Personal responsibility. Free markets. Individual liberty.
Not hard concepts to understand when it comes to understanding the foundation of the Republican Party.
In the mid-1800’s, as the scourge of slavery bore down on the country, it was northern territories – namely Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois – that gave birth to a new approach to doing business in the nation and no longer tolerating the servitude of a people to the betterment of others.
James 5:1-6 –
1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
These territories – the birthplace of a new American freedom – were once claimed by the Commonwealth of Virginia. While Virginia struggled with slavery, it is still the home of the Declaration of Rights – the very foundation that undercut our nation’s unhealthy addiction to abusing their fellow man and serves as the foundation for our Bill of Rights.
The very first Virginia declaration says:
“That all men are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, they cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.”
While it took years for Virginia to unshackle men from slavery and eventually turn to the freedom of being a right to work state – where men and women can pursue their dreams and enjoy their liberty, the irony is that the northern states seemed to change course.
Following the Civil War and with the rise of the genius of men like Henry Ford, William Durant, Walter Chrysler, among many others, the north unleashed its industrial ability.
Migrating to the north from the south were hundreds of thousands of people seeking their prosperity.
In Detroit, “The Motor City”, the population burgeoned to nearly 2 million people in 1950. The city, with its statues, picturesque skyscrapers, and wide avenues was coined “The Paris of the Midwest”.
Yet, also rising with the industrial powers were those who claimed it was unfair for entrepreneurs to succeed. The Washington Post recaps:
Michigan is arguably the heart of unionism in the United States. The UAW was founded in Detroit in 1935 and quickly organized assembly workers in automobile plants throughout Michigan and across the nation. Its membership peaked in the 1970s at more than 1.5 million but has fallen to just under 400,000 after decades of declining domestic manufacturing.
Although most states in the South forbid unions from requiring workers to pay dues or fees, the industrial Midwest had long resisted such legislation. Earlier this year, however, Indiana passed a bill that mirrors the one on its way to passage in Michigan. Business leaders and other supporters of the Michigan bill said it would help the state compete for manufacturing jobs with Indiana; the Big Three auto companies are officially neutral on the issue.
Now, Detroit tops out at a whopping 713,000 people – the lowest it’s been in more than 100 years.
Today states like Virginia and Texas are growing in population and are frequently noted as being the best for business. And, any shock, they are right to work states and led by Republicans?
Now, Michigan is trying to recapture its former glory. Especially with job growth dead last when it comes to its neighbors.
Michigan no longer can wait and Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan legislature recognize it. If it can happen in Wisconsin and Indiana, why not Michigan?
And so on Thursday, Michigan’s Republican-controlled state House and Senate each passed bills banning unions from requiring dues from private- and public-sector workers. Each measure must now be sent to the other chamber for final approval, which could occur as soon as Tuesday, and legislative leaders said there was little doubt that the bills would pass.
It truly is time for an American comeback – and it starts with Michigan going back to its conservative roots: freedom and the right to pursue your dreams.