It is election time and we will hear all about democracy….about the will of the people……about the people have spoken…….but is all that and more true? Or is it just electioneering?
I want to post about the state of Michigan……let me interject that I am not by any stretch of the imagination an expert on the state…..I am writing about a situation occurring within the state and my opinion comes from researching the situation and not from actually living within the borders of Michigan…..I also want to point out that this by no means is anything but a critique of the concept of democracy…..
First of all, a simple definition of democracy………
Democratic theory begins with the justification of government by the people, usually in terms either of the rights of individual citizens, or the need to protect their interests effectively.
It then proceeds to the two questions of what government by the people means, and how, if at all, it can be implemented.
Now I want to write about the Michigan “Emergency Manager Law”…….
These were the things that the ‘manager’ can do once put into place….(according to Michigan Radio website)…..
An emergency manager can:
- Hire/fire local government employees
- Renegotiate, terminate, modify labor contracts with state treasury approval
- Sell, lease, or privatize local assets with state treasury approval
- Revise contract obligations
- Change local budgets without local legislative approval
- Initiate municipal bankruptcy proceedings
- Hire support staff
An emergency manager cannot raise taxes.
Under Public Act 4, past emergency managers have removed the legislative powers of elected officials, suspended their pay, fired city officials, and imposed pay cuts that violate union contracts.
Public Act 4 overrides Public Acts 101 and 72, which are no longer in effect.
Emergency manager decisions are approved by the State Treasurer—the same office that appoints EMs.
None of the duties sounds very democratic to me…..or am I missing something?
I know my friends on the Right will hate this but……Emma Goldman once said “if voting changed anything they would make it illegal”……..sounds like somebody has taken her words to heart.
Let me preface my opinion….I am NOT a citizen of Michigan and do not claim to be an expert in their politics….I am making my observation from a political philosophical perspective…there may well be more to this story than meets the media’s eye but working on what I found in my research I am writing about democracy……
The people elected their officials as a participant in the right of voting and to have those elected officials side lined without the approval of the people that voted for them is just scary……this is saying that the local residents do not have the right to pick their officials or that the ones that were elected do not measure up to some sort of state measure……
Basically, the state government is saying that the local voters do not know what they are doing by elected people that are not approved of by the state. Would all this be acceptable if the federal government did this to state officials? How can you justify the lose of voting rights….this is starting to look more authoritarian than democratic. I do not care if you are on the Right or the Left…….this is NOT the way the Founders intend for the government to work! And it is definitely not how democracy works!
Again, I am writing about the concept of democracy, in this case representative democracy.