Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Authoritarian takeover of local government - next on the docket?

"Walker’s plans give further credence to the notion that the efforts of the GOP governors with Republican majorities in their state legislative bodies are part of a coordinated plan to enforce a right-wing agenda designed to not only destroy state, county and municipal employee unions, but to take control of  local governments by replacing elected officials with appointees, both corporate and individual, of the state’s highest executive officer."

Does that paragraph get your attention? If it terrifies you, it should. I think it is time to stop being afraid to state clearly what is going on. This is more than some grassroots insurgency that came out of nowhere, more than a campaign of Tea Party crazies on the right who hate taxes, African-American presidents, immigrants living in our communities, and who managed to accidently get elected in last year's throw-the-bums-out electoral atmosphere.

It becomes more and more obvious that we are in the midst of a swift, pervasive power grab at the state level, a campaign paid for by anti-democratic corporate interests with the intention to gain control over state government and, while they're at it, municipal government as well, to get control of tax policies, the regulatory regimen, state and local budgets, how business operates and under what rules. It is also apparent that these folks mean to diminish or destroy the ability of the Democratic Party to compete against the Republican Party that now represents their interests (it's certainly not the old Repub party of my parents' generation). One party rule. Not a good thing, except for those who control that party.

So the opening paragraph comes from Rick Ungar at Forbes. Here's the whole article, and I urge you to read it. We need to know this stuff. Ungar reports that Gov Walker wants to follow in the steps of rightist Michigan governor, Rick Snyder, by granting himself power to take over municipal governments if they fail to meet certain financial management standards.

What?!?!?!  In the United States of America?!! 

Rachel Maddow scared me to death tonight as she outlined the full frontal assault on our democracy by way of state government brought to you by Koch brothers money, ALEC, the Heritage Foundation, and that whole family of authoritarians on the right who see their moment to assert power over our lives, our resources, our future. Her show is not up on her website yet, but I urge you to take time to watch the first half hour once it is. It is terrifying TV viewing as she lays out the extent to which an aggressive, deliberate strategy is being implemented at the level of state governments to change fundamentally the social contract, the political culture of democracy, the very way the nation functions.

All of it is connected - the union busting, voter suppression in the guise of voter ID laws, demolition of public services, including public schools, as in, free education by RIGHT for all our children, nullification or overturning of local laws by rightist governors, and more.

Ungar updates his story to tell us that Walker has denied that there is a 'financial marshall law' scheme underway. We'll see. If the scheme was in the works and the exposure puts a damper on it, this would be a good thing.

Something scary is going on in this country right now, and what I don't know is whether my people are up to this struggle. We are very complacent about our democracy (low voter turnouts being one manifestation of that), but we sure will miss it when it's gone. And this reminder: once it's gone, it's very hard to get it back.

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