Over the past several days, Michigan has seen the imposition of financial martial law -- and preparations for it -- in a string of troubled cities. In Flint, the emergency manager took the elected mayor and city councilors off the payroll and canceled city council meetings from now until he decides to hold them again.
The state began its preliminary financial review of Detroit last week. Inkster's on the way. Chris Savage of Eclectablog runs this chart, a snapshot of the towns that either already have an emergency manager or have been put on notice by the state. By his calculation, 50.7 percent of African Americans in Michigan would no longer be represented by elected officials if the state pulls in Detroit and Inkster. Democracy will not for them, not for now. Chris writes:
I'm asked repeatedly "What is YOUR answer then, if you don't like the Emergency Manager law.". My answer is this: solving a municipalities problems does not start from the baseline that the locally-elected, democratically-elected officials are not a useful part of the process, to be shoved aside. Everything that happens should begin at the baseline that democracy is not just important, it's essential, even if it's not always pretty and even if it's sometimes inconvenient in the rush to privatize everything that isn't nailed down to funnel taxpayer money to private companies.
The Republicans and their financial managers seem quite comfortable, really, with the role of tyrant. It's for your own good, after all.