Fire Rick Snyder

By Keith Orr

The petitions are out on the streets. We have a chance to fire our governor. A 2012 Michigan law regulating recall petitions created more layers of language approval and tougher deadlines for collecting signatures. There is only 60 days to get about 790,000 signatures. That's a lot of signatures in a short amount of time. This law was passed by a Republican Legislature and signed into law by none other than Gov. Rick Snyder.

An effort of that size will take a lot of money... or a very large number of dedicated volunteers. The recall effort has very little money, so they are relying on a large volunteer effort. The petition language references the Flint water crisis, and the governor's culpability through the emergency manager.

Here's the kicker. The recall effort required very specific reasons for the recall. However, you can support it for whatever reason is important to you. Knowingly poisoning people is a good enough reason to recall someone. But there are plenty of other excellent reasons.

Snyder ran as moderate Republican, interested only in putting Michigan back to work. He promised to stay out of the culture wars. It didn't take long to realize that he was going to be a happy warrior in those culture wars. He has attacked women, workers, unions and people of color. His right-to-work legislation is in lockstep with the agenda of the Koch brothers, mirroring efforts in other states. His emergency manager law goes a step further. With that law Snyder actually subverts the democratic process upon which our nation is built. The sweeping powers of emergency laws speak more of fascism than "putting Michigan back to work."

No community has felt the sword of the culture wars more than the LGBTQ community. If you are a member or an ally of that community, you have many reasons to sign that recall petition:

- Prior to the winning of marriage equality, Snyder stripped domestic partner benefits from all public entities, including schools and universities. Way back during those dark ages, domestic partner benefits were one of the few protections LGBTQ partners had achieved. His actions played to the radical religious right. Not only did the action weaken our protections, they weakened the state of Michigan. Universities had a harder time recruiting talent, public schools had a harder time holding onto great teachers, and private businesses had a harder time recruiting talent in the wake of policies anathema to their values.

- The Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act still does not include sexual orientation or gender identity. If there is one single thing Michigan could do in the culture wars which would actually help put Michigan back to work, it would be action on Elliott-Larsen. During the last attempt to amend it, the business community rallied to the cause, saying they needed this amendment in order to be able to recruit the best talent to Michigan. The proposed amendment was first stripped of gender identity, and ultimately not acted on at all.

- The single most public piece of LGBT activism of the last several years was the DeBoer v. Snyder suit. This was the case which ultimately went to the Supreme Court and won marriage equality for citizens of Michigan and the entire United States. While Snyder was fighting this case, families and children suffered. In fact, between the children of Flint, the war on public schools, and the fight against marriage equality, the common theme is a war on children.

- My own small piece of history was as one of the plaintiffs in Caspar v. Snyder, the case to force the state of Michigan to recognize the March 22, 2014 marriages which were made possible by the 24 hour window opened by the initial ruling in DeBoer v. Snyder. Another case of unnecessary litigation made necessary by Rick Snyder.

Note that there is a common name in both of the last two court cases: Snyder. As the defendant, he did not have to fight marriage equality. He chose to do so as part of the culture wars he fights so enthusiastically. Like so many of his actions, he deflects personal responsibility. Yet it doesn't get more personal than having your name attached to a suit. In the process he wasted millions of public dollars and caused pain and suffering for many in our community.

The last serious gubernatorial recall movement was during the administration of John Engler. While I will never be counted as a fan of the policies and politics of Engler, I could not jump into that fight with any enthusiasm. It seemed wrong to recall someone for doing exactly what they said they were going to do during the election process. Snyder's campaign was built on a lie from day one. He must be made to pay for his actions.

Pick your reason for signing the petition. Any one of them is fine by me, as long as we get to 790,000 signatures. Petitions are being circulated throughout the state.

In Ann Arbor, you can sign at Common Language Bookstore, 317 Braun Court.


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