LANSING — While Gov. Rick Snyder spoke at Oakland University’s Keeper of the Dream Scholarship Awards Celebration today honoring the memory of Martin Luther King Jr., the governor’s record is nothing less than a betrayal of Dr. King’s legacy on democracy and workers’ rights.
In King’s “Give Us the Ballot” speech, he called for universal suffrage across the South:
“So long as I do not firmly and irrevocably possess the right to vote I do not possess myself. I cannot make up my mind — it is made up for me. I cannot live as a democratic citizen, observing the laws I have helped to enact — I can only submit to the edict of others.”
While Snyder’s actions have not taken away the vote for Michiganders, his emergency manager law takes away the power of the ballot box for Michigan citizens living in Detroit, Flint, Benton Harbor, Pontiac, among others. Even after Michigan’s voters rejected the emergency manager law, Snyder and Lansing Republicans simply re-enacted it, with a few cosmetic changes.
In addition, Snyder’s actions on right to work are clearly at odds with King’s legacy. In opposing a right-to-work ballot question in Oklahoma in 1964, King wrote:
“In our glorious fight for Civil Rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right-to-work.’ This high-sounding label does not mean what it says. It is a dishonest twisting of words with the aim of making a vicious law sound like a good law. It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘work.’ It is a law to rob us of our Civil Rights and job rights.”