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First From Anti-Corruption Guy

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It’s just that being against corruption leads one almost immediately to a stymied and overwhelmed state of just forget it.  It’s spinning in a tub of rotting food with blaring noise in a cold sweat while trying to write a sonnet.  Honestly.  So from this morning.  There’s this emergency manager law in Michigan that says a town or school district can have its democracy suspended, it’s elected officials ousted and be taken over by a single governor-appointed “manager” who can do basically whatever he (or she?) likes.  In one non-surprising but still rather ambitiously corrupt decision, the 90 acre lakefront park given to the predominately African-American town of Benton Harbor “in perpetuity” was taken away by such a “manager” and given (sold, transferred, leased? I suppose one could look it up) to a brand new luxury condominium development to be part of their new golf course.

So, the people of Michigan collected enough signatures to put this emergency manager law up for a recall election, which would, upon its acceptance by the state Board of Canvassers (hmm, how often do obscure agencies and boards like this make appearances in stories of corruption?).  The staff of the Board certified more than enough signatures to trigger the recall, which would immediately remove the force of the law until the election, but a challenge to the petition on the basis of, get this, its font size being too small was accepted and so the petition was rejected.  And now, get this, the font-size challenge was initiated by a group created and run by the Republican-leaning consulting company owned by a Republican member of the that same Board (2 R, 2D).

So, the varieties of corruption involved in this story really are staggering — from the biggest (poor and distressed communities can have their democracy rescinded and be managed and/or plundered by people favored by the Republican Governor) to the smallest (a petition signed by tens of thousands of voters can be rejected on the basis of font size).

This comes to my attention because it’s so egregious and Rachel #Maddow (find her here) talks about it.  But it feels like the body politic is marbled so thoroughly by this kind of horrid greasiness that it won’t ever be better.  On the other hand, learning more and more about it, and having a mess of feelings, even admirable feelings, about all the corruption seems to actually have no effect on anything at all, except maybe my mood and digestion, which a vanishingly small number of people are interested in.

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