(note: The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Koch Bros-funded right-wing advocacy group, recently used Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act as an intimidation tool, seeking emails sent by university professors whose academic focus is on labor issues. Flint’s Marcie Hemgesberg wrote the following post on the topic)
Did I ever tell you my family once owned part of Mackinac Island?
We’re still trying to figure out how we lost it. Either it was a bad sell to the govt on our end for $5,000, behind in taxes by $5,000 as impoverished Irish immigrants farming the land, or the other lasting rumor is we lost it in a poker game as collateral for $5,000… My cousin Rick Early (the family surname right there) is still researching what he can from Colorado but it makes it interesting if it were the poker game.
Why do I bring this up?
Because seeing the name of a place with cultural significance to my family and myself used for such anti-free speech, anti-individual, and anti-democratic purposes makes me sick.
Rick’s father, my great-uncle Dick, told us stories about the glory days of the Island. These stories came between his own “mid-life crisis” adventures: serving the American Red Cross until the day he passed September 1, 2002. He put his heart into his work. He was there when the Mississippi flooded, hit the road as soon as he could to get food and supplies to the people. He was there on 9/11 helping those who watched their city crumble on them. And in between these adventures he’d reminisce of the days he and my grandmother (his sister) spent as kids riding horses on good old Mackinac Island.
My grandmother, she was a fighter until the end. She fought breast cancer with barely any treatment – only that of which made her pain go away towards the end. She lost the battle in 1991. I was only 7 so I don’t remember most of her stories. I just remember the pictures of her at my age at that time, her and her horses. I do, however, hear about the stories about how she’d cry, asking to be taken to Mackinac Island… to just see it again.
I certainly cannot speak for the political party of the family or of my great-uncle or of my grandmother as it has never been a topic of conversation and never will be. I can say that they were selfless and that I believe they’d find injustice in using the name of the place they once called home for the political purpose of stomping on the constitution; and injustice in this partisan political group denying that they should share equivalent information they so proudly proclaim and demand they deserve of others.
I will say that a place of such beauty that blessed and enriched two lives and many more over the generations, to have that name attached falsely as though the Center has any geographical or historical attachment to its past, present, or future is a travesty.
That partisan unit of political gain uses the name like one reflects the other while it pushes to rewrite history as though it is above the people it purposely misleads for its own gain. This only serves to tarnish and devalue the name of a cherished historical treasure.
At least Progress Michigan is about… well… progressing Michigan. The Mackinac Center is certainly only about centering their wallet (and those wallets of their donors) over the Governor’s Mansion on Mackinac Island and all that “free” symbolic power and property each governor comes to possess within their term. Because how else would one expect to maintain control over their puppets if they’re not pushing their power gained through flawed rulings to intimidate those who have no individual power and make their puppets beam with satisfaction at the suppressed persons they’ve just controlled?
Revealing the truth frees an individual; controlling through lies, fear, and misinformation enslaves the masses.