So I guess this is war. Then we had better win.
Here in Michigan, the story that has (justifiably) been attracting the most nationwide attention in recent days has been the stealth passage of the Right to Work legislation earlier this week by Gov. Snyder and the Republican legislature during a lame duck session. The reason for passing this law during a lame duck session, of course, is that Snyder and the rest of the lame ducks knew that come 2013 they would no longer have the votes to railroad legislation down our throats so they jammed everything through while they could. As I mentioned in my last post on this subject, the passage of RTW was funded largely by the Koch brothers who are on a nation-wide vengeful tear to wreak havoc from coast-to-coast to try and prove that President Barack Obama’s re-election (and their failure to elect Mitt Romney despite multiple millions of misspent dollars, not to mention not one House or Senate race to show for all that cash) cannot stand in the way of their obscenely well-funded plans to slam America into reverse.
As I was listening to NPR this morning on the way to the gym, I overheard a discussion about why Snyder did such an abrupt about-face from his previous position that RTW wasn’t on his agenda because he thought it was bad for Michigan. The commenter, Bill Ballenger from Inside Michigan Politics, stated a not-too-hard-to-believe assessment that Snyder was essentially operating with a gun to his head; the Rethugs in the Legislature most likely warned Snyder that if he didn’t give them what they wanted this time (they have been pressuring him for some time on RTW and other issues) then he could forget about any cooperation from them when it came time to get to work on other legislation that Snyder really wants. Back away from the crib or the kid gets it in the face, pal.
So Snyder caved, which in one fell swoop erases his “one tough nerd” image that he campaigned on in 2010. Snyder proved to be the nerd we all remember from the playground always running to the teacher begging her to tell those bad kids to please stop hitting him like that. I wish I could claim credit for that great image, but I heard it somewhere else that I can’t recall. Still, I thought it was so good and appropriate I couldn’t resist repeating it.
Moving right along, it bears repeating that Snyder didn’t just flip flop and sign RTW, he also conspired with his fellow henchmen to ignore the will of the voters who overturned PA4 (the Emergency Manager Law) when he just yesterday signed into existence a brand (not so) new law replacing PA4 that is virtually a mirror image of the law we, the voters, said we didn’t want on November 6. It goes into effect in March 2013 unless we find a way to derail it.
But that ain’t all.
From the Detroit News:
Under the sweeping abortion reforms, clinics would face new rules on licensing and fetus disposal and women must be quizzed by their doctors.
Abortion opponents said the changes would make the procedures safer and give dignity to the aborted remains while opponents of the legislation said the requirements rob women of control over their bodies. Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, said the legislation would make Michigan the most regressive state in the nation about women’s reproductive freedom.
The bills would require physicians to determine if a woman was coerced into having an abortion; clinics be licensed and fetuses be disposed of in the same way as “other dead bodies.”
Physicians would have to assess a patient’s risk of having been coerced into having an abortion, and provide patients with a written “risk assessment” 24 hours before performing an abortion. The legislation would subject doctors who violate it to professional censure and allow civil lawsuits to those who coerce someone into having an abortion.
The law also bans telemedicine for advising patients on birth control or other reproductive health issues, meaning women would be required to visit a doctor to get a prescription for birth control medications.
That’s right. They’re working to criminalize abortion. Oh, and they also passed a $600 million personal property tax cut for businesses, although it isn’t quite known where the money revenue is supposed to come from to plug that hole.
So yes, this is war on a grand scale. But it is war being conducted in a laboratory. Republicans are using Michigan as a grand experiment to see if they can get away with setting fire to democracy in plain sight. They want to see if revenge bears fruit in winter.
We, the people, need to show them what happens to strange fruit when it tries to grow in open defiance of the laws of nature. We need to show them what happens when they overreach. We need to show them what happens when they fuck with the wrong crowd.
And we need to show them now.
Keith Owens (AKA Black Liberal Boomer) is a Detroit-based writer who has worked for The Detroit Free Press, Detroit’s alternative newsweekly the Metro Times, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and other newspapers. He was also a nationally syndicated columnist with Universal Press Syndicate for three years beginning in 1993.