photo by Sheri Dixon

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Very Nature of Snakes

A big deal, a magic phrase, a slam dunk in political conversations is the cry of "States' Rights". States' Rights supposedly trump anything those evil doers in DC want to shove down the throats of the innocent masses (who voted them into their cushy DC offices in the first place).

Things like public schools, an interstate road system, centralized postal service, safety standards for work places, helping those in need, NOT helping those in need- all that stuff is better served by states instead of nationally.

Fine. Great. Lets see what happens when you give the states more power.

Like in Michigan.

The state of Michigan's current politicians voted to allow the actual takeover of municipalities by the state. On the face of it, it means that if there is trouble resulting from a local election that must be nipped in the bud without causing chaos, the state can come in and yank a duly-elected public local official out, and assign a governor-chosen person in his/her place without recourse and indefinitely.

In practice, it means that if a city is not doing what the state thinks is right (or has the possibility of making a shitload of money for someone who has state politicians in their pocket), the state can usurp the entire city council and put someone in there more friendly to their cause.

Surely not?

Ask Benton Harbor.

Benton Harbor is a little town that has the (mis)fortune to be sitting on a lovely Lake Michigan-side park that was gifted to the town by a local family- to be used by the people of the town for free forever. A developer would LOVE to have that piece of property for "improvement"- making it into a resort complete with golf course, swimming pools, clubhouse, and surrounded by pricey little homes for wealthy retirees.

The people of Benton Harbor would be welcome to buy memberships at the schmancy club. For thousands of dollars a year. AND just look at all the jobs the new resort would supply for them. Not surprisingly, the people of Benton Harbor said "Thanks, but no thanks" after laughing their asses off.

They like their park the way it is. They are aware that all the new jobs would be as caddies or bartenders or maids and that none of them can afford membership to the club even if they wanted to rub shoulders with a bunch of old white people.

Or that they would even be allowed to.

Benton Harbor is mainly black.

Benton Harbor stood firmly in the way of someone's plan to make a shitload of money.

So Benton Harbor had to go.

The state stepped in and ousted the entire slate of locally elected officials and assigned a "City Manager" who, astoundingly and amazingly, is much more warm to the idea of the planned resort.

What to do?

Many of the same folks who holler "States' Rights!" also holler "2nd Amendment!" saying that if We the People have the right to bear arms, we'll always be free and no one can take our rights away from us.

So what happens in Benton Harbor?

They can't vote the new guy out- he's a state-appointed manager and CAN'T be voted out.

Can they take up arms and storm the state capitol?

Really? How will THAT be spun? When the entire BLACK population of Benton Harbor storms the state capitol demanding THEIR city park be left the hell alone?

What will happen ESPECIALLY if they're armed (legally and rightfully armed) when an angry mob comes up against say...the National Guard called in by the oh so terrified governor of Michigan cowering helpless and innocent in his mansion?

Remember Occupy?

It's still here- morphing and changing with the weather and the issues, but it's still here no matter what the Talking Heads like to tell you.

Occupy refuses to push back. And it pisses the hell out of those who just want it to go away.

We've already discussed the What, Who and Why of Occupy. Like them or not, they are not resorting to violence no matter how illegally their belongings are taken and destroyed, no matter how they are being herded into small areas and pepper sprayed, no matter how many are arrested without cause.

And I hold my breath and hope fervently that they don't. There are some who say they won't accomplish anything without violence. I say they are accomplishing much by the sharing of knowledge and the education of others.

Because what will happen if ONE Occupier throws a punch? Or a rock? Or brandishes a baseball bat much less a (legally carried)gun?

Benton Harbor suffers needlessly and without real-life recourse.

Occupy moves back and regroups instead of surging forward.

And the Other Side pushes and pushes and pushes in tiny measured increments, waiting for the moment someone somewhere can't stand the indignity and injustice and yells

"ENOUGH- this is bullshit!"

giving them reason to really show their stuff quickly, and precisely, and with deadly force.

My old neighbor, whom I loved dearly, came at my bidding one day. Ward was at work and Alec was tiny and the house wasn't yet renovated and there was a 5 ft. long rat snake winding his way up the wall and searching for a way in through the crack in the screen door.

I love snakes and am not afraid of them, but with a tiny baby I was irrationally squidgy.

I told Saint "You don't have to kill it- just get it off the house".

Saint said "Darlin'- if I come over there that snake will be dead".

So he came. With a hoe.

I stood there, baby in arms and watched Saint knock the snake off the house and proceed to hack away at it with the hoe. Because the soil here is mainly sand, even a mighty blow didn't make a clean kill.

After about 3 whacks, the snake, who'd just been trying to get away, turned and valiantly struck at the hoe (not Saint- just the hoe).

Saint said triumphantly "SEE??? See how aggressive it is?"

I said "Well, Saint- if you were trying to hack MY head off with a hoe I'd be a little annoyed, too!".

He never understood that reasoning.

Benton Harbor. Occupy. Rat snake.

I have a terrible feeling we will at some point be witness to "how aggressive they are" and it'll all be recorded and justified by the clips we see on TV.

1 comment:

  1. You are so true. Every person who screams 2nd amendment will not be so kind when the residents of Benton Harbor take their town back. What they have is a Supreme Court case. Is there an attorney with balls enough to take it?


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