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

 

More articles by:

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

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
Pauline Murphy
Friedrich Engels: a Tourist In Ireland
David Swanson
The Unifying Force of War Abolition
Louisa Willcox
Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Tom Udall Back Tribes in Grizzly Fight
John Stanton
Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States
Robert Fisk
Did Trump Denounce Qatar Over Failed Business Deals?
Medea Benjamin
America Will Regret Helping Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen
Brian Addison
Los Angeles County Data Shows Startling Surge in Youth, Latino Homelessness
Native News Online
Betraying Indian Country: How Grizzly Delisting Exposes Trump and Zinke’s Assault on Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Stephen Martin
A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market
Debadityo Sinha
Think Like a River
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail