Friday, April 06, 2012
A Word About Rachel
I remember avoiding The Rachel Maddow Show. I believed the hype -- that she was just another talk-show shock jock -- the Left’s answer to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck (remember him?), Laura Ingraham, ad nauseam. She is not. I find Rachel Maddow intelligent, thoughtful, respectful and -- importantly -- kind.
I listen to her show via podcast every morning. I’m glad that I do.
There are two other things I’d like to mention about her before I get to the important news. First, Rachel Maddow has a new book out called Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power.
”Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power is a 2012 book by Rachel Maddow. Her first book, Drift explores the premise that the manner in which the United States goes to war has gradually become more secretive and less democratic. In Drift, Maddow examines how American declarations of war have incrementally shifted from being Congressionally approved to being centralized in the hands of the American President. The book's scope spans from the Vietnam War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
It will debut in the #1 spot of The New York Times best-sellers list. (Video of the announcement.)
Secondly, Rachel was interviewed by my favorite interviewer -- Terry Gross, the host of Fresh Air. If you’d like to get a sense of Rachel Maddow as a person, I’d recommend you listen to the interview.
All this leads me to the reason for today’s blog. Rachel has a way of grabbing stories that no one else is talking about and covering them for days, weeks -- sometime months -- before anyone else starts talking about them. Such is the story of Benton Harbor, Michigan. I’ve been meaning to write about this for weeks. It’s finally time because the core issue is getting bigger.
Benton Harbor is on the “wrong side” of the river. It is almost 90% black. St. Joseph -- on the other side of the river -- is almost 90% white. The State of Michigan (then under a Democratic Governor) sent an Emergency Financial Manager to take over the town’s finances. Then the now-totally-Republican-controlled government of Michigan expanded the power of that manager. In effect, democracy has been suspended in Benton Harbor. (By the way, there’s a fancy golf course development involved in all this.)
Today, Rachel Maddow used the term “dictatorship” in conjunction with the State of Michigan. This is a story worth watching. The set up is a little slow -- it’s a complicated situation -- but stick with it. Seriously, 546 of the 566 Bills passed by the State of Michigan this year have been enacted under “emergency” procedures. The Democratic Representatives of Michigan are suing the Republicans. Stick with this one.
If you’ve ever wondered how democracy dies -- how a dictator comes to power -- this is how. There’s an emergency. There is always an “emergency” that requires we suspend our normal judgment, bow to necessity and hold our noses to fix this temporary “emergency”. The problem (of course) is that there really are emergencies to deal with in life. The trick is in knowing when they are real -- and knowing who we let deal with them. Watch. Decide.
April 6, 2012