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Detroit Free Press

Democracy Betrayed in a Bloodless Coup in Detroit

Greg Bowens

A bloodless coup of the largest democratically elected government in our state has occurred. Detroit has an emergency financial manager.

As Americans, we should be ashamed.

Those charged with defending the principals of our republic betray it instead. Journalists and lawyers, politicians and pundits politely clap and nod as the power of the executive and legislative branch is placed in the hands of one person.

No invading army of communists is at the door. No terrorist insurrection has occurred. No horde of barbarians is at the gate. Yet more and more of our fellow Michigan citizens fall under the growing shadow of one-person rule with an emergency financial manager.

Generations to follow will look back on this time in amazement. They will wonder how democratically elected governors could create laws to strip other people of their own locally, democratically elected governments. They will scratch their heads in disbelief.

As Americans, we should be ashamed.

How can a democratically elected ruling party ignore the will of their own constituents, who voted to successfully repeal the Emergency Manager Law, and revive it weeks later? How is it possible that an elected body can vote to affirm the idea that one person should rule a community?

They will wonder how a free people could surrender their freedom to self-govern so willingly.


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The answers will leave them wanting. Rampant crime and broken streetlights. Bank loans need to be repaid. Clerks and teachers cost too much. Health care for janitors is out of control. All told, society itself crumbles. The road to one-person rule is paved with doomsday scenarios.

The answer to crisis is always the same: Put the power in the hands of one person. He can save us. He will save us. And in Detroit, he will do in 18 months what people collectively could never do.

Such is the narrative no one believes.

Liberty falls.

Democracy dies in Detroit.

People cheer.

The Ides of March are upon us.

Greg Bowens was the spokesman for the successful effort to repeal Public Act 4, former press secretary for Dennis Archer, and owner of Bowens & Co. public and media relations in Grosse Pointe Park.

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