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Michigan Trembles

Democrats swept university Boards, the Democratic Governor beat back a Republican challenger, the Democratic Senator was re‑elected...but a proposition passed to outlaw affirmative action.

by Mike Mosher

There's a part of me that should be content. Democrats swept the elected Boards of Michigan's major universities. Our mainstream (competent, likeable, female) Democratic Governor Granholm beat back a Republican challenge from the former Amway CEO, whose wife said to the press "We think Michigan workers are paid too much". The Democratic Senator Stabenow was re‑elected...though last year she voted for the flag‑burning amendment, and even more troublingly, this year for the Military Commissions Act.

But the part that really hurts is Proposition 2. passed with a 58% majority, outlawing affirmative action.

I heard the creepy people who used Ward Connerly's money to put Proposition 2 on the ballot in a debate on it at Saginaw Valley State University. Jennifer Gratz, denied admission at UM, self‑righteously claimed Martin Luther King fought affirmative action. No, ignorant person, several years after Dr. King's death, affirmative action was initiated by the Republican Nixon and Ford presidencies to recognize that contracts and jobs had been given out with a naturally self‑perpetuating favoritism. Institutions like the U.S. Army and General Electric Corporation defended affirmative action in the 2003 UM Admissions case because they realize its efforts result in the best possible applicant pool.

The state's economy is in trouble, as de‑industrialization continues. We should have been voting on a state ballot proposition making executives subject to capital punishment for shutting down a U.S. factory that employs 100 or more people, if another opens outside the U.S. within five years. That could be classified a "Crime Against Community", and I would have loved to have seen retirees at shopping malls circulating its petitions. But the powers that wanted to keep working Americans divided and distracted instead progmulgated the hateful Prop 2, the Civil Resentments act.

With its passage, we can now expect an end to girls' sports and science outreach programs, more black and brown 20‑year‑olds milling around the streets instead of in college, and a smaller number of qualified people entering and advancing in corporations and public service. Prop 2 is Michigan's proudest moment since the passage of its gay‑bashing marriage definition act in 2004. Smacking down minorities won't bring back good paying (and unionized) Delphi and GM jobs. Perhaps the motto on the state's license plates should read Michigan: Scared for Our Jobs, Turning Upon Each Other.

Mike Mosher is a Bad Subject living in Michigan.