Bankole Thompson, Chronicle Senior Editor
Bankole Thompson is editor of the Michigan Chronicle and author of “Obama and Black Loyalty,” published in 2010, and his recent book, “Obama and Christian Loyalty” with an epilogue by Bob Weiner, former White House spokesman. Thompson is a political news analyst at WDET-101.9FM (NPR affiliate) and a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening roundtable on WLIB-1190AM New York and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut. E-mail email@example.com
It is hard to imagine how Michigan is quickly descending into a real right wing state under Governor Rick Snyder, the man who once touted himself as a moderate. The man who said repeatedly to the media that he wasn’t interested in divisive politics. A package of anti-abortion bills that Synder has agreed to sign will totally ban the use of all insurance coverage for abortion in Michigan except when a woman’s life is in real danger. And who determines when a woman’s life is in real danger?
So even in cases of rape and incest, your life has to be in real danger before you can carry out an abortion. Also another bill allows doctors to exercise their religious beliefs meaning they can’t be forced to carry out abortion if it goes against their religious convictions, and of course your employer won’t cover it anyway.
Hard to believe the right wing agenda alongside the anti-women stance that are being rolled out before Christmas. This is a major contradiction for a governor who told us that he would stay out of divisive politics and the culture wars. What happened to Governor Snyder?
Michigan now will join a litany of other states that would make life extremely difficult for women. Michigan is now entering the arena to decide how women take care of themselves. I thought the Nov. 6 election sent a clear message that women’s right to choose should be left alone? Didn’t they read the election results?
What is so contradictory is that earlier Gov. Snyder signed and applauded a telemedicine law that would make it easier to deliver health services through technology. But under the new abortion laws that Snyder has said he will sign, telemedicine is banned when it comes to abortion. Plus new strings of regulations and red tape standards contained in the anti-abortion bills will eventually shut down all abortion clinics in Michigan.
Another legislation making its way in the House is an anti-Sharia law, targeting the state’s Muslim population to ” ban foreign laws that would impair constitutional rights.” What is troubling is that the bill’s sponsor Rep Dave Agema has suggested before that he believes that President Obama is a Muslim. This racist and anti-ethnic law clearly shows that the right wing agenda in Lansing is stuffed with birther sentiments against Obama.
Why push an anti-Sharia law when we already have a secular constitution? There is no Sharia law in Michigan. The bill is designed to really take a shot at the Muslim population in Michigan at a time when many groups are working for inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding among the state’s diverse communities. The bill also sends a message to the White House that there are still right wingers in Lansing who don’t believe in the legitimacy of the first African American president? And they are determined to send that message even after his reelection.
It is no secret that President Obama’s reelection victory is part of the major trigger for the onslaught of right wing agenda unraveling in Lansing now. The hatred for the president and the deliberate attack to cripple labor with the right-to-work law is driving the extremist energy in Lansing.
During his campaign for governor, Snyder, avoided debate around issues he considers divisive including right-to-work and abortion. Now the governor is presiding over these divisive laws almost sending a Christmas Scrooge message to those who belong to the other party as well as independents. Where is the bipartisanship that Gov. Snyder has been touting all along?
The fact that all these divisive laws have not been debated in the public square shows the anti-democratic attitude that is being displayed in Lansing. It shows the blatant lack for and disregard for the voices of people whose lives will be impacted by these laws. To so blatanly come after women, and to so openly work into a bill almost a government sanctioned discrimination of minority groups of other faiths by pushing an anti-Muslim law (even though there is no Sharia law in Michigan) by a lawmaker who questioned the legitimacy of the first black president is nothing but divisive with racist undertones all over. How can Snyder in good faith sign up to all of these?
This is the new Michigan we are entering into beginning in 2013.
Detroit government is on the verge of collapse. Mayor Dave Bing admitted recently that the threat of an emergency manager is real. The government is on the brink of a serious economic downturn not because the city’s leadership could not prevent it, but because most of the leadership is engaged in personality fight. The dislike for Mayor Bing and the City Council is responsible for the current gridlock that’s held the city economically hostage.
Neither Bing nor council has faith in each other and as a result that deep dislike for the two branches of government (legislative and executive) is contributing in a major way to the fiscal cliff of the city. The state of Detroit government is an extension of the politics playing out in Washington but here at home it has more dire consequences for families.
Because of the politics of personality coupled with a vote of no confidence in either branches of local government, many families are now confined to crossing their arms and waiting for what will happen next. Bing has signaled a potential layoff of about 400-500 workers which is not the kind of news that should greet struggling families in the new year.
Though painful steps have to be taken and needed to address the city’s strutural finances, those steps should have been taken earlier. A giant political institution like the city of Detroit needs bold and incisive decision making attitude not pushing the problem further down the road.
It’s easy to pass the blame around in city hall for the inaction on a number of issues in Detroit but leadership should be definitive and clear. Leadership should not send mixed signals. Leadership should be honest and straightforward about the future. Leadership inspires hope in depressed times and gives confidence to a seemingly hopeless situation.
But unfortunately the leadership of the city is not the one that’s going to suffer here. Because they can move on to other assignments and gigs based on how they’ve positioned themselves in the last years. The people who will suffer the most are the families in Detroit who are already hard pressed and paying high taxes and yet getting few services for it. These are the real victims of Detroit’s fiscal cliff.
Yes, Lansing has a role and cannot be excused. But self-determination and the right to govern itself as a city requires Detroit’s leadership to take the lead and put personality dislike aside and make the right choices that will avoid the unthinkable.
The right to self-determination means that Detroit’s leadership should not hold struggling families in this city hostage to the gamesmanship that is playing out in city hall. Step up.
Bankole Thompson author of “Obama and Christian Loyalty,” is a distinguished journalist and presidential author. Since 2008 he has been a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening program on New York’s WLIB-1190AM. You can tune in every Sunday to hear his take on the Obama administration from 9-10:30pm and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut. You can listen to him every Thursday morning on WDET-101.9FM (Detroit NPR Affiliate) where he is a political analyst. Thompson is the editor of the Michigan Chronicle and author of the forthcoming book “Rising from the Ashes: Engaging Detroit’s Future with Courage.” No part of this blog must be republished without the appropriate designation or expressed permisison of the author http://www.bankolethompson.com
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow this evening exposed what has been truly at the core of the GOP leadership: ignoring how this nation is quickly changing and blatantly proceeding to appoint all white males as heads of Congressional committees starting next year. No women or people of color won’t be heading not even a committee under the GOP leadership in the House of Representatives in 2013.
“This is what you can clip and save for the next time someone in the beltway tells you how seriously the Republican party is taking its diversity problem this year,” is how Maddow describes the image of all GOP white males as head of Congressional committees.
Is House Speaker John Boehner that blind or blatantly dismissing the rapidly changing racial demographics that have shifted the pendulum as revealed in the Nov. 6 election?
What message is the Republican Party leadership sending to Republican women when the Speaker appoints all white males to head Congressional committees in the wake of an election that showed the formidable power of minorities?
What message is the Republican Party sending to people of color with these appointments? Yet they are talking about reaching out to break the Democratic Party’s grip on the interest of women and people of color.
For the GOP to make any meaningful headway with the rising new racial majority, the party will have to conduct a surgical operation to ensure that the traditions of the past that held women and people of color back in the GOP are eradicated.
And to begin that journey of self-introspection it must first start with Speaker Boehner for his appointment of all white males to head Congressional Committees.
Bankole Thompson author of “Obama and Christian Loyalty,” is a distinguished journalist and presidential author. Since 2008 he has been a member of the weekly “Obama Watch” Sunday evening program on New York’s WLIB-1190AM. You can tune in every Sunday to hear his take on the Obama administration from 9-10:30pm and simulcast in New Jersey and Connecticut. You can listen to him every Thursday morning on WDET-101.9FM (Detroit NPR Affiliate). Thompson is the editor of the Michigan Chronicle. No part of this blog must be republished without the appropriate designation or expressed permisison of the author http://www.bankolethompson.com
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