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3:56 am EDT 70°F (21°C) in Dearborn, MI
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I will be headed back out to the road again today, after taking the last eight days off. Actually, I don’t have to be back in the truck until this evening, but I strongly suspect I’m still going to be asked to get all the way across Michigan on Interstate 94 by midnight. They might have something else up their sleeve for me, though, so we’ll find out later on.
As for Saturday, I can say only one thing: now THAT’S how Michigan football should be played. The 47-21 killing of Notre Dame was Michigan’s first win in South Bend since 1994 (and by extension, Lloyd Carr’s first win there ever), Michigan’s first win in its road opener since 1999, and the first time in the history of the Blue-Irish rivalry that either team had hung up 40 or more points on the scoreboard. We saw what Michigan is truly capable of yesterday, so I have to question, why weren’t we seeing that kind of football last year? This is certainly not any reason to get all overconfident, what with the entire Big Ten schedule yet to be played, but this is definitely a good sign. As for the Irish, let’s just hope they take out their anger over yesterday’s loss on Moo U this upcoming Saturday.
This time, I’m going to do another political exposé, although not on a national scale; it’s time to point out why I need to get the hell out of Michigan as soon as the opportunity presents itself. A lot of you from other states probably think of Michigan as a “blue state,” given its propensity to vote for the Democratic candidate in presidential elections and the fact that Rethuglicans have only won three of the available 18 terms in the U.S. Senate since 1954. (Two of those, in fact, were won by Robert P. Griffin, who had had the seat handed to him in May 1966 by a Republican governor upon the death of Democrat Patrick McNamara; Griffin went on to win the 1966 election and was reelected in 1972.) However, you would be fooling yourself; the Rethuglicans have built-in advantages in many places in this state, and it’s just a matter of time before we turn as reliably red as Alabama.
The results in statewide elections for federal offices belie very strong, and strengthening, conservatism and Republican support all throughout this state. The Rethuglicans have had fairly large majorities in both houses of the state legislature for years now, and the only executive-branch elective state office currently held by a Democrat is the one in the governor’s mansion. Furthermore, there is a huge undercurrent of cultural conservatism on just about every issue under the sun; so-called “fundamentalist ‘Christians’” have completely overrun the western half of the Lower Peninsula, including the state’s second-largest city of Grand Rapids, and make up a giant portion of the Rethuglican representation in both the Michigan Legislature and the U.S. Congress. We are one of the few Northern states to have a fag-bashing amendment in our constitution, thanks largely to these so-called “fundamentalist ‘Christians’.”
There is only one reason that Michigan tends to lean Democratic on the national level: the presence of large unions in our dying Rust Belt economy. The metropolitan Detroit area, which has half the state’s population, is dependent on the auto industry, and there are hundreds of thousands of people who are members of the UAW. Outside of tourism, the Upper Peninsula relies almost entirely on mining (and unionized mine workers) for its economy. I have written before about the alliance between the Rethuglican Party and corporate robber barons to destroy unions and ship unionized jobs to other countries; it is for that reason that Michigan is in an especially precarious political position. Hell, just this past week, we saw Ford Motor Company, probably the state’s single biggest employer, cut a full one-fourth of its workforce — it’s just a matter of time before the unions are busted, and when that happens, Michigan is going to be Alabama with snowy winters.
Well, the Democratic governor is going to save Michigan, right?, you ask. Nope — not gonna happen. Not only has a lot of this political, cultural, and economic Mississippization of Michigan happened on Jennifer Granholm’s watch, at least in some cases with her tacit approval, but she belongs to the treason wing of the Democratic Party — the DLC. She is hardly better than her Rethuglican challenger Dick DeVos; frankly, the only difference between them is that DeVos will floor the throttle on the destruction of the state rather than merely let it drift that way like Granholm. Neither one of them is getting my vote in November; I am getting my own vote for governor, by write-in. So fucking what that I’ll end up with one vote.
The Upper Peninsula is already effectively Rethuglican territory, despite the fact that it is mostly represented by Democrats on both levels; all of these Democrats are insanely conservative, especially Bart Stupak, who represents Da U.P. in the U.S. House. (Stupak’s district also covers a large part of the northern Lower Peninsula.) The entire west side of the Lower Peninsula and the so-called “Mid-Michigan” area (basically from Branch and Hillsdale counties in the south to about Isabella County in the north) are die-hard Rethuglican strongholds; Ottawa County, southwest of Grand Rapids, regularly goes as much as 80% Rethuglican! (It is dominated by extremely conservative Lutherans and Protestants of largely Dutch descent.) The same can be said of the “Thumb” area of the state, which is generally north of Interstate 69 between Flint and Port Huron.
About the only place Democrats have a prayer is southeastern Michigan. Flint is an old factory town with a huge GM plant, whose UAW workers give the Democrats a fairly big edge in the city. Washtenaw County, which includes Ann Arbor, was the only county to vote against the aforementioned fag-bashing amendment in 2004. The suburbs of Detroit are closely-contested “swing” territory that can and often do determine the results of statewide elections. As for Detroit itself, the city is 85% black and getting blacker by the day; that and a well-deserved hatred of the Rethuglicans who run Lansing (who have really screwed Detroit at the expense of the rest of the state) ensure that Detroit goes as much as 92% Democratic in every election. In fact, if you remove Detroit vote totals from the statewide vote, Rethuglicans would regularly win statewide elections by comfortable margins.
Still, though, this state is trending more and more “red” all the time. Detroit is bleeding population, and it won’t be all that long until Grand Rapids begins to catch up in population. Grand Rapids has already become the center of political influence in the state, and you know that national “fundamentalist ‘Christian’” groups are going to keep pouring money in to keep it that way. When (it’s no longer a matter of if) GM and Ford hit the shitter, it’s all over — we will be the Mississippi of the North.
That, my friends, is why I need to get the hell out of this state — but not before I save this, upload it, and hit the sack.