal emergency to declare financial martial law. What Republicans have done, is strip the power of the vote away from Benton Harbor residents. We like to think that our vote counts, but if you live in Benton Harbor, your vote didn’t mean anything at all. Your elected officials were fired and now your town could be sold piece by piece to developers that will make the town too expensive to live in.
Americans need to wake up and take action against these Republicans that dare to call themselves Americans that love the Constitution. Republicans are going to repeat this action over and over again until they have taken down every city in the country. Even predominantly liberal leaning cities are not safe from this threat. All a governor needs to do is appoint an emergency financial manager who can then singlehandedly, on the governor’s behalf, take over the entire city and rewrite all of its laws. Voting laws can be changed. Zoning laws can be changed. Any city laws can be changed. And you can bet that those changes will benefit Republicans. The GOP is trying to take over at the grassroots level. Are you going to let them raid your city/town? Or are you going to take action to get these tyrants out of our government once and for all? Because at some point, its going to be too late. If a Republican Governor and a Republican legislature can grant individuals sweeping emergency powers, what stops them from granting those powers to themselves? This would allow them to fire governments they don’t like, at will, despite what the voters want. We need to declare our own emergency and immediately fire Republican officials across the country before all is lost. Because this government is for the people, of the people, by the people. We have the power. Not Republican dictators.