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No Democracy: Benton Harbor, Michigan


Scary stuff….last year Benton Harbor’s democracy was all but taken away by the state of Michigan. The town now has a state-appointed emergency manager, who can fire locally-elected officials and even dissolve the town without its consent. The manager stripped the locally elected officials of the majority of their duties. He alone now makes the town’s major decisions. The mayor’s duties are now extraordinarily minimal. Currently, the emergency manager is auctioning off the last bit of democracy the town had, its radio station (the Rachel Maddow Show 2012).

It should be noted that all arguments for and against the emergency manager that I’ve read indicate terrible mismanagement of the City for years. However, steps toward fascism are incredibly dangerous, even if they are much more efficient. This is incredibly dangerous stuff in a democratic country.

We’ve seen that movie before. It was terrible.

Rachel Maddow Story Links

  • April 2011 explanation of situation, click here
  • February 10, 2012 update of Benton Harbor, click here


  • Michigan Messenger article reporting elected officials stripped of power, click here
  • City of Benton Harbor website, click here
  • Wikipedia Benton Harbor page (the government portion explains the situation partially), click here
  • Kalamazoo news story refuting earlier April 2011 Maddow story facts (Maddow Show facts), click here
Update (February 13, 2012): click here


The Rachel Maddow Show

2012   Freak-Quency (broadcast February 10, 2012). Electronic video,, accessed February 10, 2012.

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