FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Party of No Meets the Island of No

by SARA MANN

This morning on Mackinac Island, Michigan the temperature was a beautiful 68 degrees. Wild daisies held tightly to the last of their summer glory and the leaves of maple trees were slowly turning colors in anticipation of fall. A freshwater breeze was in the air. All was right with the world, this weekend, as Republicans attended the 28th Biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference.

Beautiful and serene Mackinac Island has a rich history in more than one respect. Originally inhabited by the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe tribe the island served as a gathering place where elders would meet and discuss events and plans. The area was rich in fish, fur and natural resources. Inevitably, this attracted early European settlers who kept the name Mackinac, after the Objibwe word Michilimackinac, (meaning the Great Turtle) and along with it- they kept the island too. Natives to the island were driven out, leaving only the new white Anglo-Saxon tenants.

Soon the island became a pleasant place to escape native America’s growing pains. The french built missions designed to convert and “save” the local Indian tribes. It was a refuge from violent French-Indian battles. Both french and British settlers also came to Mackinac for the lucrative fur trade, dealing in Indian-trapped beaver, muskrat, otter, and fox pelts. Money was to be had from the area and entrepreneurs abounded.

Mackinac Island also played a role in the American Revolution. In 1754 the British believed that a fort on the island would prove a defensible location; remote and surrounded by bluffs. Though many battles took place on the island the British held their fort until the war of 1812, when they were forced to relinquish it to Americans.

It’s important to know and understand the history of Mackinac, not because of it’s popular tourist appeal or because of Michigan’s influence on our nation and economy. It’s important to learn about Mackinac Island because the area’s history is a direct reflection of what Republicans attempted to do at their conference this weekend, take, escape and avoid.

During and soon after the Civil War, the island quickly became a popular resort destination and Mackinac’s business switched to tourism. The healthy environment and beautiful scenery attracted white visitors weary of war and eager for relaxing vacations. How nice for our Republican leaders of today to escape and avoid the dull and disgusting issues and realities of a collapsing economy and crumbling union in  nautical themed hotel rooms at an average cost of $240 per night.

The median annual household income of the 523 actual residents on Mackinac Island is $50,536. Surely it was nice for Republican politicians to dine on fish and attend seminars like “The Press: How to Handle and Survive” while far away from Michigan’s largest city, Detroit, with a whopping median household income of $28,069. How nice it must have been to sit around one of the historic mansions or hotels, while in that largest city, 300 miles away, the average house costs $18.000. How relaxing to be away from things like reality, racial diversity (the island is 75.72% white and 0% black), and poverty.

Mackinac Island also has a long-standing history of anti-Semitism. How interesting that people who represent and encourage those who call our nation’s leader a Nazi and wield posters of him depicted as Hitler are gathering on an Island that did not allow Jews to visit until the late fifties. Jews were told they need not apply for even the lowest paying serving positions at Island clubs with signs reading “Gentiles Only Please.” Noted fascists and anti-Semites frequently spent leisure time at Mackinac Island hotels, including but not limited to Henry Ford Sr. and Father Charles Coughlin. The place was a refuge indeed.

Everyone deserves an opportunity to get away, from the minimum wage worker to the President to anyone in between. It’s curious, though, when the Republican party seeks out a place with Mackinac’s history for their retreat and rejuvenation.  It seems the “party of no” is also the party of “no clue” and “no perspective”.

Today was the last day of the conferance. Attendees enjoyed a lovely brunch and of course a “non-denominational” church service. Wonder how many shaloms could be heard.

SARA MANN is a Chicago-based flight attendant for a major airline and lives in her  hometown of Rockford, Il. She can be reached at sara.mann@hotmail.com

 

SARA MANN is a Chicago-based flight attendant for a major airline and lives in her  hometown of Rockford, Il. She can be reached at sara.mann@hotmail.com

More articles by:
June 30, 2016
Richard Moser
Clinton and Trump, Fear and Fascism
Pepe Escobar
The Three Harpies are Back!
Ramzy Baroud
Searching for a ‘Responsible Adult’: ‘Is Brexit Good for Israel?’
Dave Lindorff
What is Bernie Up To?
Thomas Barker
Saving Labour From Blairism: the Dangers of Confining the Debate to Existing Members
Jan Oberg
Why is NATO So Irrational Today?
John Stauber
The Debate We Need: Gary Johnson vs Jill Stein
Steve Horn
Obama Administration Approved Over 1,500 Offshore Fracking Permits
Rob Hager
Supreme Court Legalizes Influence Peddling: McDonnell v. United States
Norman Pollack
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization: Janus-Faced Monopoly Capital
Binoy Kampmark
Railroaded by the Supreme Court: the US Problem with Immigration
Howard Lisnoff
Of Kiddie Crusades and Disregarding the First Amendment in a Public Space
Vijay Prashad
Economic Liberalization Ignores India’s Rural Misery
Caroline Hurley
We Are All Syrians
June 29, 2016
Diana Johnstone
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Andrew Smolski
To My Less-Evilism Haters: A Rejoinder to Halle and Chomsky
Jeffrey St. Clair
Noam Chomsky, John Halle and a Confederacy of Lampreys: a Note on Lesser Evil Voting
David Rosen
Birth-Control Wars: Two Centuries of Struggle
Sheldon Richman
Brexit: What Kind of Dependence Now?
Yves Engler
“Canadian” Corporate Capitalism
Lawrence Davidson
Return to the Gilded Age: Paul Ryan’s Deregulated Dystopia
Priti Gulati Cox
All That Glitters is Feardom: Whatever Happens, Don’t Blame Jill Stein
Franklin Lamb
About the Accusation that Syrian and Russian Troops are Looting Palmyra
Binoy Kampmark
Texas, Abortion and the US Supreme Court
Anhvinh Doanvo
Justice Thomas’s Abortion Dissent Tolerates Discrimination
Victor Grossman
Brexit Pro and Con: the View From Germany
Manuel E. Yepe
Brazil: the Southern Giant Will Have to Fight
Rivera Sun
The Nonviolent History of American Independence
Adjoa Agyeiwaa
Is Western Aid Destroying Nigeria’s Future?
Jesse Jackson
What Clinton Should Learn From Brexit
Mel Gurtov
Is Brexit the End of the World?
June 28, 2016
Jonathan Cook
The Neoliberal Prison: Brexit Hysteria and the Liberal Mind
Paul Street
Bernie, Bakken, and Electoral Delusion: Letting Rich Guys Ruin Iowa and the World
Anthony DiMaggio
Fatally Flawed: the Bi-Partisan Travesty of American Health Care Reform
Mike King
The “Free State of Jones” in Trump’s America: Freedom Beyond White Imagination
Antonis Vradis
Stop Shedding Tears for the EU Monster: Brexit, the View From the Peloponnese
Omar Kassem
The End of the Atlantic Project: Slamming the Brakes on the Neoliberal Order
Binoy Kampmark
Brexit and the Neoliberal Revolt Against Jeremy Corbyn
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Alabama Democratic Primary Proves New York Times’ Nate Cohn Wrong about Exit Polling
Ruth Hopkins
Save Bear Butte: Mecca of the Lakota
Celestino Gusmao
Time to End Impunity for Suharto’’s Crimes in Indonesia and Timor-Leste
Thomas Knapp
SCOTUS: Amply Serving Law Enforcement’s Interests versus Society’s
Manuel E. Yepe
Capitalism is the Opposite of Democracy
Winslow Myers
Up Against the Wall
Chris Ernesto
Bernie’s “Political Revolution” = Vote for Clinton and the Neocons
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail